Equipment Fabricator

Builder Icon
Clipboard Icon
Related roles: Equipment Technician, Equipment Assembler, Equipment Maintenance Technician, Equipment Operator, Equipment Engineer, Manufacturing Technician, Fabrication Specialist, Mechanical Assembler, Machine Builder, Production Technician


Similar Titles

Equipment Technician, Equipment Assembler, Equipment Maintenance Technician, Equipment Operator, Equipment Engineer, Manufacturing Technician, Fabrication Specialist, Mechanical Assembler, Machine Builder, Production Technician

Job Description

The term “equipment” covers thousands of different items used in countless industries. Bulldozers, blenders, blood pressure monitors. Computers, car jacks, dumbbells. Voltage testers, Bunsen burners, fire extinguishers…the list goes on and on. 

Equipment is used to perform or assist with all sorts of tasks and functions. It’s usually purchased commercially and “off-the-shelf,” meaning it already exists and is easy to buy. But sometimes there are tasks that need doing—and no existing equipment designed to do them! That’s where Equipment Fabricators come in to save the day. 

As a process, fabrication is related to machining but involves more cutting, bending, welding, shearing, and forming pieces. Machining, on the other hand, relies more on milling, turning, drilling, grinding, and lathing. 

Fabricated equipment refers to custom-made devices or tools specially created for unique purposes. Such equipment may include customized machines for industrial purposes, special rigs for filming, tailored medical devices, research and lab apparatus, vehicle modifications, sporting gear, etc. Whatever it is, Equipment Fabricators are always up for the challenge!

Rewarding Aspects of Career
  • Getting to design, manufacture, and assemble new equipment to help organizations meet their goals
  • Potentially making something that will revolutionize an industry
  • Unique opportunities for skills development
2021 Employment
2031 Projected Employment
The Inside Scoop
Job Responsibilities

Working Schedule

  • Equipment Fabricators work full-time jobs, typically with nights, weekends, and holidays off, though overtime may be occasionally needed to stay on schedule. 

Typical Duties

  • Meet with managers or clients to review their requirements for fabricated equipment
  • Brainstorm ideas for what such equipment might look like, its features, and the estimated cost of production
    • If multiple pieces of equipment are needed, review manufacturing procedures and costs
  • Create or review written descriptions or sketches, blueprints, technical drawings, etc.
  • Agree upon the terms of work, including timelines and budgets
  • Collaborate with team members, including engineers or consultants, as needed
  • Request the equipment, tools, and raw materials necessary to begin work
  • Use hand tools and operate machines to fabricate workpieces. Assemble parts when ready
  • Mark cutting lines on materials; check to ensure pieces are securely fitted and aligned 
  • Examine parts or final products for quality assurance
  • Conduct stress tests and troubleshoot prototypes to ensure proper functioning before submitting them for review
  • Garner feedback and make adjustments 

Additional Responsibilities

  • Attend equipment/product development meetings
  • Adhere to safety standards and guidelines
  • Create detailed reports of all work
  • Write or help write operation manuals for new equipment
  • Stay up-to-date on applicable software and technical manuals 
  • Train and mentor new fabricators, machinists, operators, technologists, and technicians, as needed
  • Keep work areas clean and perform routine maintenance on machines
Skills Needed on the Job

Soft Skills

  • Alertness
  • Analytical
  • Cautious
  • Communication skills
  • Compliance-oriented
  • Critical thinking
  • Detail-oriented
  • Discipline
  • Independent 
  • Objective
  • Organized
  • Patient 
  • Planning and organization
  • Problem-solving
  • Safety-consciousness
  • Sound judgment 
  • Stamina
  • Teamwork
  • Time management 

Technical Skills

  • Blueprint reading
  • Welding/metalwork
  • Machining and machinist programs such as Armchair Machinist and Machinists’ Calculator
  • Computer-aided design programs like Autodesk AutoCAD, CATIA, PTC Creo Parametric, and SolidCAM
  • Computer-aided manufacturing software like Autodesk Fusion 360 and CNC Mastercam
  • Industrial control software such as EditCNC or Mazak Mazatrol
  • Procedure management programs like Hexagon Metrology PC-DMIS
  • Precision measurement tools (calipers, micrometers, and gauges)
  • Knowledge of materials and their properties (including various types of metal and metal alloys such as steel, brass, aluminum, copper, zinc, lead, vanadium, and manganese)
  • Familiarity with tools and equipment such as welding machines, shears, presses, grinders, CNC machines, lasers, plasma cutters, waterjets, measuring instruments, and safety gear
  • Familiarity with hydraulic systems, electrical wiring, lubricants, and batteries
  • Safety procedures and first aid
Different Types of Organizations
  • Aerospace industry
  • Agribusiness
  • Automotive industry
  • Computer and electronic product manufacturing
  • Construction companies
  • Food processing industry
  • Machinery manufacturing
  • Oil and gas companies
  • Renewable energy sector
  • Research and development 
  • Temporary help services
  • Transportation equipment manufacturing
Expectations and Sacrifices

Equipment fabricators must maintain high levels of precision and deliver quality prototypes and finished products that meet their employer’s or client’s expectations. Work must be done safely, within established timeframes and budgets, and in compliance with applicable industry standards. 

