Die cutting is the process of punching out various shapes of objects from sheets of materials. It could be compared to cutting cookies from a sheet of dough. This process enables you to produce many identically shaped items in a short time. Die Cutting is a precision oriented process that is usually done by master craftsmen in tool rooms. Some of the types of machinery that is used in die cutting are: surface grinders, electro discharge machines, milling machines, boring machines, lapping machines, jig borers, and grinding machines, etc. Attachments to the cutting head can also add texture to the finished pieces.
Tools such as ball-nose end mills, milling cutters, drills, reamers, boring tools, and lapping paste, etc. are also used in the cutting process. The cutting tools are made of sharpened steel. They could be flat mounted, steel rule dies which are stamped into the material vertically on a die press or mounted on a rotary drum. The rotary drum process is generally used in industrial die cutting in which a large volume of shapes is cut out of long rolls of material.
Depending on the component complexity, the die may be made in two or more parts; all of which must mate without any leaks. The inner cavities will resemble the finished component in relief. Inserts are used to replicate holes and fins.
There are many types of materials that can be die cut as long as the cutting tools can cut through them. These include materials such as cardboard, felt, fabrics, plastics, foam, leather, magnetic strips, tin foil, paper, rubber, wood, and vinyl.
All dimensions are determined from the master dowel and machining is done in stages. The final machining with fine metal removal is done on jig boring machines. The die may be heat treated to ensure that it does not wear out quickly. An important aspect is maintaining the appropriate wall thickness of the cast component and ensuring that the fillet radii are reproduced properly.
Grinding and lapping are performed to finish the operation. The die is thoroughly demagnetized before it is taken for testing and production.