How To Stamp Metal Parts

What is a stamping Die

A stamping die is a special, one of a kind precision tool that cuts and forms sheet metal into a desired shape or profile.  The die’s cutting and forming sections typically are made from carbide or various other hard, wear-resistant materials.

Stamping is a cold-forming operation, zero heat is introduced into the die or the sheet material.  However, heat is generated from friction during the cutting and forming process, stamped parts often exit the dies very hot.

Dies range in size from those used to make microelectronics, to those that are 20 ft. square, that are used to make entire automobile body sides.

The part a stamping operation produces is called a “piece part”.  Certain dies can make more than one-piece part per cycle and can cycle as fast as 1500 cycles (strokes per minute).  Force from a press enables the die to perform.

Do many Die Types Exist?

Yes, there are many kinds of stamping dies, all perform two basic operations – cutting, forming or both.  Manually or robotically loaded dies are referred to as line dies.  Progressive and transfer dies are fully automated.


Cutting is the most common operation performed in a stamping die.  The metal is severed by placing it between two bypassing tool steel sections that have a small gap between them.  This gap, or distance is called the cutting clearance.

Cutting clearances change with respect to the type of cutting operation being performed, the metal’s properties and the desired edge condition of the piece part.  The cutting clearance often is expressed as a percentage of the metal’s thickness.  The most common cutting clearance used is about 10 percent of the metal’s thickness.

High force is needed to cut metal.  The process introduces substantial shock to the die and press. In most cutting operations, the metal is stressed to the point of failure, which produces a cut edge with a shine portion referred to as the cut band, or shear, and a portion called the fracture zone, or break line.

There are many different cutting operations, each with a special purpose.  Some common methods are:

Trimming, notching, blanking, piercing, lancing and shearing.

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