Spotlight on... Daniel Marlow, Toolmaker
Spotlight on… Daniel Marlow, Toolmaker
Have you ever wondered what exactly a Toolmaker does? Here, Daniel Marlow provides an insight into the career.
Tell us about your background. What did you do before joining the Wilks team? I’ve always loved making things, problem-solving and finding out how things work as well as maths, physics and engineering. The combination of these led me to study engineering and toolmaking. I chose to work for Wilks as it was a friendly, family run company offering a job I really wanted.
How long have you worked here? Five years and nine months.
Is this something you’ve always wanted to do? I have always wanted to work in an engineering role and decided on toolmaking after doing mass production while on work experience, bespoke work is much more for me.
What project are you working on at the moment? I am currently working on a new floor seal design for the shopfitting market. Check out designs have changed over the years, and more stores are choosing to refurb rather than refit completely. The new floor seal I am working on will be easy to install on site and won’t have to be fitted to the checkout directly while it's being manufactured. If the floor seal is a success, we hope to see it rolled out over the country.
Tell us about a typical day – what does your job involve? Every day at Wilks is different. Though, generally, a day in the toolroom starts with grinding machine plates ready for use, before moving onto CAD drawings. There isn’t a set order to our days, so I jump in and help out with every project we have on. You can often find me drilling blank plates for tools, and then preparing them for trial. We trial the tools regularly making modifications as we go to achieve the desired shape.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I enjoy creating technical drawings on CAD and working on the turret mill. We get to work on a variety of different designs for various applications, which is pretty cool.
What would you say your biggest achievement at Wilks has been so far? Remaking the 30RT tool for the shopfitting range has been my biggest achievement, as it was the first tool that I ever designed, made, trialled and modified all on my own!
Matching existing designs are often more complicated than making new ones from scratch, this profile was quite small, and its tight tolerances made it particularly tricky. I got a great sense of satisfaction once it was complete.
Another achievement worth mentioning is winning the 2018 Wilks Bake Off competition when I took home the trophy for my four-tiered chocolate and vanilla sponge.
How can you see your role developing in the future? Since joining the team, Wilks has expanded in size considerably both in the buildings, equipment and staff. My role has been continuously developing over the years as I have completed an intermediate and advanced apprenticeship while at the company. I then went on to study my HNC in Mechanical Engineering and achieved an overall distinction grade.
What has been the weirdest thing you’ve had to do – or your strangest moment? The marketing team recently got me involved in a video on how to install our easy to fit BUMP! fender so now I can confidently add “hand model” onto my CV.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to do a similar role? I would recommend an apprenticeship for those interested in toolmaking as a career. Being in a real work environment allows you to gain so much more than you would in a classroom. Also, check twice and cut once!
What do you do in your spare time? I like to keep busy and have a range of hobbies, ranging from the bass guitar to martial arts to personal projects. My latest project is painting WWII British army scale models, including tanks, infantry and artillery for the Bolt Action table-top game. Last year I started making a fully remote-controlled Lancaster bomber with a wingspan of 6 foot; however, space quickly became a bit of a problem!
You can check out Daniel in action in the BUMP! video on our YoutTube channel.