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Metal and Plastic Model Maker

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What is a Metal and Plastic Model Maker?

Career Description 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.

A Day in the Life of a Metal & Plastic Model Maker

  • Align, fit, and join parts, using bolts and screws or by welding or gluing.
  • Inspect and test products to verify conformance to specifications, using precision measuring instruments or circuit testers.
  • Grind, file, and sand parts to finished dimensions.
  • Devise and construct tools, dies, molds, jigs, and fixtures, or modify existing tools and equipment.
  • Cut, shape, and form metal parts, using lathes, power saws, snips, power brakes and shears, files, and mallets.
  • Wire and solder electrical and electronic connections and components.

What Every Metal & Plastic Model Maker Should Know

When polled, Metal and Plastic Model Makers say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Operation and Control: Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

Operation 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.

Troubleshooting: Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

  • Prototype Model Maker
  • Plastic Jig and Fixture Builder
  • Pattern Finisher
  • Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist)
  • Molding Technician

Are There Job Opportunities for Metal and Plastic Model Makers?

In 2016, there was an estimated number of 6,300 jobs in the United States for Metal and Plastic Model Maker. There is little to no growth in job opportunities for Metal and Plastic Model Maker. The BLS estimates 600 yearly job openings in this field.


The states with the most job growth for Metal & Plastic Model Maker are Utah, Arizona, and Florida. Watch out if you plan on working in Oregon, Kentucky, or Colorado. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for a Metal & Plastic Model Maker

The average yearly salary of a Metal & Plastic Model Maker ranges between $31,410 and $84,250.


Metal and Plastic Model Makers who work in Washington, Massachusetts, or Colorado, make the highest salaries.

How much do Metal and Plastic Model Makers make in each U.S. state?

State Annual Mean Salary
Arizona $50,800
California $58,710
Colorado $62,240
Connecticut $65,590
Florida $55,720
Illinois $62,050
Indiana $46,360
Iowa $47,210
Kentucky $55,630
Massachusetts $65,900
Michigan $61,900
Minnesota $39,330
Missouri $60,370
New Jersey $57,260
New York $63,360
North Carolina $38,980
Ohio $52,400
Oklahoma $39,920
Pennsylvania $55,580
South Carolina $63,910
Tennessee $50,150
Texas $57,660
Utah $44,810
Virginia $52,290
Washington $70,040
Wisconsin $54,180

What Tools & Technology do Metal and Plastic Model Makers Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Metal and Plastic Model Makers:

  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • CNC Software Mastercam

How to Become a Metal & Plastic Model Maker

Are there Metal and Plastic Model Makers education requirements?


How many years of work experience do I need?


Who Employs Metal and Plastic Model Makers?


Below are examples of industries where Metal and Plastic Model Makers work:


Similar Careers

Those thinking about becoming a Metal and Plastic Model Maker might also be interested in the following careers:

Are you already one of the many Metal and Plastic Model Maker in the United States? If you’re thinking about changing careers, these fields are worth exploring:


Image Credit: US Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class John Linzmeier via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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