Foundry Patternmaker Careers

How to become Foundry Patternmaker

What does a Foundry Patternmaker do?

Foundry patternmakers make three-dimensional models to create moulds for casting metal, using a variety of materials including wood, metal, plastic and wax.

They work from manufacturing drawings drawn up by designers and draughtsmen/women. Many of the patterns they work on are complicated and the finishing techniques have to be carried out by hand. Their work must be accurate to the smallest detail. They use computer controlled equipment along with traditional hand tools. Patternmakers must also build in tolerance levels to take into account shrinkage of molten metal as it cools during the casting process.

Once the pattern is complete, a prototype or production sample is usually produced, which the customer examines and adjusts, so that the final product meets exact specifications.

What's the working environment like working as a Foundry Patternmaker?

A foundry patternmaker works a 37-hour week. Many foundries operate a shift system and overtime is often available.

Patternmaking is carried out in a foundry workshop. Most foundries have dust and fume extractors fitted. Patternmakers wear protective clothing, including overalls, safety boots, earplugs, barrier creams and eye shields where necessary.

What does it take to become a Foundry Patternmaker?

As a foundry patternmaker you will need to have:

  • patience and attention to detail
  • the ability to visualise moulds from two-dimensional plans
  • a steady hand for delicate work
  • the ability to follow engineering plans
  • an understanding of the casting process and reaction of metals
  • good communication skills
  • strong numerical skills
  • the ability to make decisions and work as part of a team
  • a methodical, well organised approach to work
  • an awareness of health and safety issues.

Foundry Patternmaker Career Opportunities

There are still opportunities to train and work as a patternmaker. The introduction of computerised machinery has meant that some foundries tend to employ machine operators with a range of different skills. It is in jobbing foundries, where smaller quantities of castings are made, that most of the work is carried out by hand.

Foundries are to be found in most industrial areas.

Patternmakers with good organisational and communication skills can become supervisors and managers. There may be opportunities to train as technicians. This can lead to a career in cast metals technology, mechanical or electrical engineering.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Foundry Patternmaker that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

The Institute of Cast Metal Engineers
National Metalforming Centre
47 Birmingham Road
West Bromwich
West Midlands
B70 6PY

Engineering Council
10 Maltravers Street
Tel: 020 7240 7891

SEMTA (Science Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies Alliance)
14 Upton Road
WD18 0JT
Tel: 0808 100 3682

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