The Craft of Toolmaking
A toolmaker is a skilled worker who produces and maintains precision tools used in the production of metal, plastic and other materials of all shapes and sizes. The work of a toolmaker involves interpreting drawings and technical data to machine and assemble with great accuracy jigs, fixtures, moulding tools, dies and punches. Care and attention to detail and high precision are the hallmark of toolmaking.
The use of lathe, milling machine, surface grinders, drilling and spark erosion equipment are the key skills as are the use of precision, marking out and measuring tools. Modern technologies such as wire erosion, computer aided design (CAD) Computer aided manufacture (CAM) and computer numeral control (CNC) machining have become an integral part of the work of the toolmaker.
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The Craft of Metal Fabrication
The Metal Fabricator’s work involves the installation and manufacture of a range of metallic systems to include pressure vessels, tank and boiler manufacture, structural steel systems, plate steel systems and piping systems.
Metal fabricators can shape steel components with the aid of thermal cutting equipment and a range of machinery used in bending, folding and cutting metal plate and pipe components.
Thermal processes such as MMA (Manual Metal Arc) welding, TIG/TAG (Tungsten Inert Gas and Tungsten Active Gas) welding MIG/MAG (Metal Inert Gas and Metal Active Gas welding and oxy acetylene welding and brazing are skills used by the metal fabricator.
Qualifying as a Craftsperson
Apprenticeship is defined as a programme of structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in an education or training centre. It is a dual system, a blended combination of on-the-job employer-based training and off-the-job training.
Both apprenticeship consist of four on-the-job phases with an approved employer and three off-the-job phases in an educational organisation.
On successful completion of an apprenticeship an apprentice is awarded a QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft and are eligible for consideration for entry into related degree programmes provided by the Institutes of Technology providing he/she also meets other special entry requirements.