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Metal and Plastic Model Maker

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What Does it Take to Be a Metal and Plastic Model Maker?

Example of Metal & Plastic Model Maker Job 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.

Life As a Metal & Plastic Model Maker

  • Devise and construct tools, dies, molds, jigs, and fixtures, or modify existing tools and equipment.
  • Grind, file, and sand parts to finished dimensions.
  • Lay out and mark reference points and dimensions on materials, using measuring instruments and drawing or scribing tools.
  • Consult and confer with engineering personnel to discuss developmental problems and to recommend product modifications.
  • Program computer numerical control (CNC) machines to fabricate model parts.
  • Set up and operate machines, such as lathes, drill presses, punch presses, or bandsaws, to fabricate prototypes or models.

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.

  • Prototyper
  • Welding Prototype Operator
  • Fabricator
  • Experimental Mechanic
  • Plastic Jig and Fixture Builder

Metal & Plastic Model Maker Employment Estimates

There were about 6,300 jobs for Metal and Plastic Model Maker in 2016 (in the United States). 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.

Metal & Plastic Model Maker Average Salary

The typical yearly salary for Metal and Plastic Model Makers is somewhere 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 different U.S. states?

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

What education or degrees do I need to become a Metal and Plastic Model Maker?


What work experience do I need to become a Metal & Plastic Model Maker?


Who Employs Metal and Plastic Model Makers?


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.


You May Also Be Interested In…

Those interested in being a Metal and Plastic Model Maker may also be interested in:

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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