Plate Maker Career

Job Description: Engrave or etch metal, wood, rubber, or other materials. Includes such workers as etcher-circuit processors, pantograph engravers, and silk screen etchers.

*A job as a Plate Maker falls under the broader career category of Etchers and Engravers. The information on this page will generally apply to all careers in this category. We are still seeking more specific information about this career from experts in this field. If you can provide us with more information, .

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Plate Maker Career

What Plate Makers do:

  • Examine engraving for quality of cut, burrs, rough spots, and irregular or incomplete engraving.
  • Engrave and print patterns, designs, etchings, trademarks, or lettering onto flat or curved surfaces of a wide variety of metal, glass, plastic, or paper items, using hand tools or hand-held power tools.
  • Adjust depths and sizes of cuts by adjusting heights of worktables, or by adjusting machine-arm gauges.
  • Examine sketches, diagrams, samples, blueprints, or photographs to decide how designs are to be etched, cut, or engraved onto workpieces.
  • Measure and compute dimensions of lettering, designs, or patterns to be engraved.
  • Determine machine settings, and move bars or levers to reproduce designs on rollers or plates.
  • Position and clamp workpieces, plates, or rollers in holding fixtures.
  • Clean and polish engraved areas.
  • Start machines and lower cutting tools to beginning points on patterns.
  • Print proofs or examine designs to verify accuracy of engraving, and rework engraving as required.
  • Insert cutting tools or bits into machines and secure them with wrenches.
  • Inspect etched work for depth of etching, uniformity, and defects, using calibrated microscopes, gauges, fingers, or magnifying lenses.
  • Prepare workpieces for etching or engraving by cutting, sanding, cleaning, polishing, or treating them with wax, acid resist, lime, etching powder, or light-sensitive enamel.
  • Remove completed workpieces and place them in trays.
  • Guide stylus over template, causing cutting tool to duplicate design or letters on workpiece.
  • Expose workpieces to acid to develop etch patterns such as designs, lettering, or figures.
  • Neutralize workpieces to remove acid, wax, or enamel, using water, solvents, brushes, or specialized machines.
  • Set reduction scales to attain specified sizes of reproduction on workpieces, and set pantograph controls for required heights, depths, and widths of cuts.
  • Sketch, trace, or scribe layout lines and designs on workpieces, plates, dies, or rollers, using compasses, scribers, gravers, or pencils.
  • Transfer image to workpiece, using contact printer, pantograph stylus, silkscreen printing device, or stamp pad.
  • Select and insert required templates into pattern frames beneath the stylus of a machine cutting tool or router.
  • Observe actions of cutting tools through microscopes and adjust stylus movement to ensure accurate reproduction.
  • Brush or wipe acid over engraving to darken or highlight inscriptions.
  • Cut outlines of impressions with gravers, and remove excess material with knives.
  • Sandblast exposed areas of glass to cut designs in surfaces, using spray guns.
  • Prepare etching chemicals according to formulas, diluting acid with water to obtain solutions of specified concentration.
  • Carve designs and letters onto metal for transfer to other surfaces.
  • Remove wax or tape from etched glassware by using a stylus or knife, or by immersing ware in hot water.
  • Select and mount wheels and miters on lathes, and equip lathes with water to cool wheels and prevent dust when grinding glass.
  • Reduce artwork to be used, using reduction cameras.
  • Brush or smear abrasives on cutting wheels.
  • Fill etched characters with opaque paste to improve readability.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Handling and Moving Objects - Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Performing for or Working Directly with the Public - Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Performing General Physical Activities - Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment - Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Repairing and Maintaining Electronic Equipment - Servicing, repairing, calibrating, regulating, fine-tuning, or testing machines, devices, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of electrical or electronic (not mechanical) principles.

Holland Code Chart for a Plate Maker