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How easy is it to make your own die?

How easy is it to make your own die?

How easy is it to make your own die?

(OP)
I was just wondering how much money, potentially, you could save, if you could make your own die at home. But, how plausible is that? Dies made of are very hard metal.

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

(OP)
Might be able to make my own dies at home (I muse) if I read this book:

"Sheet Metal Stamping Dies: Die Design and Die Making Practices".

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

As an apprentice I used to make short run dies from mild steel . Then case harden them.
These would be good for up to 100 pieces. Even more if you were punching non ferrous metal.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

Depends, as the above indicates, on how accurate the die needs to be for how many punch/press objects it needs to press out?

A professional also may know methods and have tools and processes already available to make a die much faster than you could by hand and guesswork and without the fixtures. On the other hand, your per-hour rate might be low for the extra time it takes.

If you wanted to, you could paint your own portrait for your living room. Would it be cheaper than getting an artist to do the same painting?
Would the final painting be as good a quality?

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

First of all, you never mentioned what kind of die. There are many kinds, some very simple, some not so.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

Ornerynorsk is right. Do you want to make a punch and die for sheet metal, an extrusion die for plastic or metal extrusion, an injection mold die for plastic, a forming die or a cutoff die or how about a hot forge die or a cold forge die.
First get yourself a design, then purchase the materials. The tooling materials will normally be in the annealed condition. Machine the part to process dimensions. Heat treat the material. Finish grind the materials. Post heat treat you may have to EDM the profile into the material. You may have to polish the material such as an injection mold die.
Accuracy of the parts may have to be within .0005" or closer in some cases.
What kind of machine shop do you have at home?
What you are asking is plausible but very few people have the equipment or skills to do what you are asking.

Bill

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

It's also possible to make your own thread cutting dies, if that's what you want.

So the first thing you need to do is nail down exactly what kind of die you want to make. Then search for what you want to know.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

It would be nice to have the parts for your stamping die produced by laser cutting...

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

dvd,
Do people actually use laser for stamping dies? I wouldn't have thought it would be accurate enough. Wire EDM is still the standard, no?
John

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

For a blanking die, laser cutting should produce acceptable pieces.
... except for the small HAZ which will need to be ground away, or allowed to crumble and compensated for.

For a forming die, neither laser nor wire EDM will be useful; plunge EDM is the current standard. Maybe laser sintering, someday...

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

I guess this makes me an old timer but I can remember toolmaking before wire and spark erosion. All blanking dies would either be split and ground or sheared and filed, either on a filing machine or by hand in a bench vice. You could still make a simple blanking tool like this on very basic equipment.

As has been mentioned there are many different types of tooling and even within the same type of tooling the complexity can vary hugely.

Personally I have never heard of laser cutting being used in blanking die, well not for the punch or die, I have seen it used extensively for things like thrust plates and strippers, however that does not mean it never is or has been.

However to say that wire EDM is not useful for a forming die is complete rubbish. If you want to form something straight it is probably the best way to go, think of something like corrugated sheet you simply wire the punch and die the main limit is the length of sections. You can wire slots in a die and then by benching a radius on top a form punch will create a tag; you could even go as far as producing a kind of chequer plate by wiring different forms at 90 degrees to each other. You can create a certain amount of 3D shape as most wire eroders will cut to plus or minus 5 degrees.

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

I was trying for a bit of irony on the comment about laser cutting of die components... since many parts are now produced by laser cutting in lieu of blanking dies. I guess it might be possible to produce a die (but not a punch) with a laser cutting process where the punch was used to shear the die.

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

Richard - I suggest that tonight you read a book on sky diving. Tomorrow you go up in a plane and jump.
What kind of experience do you have working with steel? It takes 3 1/2 years as an apprentice to become a die maker and after that you start learning.
If you are experienced working to close tolerances you may want to read some books about die making and than start with a very simple perforating or blanking die and go from there. Anything else is an invitation to failure.
BTW don't even think about starting something more complex than very simple stamping without a wire machine.

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

Seems to me I've read that higher carbon content steels laser cut fine, but have a much higher chance of edge cracking, which would not be a desirable aspect in toolmaking. There's a reason it's not being widely used. The profile of the edge is also not too good with laser cut articles. Finish is critical to part quality and die life.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: How easy is it to make your own die?

dvd,
Sarcasm and subtle humor in a room full of Engineers? You should know better.
Seriously, I thought maybe I was even further behind the times than I thought (we're making a blanking die on an NC mill as we speak).
John

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