Metals 3D printing presents an opportunity to accelerate the tool and die manufacturing process, thereby reducing the investment to stamp parts.
FREMONT, CA: A prior importance of any manufacturing process is to deliver high-quality parts as accurately as possible. In the previous years, the software simulation tools have streamlined stamping die design, and the initiation of servo presses has improved flexibility and line. However, even with process efficiency of stamping innovation, there have not been significant upgrades to die component manufacture in the past years.
Most of the challenges with stamping die production can be attributed directly to the machining method. There are trade-offs between geometric and cost.
As metal 3D printers are becoming less expensive and more reliable, they offer a new way of producing industrial tooling. Combining 3D printing techniques into stamping tool production workflow can bring out certain advantages.
Metal 3D printing is an option for low-volume metal forming projects. Stamping runs that don't include parts to justify the costs associated with traditional tooling can become available when metal 3D printing is used. A lower tooling cost upfront, paired with shorter lead times, make efficiently executed short runs.
3D printing gives itself very well to prototype stamping dies for more miniature components. The ability to cut the CAM and minimize the time on the mill opens opportunities to repeat on tool designs to find the most optimized solution. Along with this, the finalized stamping die prototypes can form parts while production tooling is increasing throughput the machinery. Machining complex geometries take a longer time to process, meaning more complex dies at a lower cost.
With the ability to 3D-print complex shapes with hardenable tool steels like A2 and D2, working die components for cutting, punching, and bending are good prospects for metal AM. Wear plates and heel blocks can be 3D-printed as well, offering a more natural way to produce complex, high-wear components.