What Do Model Makers, Metal and Plastic Do?
Model makers work with metal and plastic to craft three-dimensional representations for a variety of applications, such as machine design and architecture. They often work from blueprints or other technical documents to create realistic models critical to testing and product development. They prepare and operate lathes, jig borers and similar machines of different sizes, depending on the models required. In short, model makers are those who grasp an idea and turn it into a three-dimensional object, essentially bringing it to life. This occupation group also includes template makers.There is expected to be a two percent short-term annual growth for this occupation nationwide. This means there will be 130 openings yearly. However, a downward, long-term growth trend of 13 percent is predicted over the next seven years.
Model Makers, Metal and Plastic Skills and Abilities
As a metal and plastic model maker, you have to be comfortable with controlling equipment or systems operation. Critical thinking and analytic ability allow you to evaluate suggested solutions, approaches, and plans of action and their possible outcomes. The ability to absorb information from fellow workers, written documents or other sources is basic to the communication skills essential for effective group performance. Creative thinking is at the heart of model building and applies not only to the final product, but also to related ideas, applications and systems.Required physical abilities for a model maker include a steady hand, sharp near vision, quick reflexes and visual imagination. On a more abstract level, you should be able to reason deductively, evaluating a particular problem in light of the general rules.
Model Makers, Metal and Plastic Duties
As a model maker, you will manage machines and processes either by hand or using control mechanisms. You will need a sharp eye for structures and materials that allows you to be an effective troubleshooter. Sometimes you will have to act fast and accurately when at the controls of a machine or vehicle as you consistently observe regulating devices like gauges, readouts, monitors and dials and take responsibility for reliable system performance. Some of the more specific duties of model making include:
- Assembling tools, fixtures and parts
- Building production molds
- Operating cutting and grinding machines and plastic forming equipment
- Shaping and smoothing metal parts
- Designing production-related tools or other instruments
- Interpreting blueprints and work orders in relation to specifications and required materials
Model Makers, Metal and Plastic Tools and Technology
Many of your activities will involve hand tools and small machines, including drill presses, soldering irons, metal snips and duplicating or contouring lathes. Competency with three-dimension printing machines, such as fused deposition modeling and prototyping printers, is often expected. In addition, you will work with computer-assisted design and manufacturing software and standard office suite applications.
Education and Training for Model Makers, Metal and Plastic
Roughly 38 percent of active modelers hold a high school diploma or less. Twenty-seven percent have attended college, but failed to earn a degree. No prior work experience is required, but once hired, expect moderate on-the-job training. If this occupation interests you, try to get workshop experience or take courses, such as computer-assisted manufacturing, the demands of model making and commercial design.
Model Makers, Metal and Plastic Salary
People in this field are reasonably well paid. High-end modelers earn more than $74,000 yearly, and individuals on the low end gross just short of $25,600.
Model Makers, Metal and Plastic Jobs by Geography
The median annual salary for metal and plastic model makers is $46,200; however, in New Hampshire, Oregon, Washington, and Michigan, the mean annual wage is greater than $60,000.