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Foundry patternmaker

Foundry patternmakers use hand and machine tools to create full-size models for the moulds used in manufacturing.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £18,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements. Some employers may expect you to have experience of using computer aided design (CAD) packages or computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines.

You could start as a process operative or foundry worker.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.
Tomorrow’s Engineers has more information on careers in engineering.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • the ability to work to a high level of accuracy
  • excellent practical skills
  • a steady hand for delicate work
  • strong maths skills

3. What you'll do

You’ll make full size, 3D models from materials like plastic, wax and wood, to create moulds for casting metal in foundries.

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • planning the best way to make patterns from 2D and 3D drawings
  • creating a prototype pattern using hand tools and computer-controlled machinery
  • making a sample casting, to check the prototype meets customer requirements
  • changing the pattern to remove any defects
  • producing a finished pattern ready for the foundry moulders to make castings
  • setting tolerance levels to take account of molten metal shrinking as it cools

You might also use modern technology methods to make moulds which are controlled by a computer.

4. Salary

Starter: £18,000 to £26,000

Experienced: £30,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work around 37 to 40 hours a week on a shift system, including nights and weekends.

Foundry work can be physically tough, and workshops can get hot and dusty.

You’ll wear protective clothing, including overalls, safety boots and ear defenders.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could be promoted to foundry workshop supervisor or manager.

You could also train to become a technician in cast metals technology or mechanical engineering.

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Last updated: 09 October 2018