These numerous demands put a lot of pressure on fabricators, whose work is heavily scrutinized. When things get behind schedule, they may have to put in extra hours to catch up. It’s a physically demanding job, involving lifting, prolonged standing, and exposure to various hazards—all of which can take a toll over time.

Current Trends

Trends in the field of equipment fabrication include the rise of Industry 4.0, which uses technologies like automation, artificial intelligence, Cyber-Physical Systems, cloud computing, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things to improve efficiency and productivity. 

For equipment that will be mass-produced, the Industrial Internet of Things enables manufacturers to connect machines, devices, and sensors to the Internet. This allows real-time data collection, helping to optimize operations. Sustainable Manufacturing is another growing trend, as companies seek to reduce waste, improve energy efficiency, and utilize renewable resources. However, this may be less important for customized equipment that will only be made once or a few times. 

What kinds of things did people in this career enjoy doing when they were younger

Equipment Fabricators enjoy visualizing ideas and using their hands to bring them to life. They are comfortable using tools and stationary heavy equipment. They might have enjoyed math and shop classes in school, as well as design and computer programming. 

For them, it’s easy to collaborate but they don’t mind working alone for long periods where they can focus on the task at hand. They might have been highly independent growing up, and thus feel right at home completing projects without a ton of interaction with others. 

Education and Training Needed
Things to look for in an University
  • Equipment Fabricators don’t need to attend a four-year university. But a certificate or associate’s at a technical school or community college will come in handy
  • Consider the cost of tuition, discounts, and local scholarship opportunities (in addition to federal aid)
  • Think about your schedule and flexibility when deciding whether to enroll in an on-campus, online, or hybrid program. Many relevant courses will need to be done in person to get hands-on experience
  • Review the program’s job placement statistics for graduates
Things to do in High School and College
  • Sign up for plenty of math, physics, computer science, materials science, and shop classes in high school
  • Consider learning about mechanical drawing and blueprint reading through self-study
  • Take ad hoc classes online, from Coursera, Udemy, or other sites
  • Enroll in a community college or vocational/technical school program to learn fabrication methods, welding, CAD/CAM, CNC machining, etc. 
  • Knock out a certification program such as AISC’s Certified Fabricator or AWS Certified Welder
  • Engage in a fitness program that can build your strength and stamina
  • Get some real-world job experience via part-time jobs or internships related to fabrication or shop work
  • Request to do an informational interview with a working Equipment Fabricator to learn about their jobs
  • Keep track of contacts who might serve as future job references 
  • Study books, articles, and video tutorials related to traditional and modern fabrication processes, tools, and equipment 
  • Participate in online forums to ask questions and learn from seasoned pros 
  • Engage with professional organizations to learn, share, make friends, and grow your network (see our list of Resources > Websites)
  • Start crafting a resume early. Keep adding to it as you go, so you don’t lose track of anything
Typical Roadmap
Equipment Fabricator Roadmap
How to Land your 1st job
  • Check out job portals like, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Monster, CareerBuilder, SimplyHired, or ZipRecruiter
  • Look on Craigslist for job postings from smaller local companies
  • Make a list of local equipment manufacturing companies and visit their websites’ career pages frequently 
  • Advertise your services online, such as on LinkedIn or via a website
  • Seek out apprenticeships or internships sponsored by employers, unions, or trade associations
  • Ask a working Equipment Fabricator for job-seeking tips
  • Visit your school’s career center for assistance finding job fairs, writing a resume, and connecting with recruiters 
  • Stay in touch with classmates and use your network to get job tips. Most jobs are still found through personal connections 
  • Ask your instructors, former supervisors, and/or coworkers if they’re willing to serve as personal references. Don’t give out their personal contact information without prior permission
  • Check out some Equipment Fabricator-related resume examples and sample interview questions
  • Practice doing mock interviews and learn how to dress appropriately for interviews 
How to Climb the Ladder

Master your current job but let your supervisor know you’re interested in career progression. Express your willingness to complete additional training 

Plan B

Equipment Fabricator can be a very rewarding career choice! It’s filled with opportunities to do creative work with your hands, making custom pieces of equipment to help employers or clients overcome challenges and reach their objectives. But if this doesn’t sound quite right for you, here are some related occupations to consider: 

  • Aircraft Structure, Surfaces, Rigging, and Systems Assembler
  • Boilermaker
  • Coil Winder, Taper, and Finisher
  • Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assembler
  • Electromechanical Equipment Assembler
  • Engine and Other Machine Assembler
  • Fiberglass Laminator
  • Industrial Machinery Mechanic
  • Ironworker
  • Machinery Maintenance Worker
  • Metal and Plastic Machine Worker
  • Millwright
  • Sheet Metal Worker
  • Structural Metal Fabricator and Fitter
  • Timing Device Assembler
  • Welder


Online Courses and Tools