Model Makers, Metal and Plastic
Set up and operate machines, such as lathes, milling and engraving machines, and jig borers to make working models of metal or plastic objects. Includes template makers.
Sample of reported job titles: Metal Model Maker, Model Builder, Model Maker, Molding Technician, Pattern Finisher, Prototype Special Build
Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Education | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Study blueprints, drawings, and sketches to determine material dimensions, required equipment, and operations sequences.
- Inspect and test products to verify conformance to specifications, using precision measuring instruments or circuit testers.
- Drill, countersink, and ream holes in parts and assemblies for bolts, screws, and other fasteners, using power tools.
- Cut, shape, and form metal parts, using lathes, power saws, snips, power brakes and shears, files, and mallets.
- Set up and operate machines, such as lathes, drill presses, punch presses, or bandsaws, to fabricate prototypes or models.
- Devise and construct tools, dies, molds, jigs, and fixtures, or modify existing tools and equipment.
- Rework or alter component model or parts as required to ensure that products meet standards.
- Grind, file, and sand parts to finished dimensions.
- Program computer numerical control (CNC) machines to fabricate model parts.
- Lay out and mark reference points and dimensions on materials, using measuring instruments and drawing or scribing tools.
- Align, fit, and join parts, using bolts and screws or by welding or gluing.
- Use computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software or hardware to fabricate model parts.
- Assemble mechanical, electrical, and electronic components into models or prototypes, using hand tools, power tools, and fabricating machines.
- Consult and confer with engineering personnel to discuss developmental problems and to recommend product modifications.
- Record specifications, production operations, and final dimensions of models for use in establishing operating standards and procedures.
- Wire and solder electrical and electronic connections and components.
Find occupations related to multiple tasks
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- Computer aided design CAD software — PTC Creo Parametric
- Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — CNC Software Mastercam
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
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- Operation and Control — Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
- Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
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- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Reaction Time — The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
- Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
- Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Multilimb Coordination — The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without “giving out” or fatiguing.
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
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- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
- Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements.
- Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
- Inspect metal, plastic, or composite products.
- Drill holes in parts, equipment, or materials.
- Cut industrial materials in preparation for fabrication or processing.
- Operate cutting equipment.
- Operate metal or plastic forming equipment.
- Shape metal workpieces with hammers or other small hand tools.
- Assemble machine tools, parts, or fixtures.
- Build production molds.
- Design tools, fixtures, or other devices for production equipment.
- Operate grinding equipment.
- Repair parts or assemblies.
- Smooth metal surfaces or edges.
- Program equipment to perform production tasks.
- Draw guide lines or markings on materials or workpieces using patterns or other references.
- Assemble metal or plastic parts or products.
- Align parts or workpieces to ensure proper assembly.
- Confer with others to resolve production problems or equipment malfunctions.
- Record operational or production data.
- Solder parts or workpieces.
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- Face-to-Face Discussions — 98% responded “Every day.”
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 99% responded “Extremely important.”
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 72% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 81% responded “Every day.”
- Exposed to Contaminants — 79% responded “Every day.”
- Frequency of Decision Making — 78% responded “Every day.”
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 75% responded “Every day.”
- Spend Time Standing — 32% responded “About half the time.”
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 64% responded “Very important results.”
- Time Pressure — 57% responded “Every day.”
- Duration of Typical Work Week
- Consequence of Error — 23% responded “Very serious.”
- Work With Work Group or Team — 42% responded “Important.”
- Freedom to Make Decisions — 19% responded “Some freedom.”
- Physical Proximity — 35% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 29% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 35% responded “Extremely important.”
- Contact With Others — 20% responded “Contact with others most of the time.”
- Coordinate or Lead Others — 30% responded “Important.”
- Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 20% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 24% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
- Level of Competition — 42% responded “Moderately competitive.”
- Electronic Mail — 42% responded “Never.”
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — 42% responded “A lot of freedom.”
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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Percentage of Respondents
|Education Level Required|
|Not available||High school diploma or equivalent
|Not available||Post-secondary certificate
|Not available||Associate’s degree|
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Interest code: RIC Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
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- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
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- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
- Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$26.33 hourly, $54,780 annual|
|Employment (2020)||3,400 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Decline (-1% or lower)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||300|
|Top industries (2020)||
Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Association for Manufacturing Technology
- Association of Professional Model Makers
- Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International
- International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
- International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
- National Institute for Metalworking Skills
- National Tooling and Machining Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Metal and plastic machine workers
- Precision Machined Products Association
- Precision Metalforming Association
- United Steelworkers
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