Metal stamping traces back to 2000 B.C., when blacksmiths began minting coins from metal with rudimentary die-and-punch tools. As much has changed since then as it's stayed the same. Sheet metal stamping still uses die and punch tools to shape metal, but the scale is much larger than before.
Now, sheet metal stamps can mass produce almost everything and have varying degrees of complexity. This article will help you understand each metal stamping method and how it can serve your mass production and prototype manufacturing needs.
What Is Sheet Metal Stamping?
Sheet metal stamping got its name from the die-and-press tools of yore, but the name remains an apt description of the process. This method of parts manufacturing uses a press to create parts from flat metal sheets, "stamping" them out. The name given to the raw, unfinished metal sheets used in this process is sheet metal, thus, earning the name "sheet metal stamping."
Sheet Metal Stamping Design Phase
The sheet metal stamping process begins in the design phase. There are many generic stamps used in various industries. However, many sheet metal stamping customers request custom punches and dies for their products.
Custom stamps determine the final shape and function of the finished metalwork. They help each business stand out against competitors with similar products. Before beginning prototype manufacturing, you should expect a design consultation with the sheet metal stamper.
Sheet Metal Stamping Basic Process
Once designed, sheet metal stamping is all about pressing and forming the metal. Presses can have different power levels depending on the thickness and complexity of the stamped metal. The size and position of the die determine how much metal to remove during each strike, which is why it's essential to match up die sizes with corresponding punch sizes.
The 4 Types of Sheet Metal Stamping
Different stamping processes suit different needs, so it's important to know what you're working with. Each class of metal stamping has different characteristics and applications.
1. Short-Run Stamping
Short run stamping is among the simplest sheet metal stamping techniques. Often, manufacturers use this process for products in smaller quantities.
Short-run stamping machines start by creating a blank. In sheet metal stamping, blanks are the remaining metal after the die presses out the pattern. Manufacturers then custom-form the blank using tools like hammers, punches, and drills.
Most often, manufacturers use short-run stamping for products in smaller quantities. This hands-on approach to sheet metal stamping is expensive, but the lack of tooling costs undercuts that price increase. So, for small projects, short-run stamping can be more cost-efficient.
2. Fourslide Stamping
The process of fourslide sheet metal stamping is one of the industry's most common and popular metal forming processes. It is also known as four-hole or four-die punching.
The process takes a flat metal stock and shapes it into a three-dimensional object with recessed cavities for easy molding. Fourslide sheet metal stamping is a versatile process that can form products from thin and thick gauge metals.
3. Deep Draw Stamping
Manufacturers using the deep draw stamping method use machinery to cut the blank while forming it into a mold. The name "deep draw" comes from the process by which the metal stretches to a depth deeper than the diameter of the stamp.
Deep draw stamping has many practical applications, from auto parts to cookware. You'll want to consider using this process if you're looking for a thrifty way to create many 3-D metal components.
4. Progressive Stamping
The progressive sheet metal stamping process uses several phases to form sheet metal. Like an assembly line, each stamping press adds to the one before. Whether the addition is cutting, punching, or forming, you get a completed part at the end of the line.
If your prototype to production needs require complex parts, progressive stamping will be your go-to. This automated process helps you get unique parts with a quicker turnaround and lower labor costs than a single-press option.
What Types of Sheet Metal Work for Stamping?
Stamped sheet metal is used for various items, including sheet metal brackets, frames, and accessories. To make stamped sheet metal parts, you need to start with high-quality metal sheets like:
Precious metals (gold, silver, platinum)
Non-ferrous metals (bronze, zinc, brass)
Iron-based alloy metals (stainless steel)
The best type of steel for stamping is galvanized steel because it has a protective coating that prevents rusting. You can also use annealed steel if you use a process like die-stamping or laser cutting. For other methods like punching or bending, any steel will work as long as it's thick enough.
Which Industries Need Sheet Metal Stamping?
Many industries rely on sheet metal stamping to produce quality, custom materials. Industries that benefit from sheet metal stamping include the following.
As one of the world's largest users of sheet metal stamping, automobile manufacturers use this method for various purposes, including vehicle body panels, interior components, undercarriage parts, and engine blocks. Sheet metal stamping is particularly beneficial when assembling multiple pieces into larger structures; automakers often need many small individuals stamped pieces welded together.
The components of many household appliances use sheet metal stamping in the production process. Washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers use parts created by some or all sheet metal stamping processes.
Whether building homes or installing HVAC systems, you'll need to rely on high-quality hardware like bolts, hinges, and washers to get the job done right. The construction industry relies on sheet metal stamping for the mass production of these materials.
What Are the Benefits of Sheet Metal Stamping?
There's an unfair assumption that handmade metal products are better. But, stamping prevails over hand-tooling in these industries because it offers:
Reduced scrap rates
Shorter lead times
Stamping is also a quick and cost-effective way to prototype new products. Prototypes can be made on short notice and updated as the design changes. Once perfected, manufacturers can produce large quantities with no waste or costly inventory costs.
Prototype Manufacturers in Columbus Ohio
Sheet metal stamping is among the most efficient ways for products to go from design to production. Established and new businesses alike enjoy using sheet metal stamping services for prototyping and mass production.
But, you shouldn't trust your products to anyone with a stamp and press. Look for an industry leader like Hidaka USA. With over 30 years of manufacturing experience, we offer a wide range of expert services for all our customers. Visit our website or contact us today for mass production and prototype services.