The vast majority of metal tools and objects that everyone uses in daily life are the result of metal pressings. Forks, knives, car bodies and interiors, yard tools, hand tools, scientific instruments, medical instruments, computer parts, and home appliances are all made with this process. Almost metal stamping company anything made from metal that you might use at home or work has been formed using this intricate, sophisticated technique. Even the metal that is the exterior of many houses is the result of this engineering and mechanical process.
Metal pressing is an ancient skill. The Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans all discovered new and varied methods of creating tools and weapons from metal by applying force to a hot or cold metal sheet to create a shape they desired.
Anything a designer or engineer can imagine, no matter how complex, delicate, or intricate, can be produced using the tools and techniques of metal forming. Many artists use these same processes to create the structural art forms that are displayed in most of the world’s museums.
Fabrication is when one thing is manipulated to become something else. Unfortunately, the most common usage of the word might have something to do with the how the truth is so often “fabricated” into something else. However, the most useful type of fabrication has been and most likely always will be metal fabrication.
It is thought that metal was discovered before people even been to write, and that it was first used to make rudimentary tools and weapons – such as arrowheads and spears. Since then, fabrication has come a long way to include metal bending, metal forming, welding, laser cutting, and much more – expanding its utility far beyond the realm of weapons and basic tools.
As most high school students know – metal was first used for basic tools. You may picture a primitive arrowhead or a spear, fastened with rawhide with feathers attached- and as far as history can tell us, you wouldn’t be too wrong. These ancient examples of metal fabrication were found in caves, and for the most part every metal fabrication found was created to be used. There was no primitive plasma cutting and metal fabrication done for decorative purposes – only for survival. As far as we can tell, these were the earliest cousins of the modern, technologically savvy, metal fabrications we see today.
Dies are made from very hard steel alloys. The die is attached to a machine called a press. The press provides the force needed for the die to form the shape desired in metal pressings. Any metal can be used from steel and aluminium to precious metals like gold and platinum. An engineer designs a die to either be an inverse image of the part to be made or to cut and form the desired part to the basic or finished shape a customer desires.
A press brake is a large machine that is made up of three basic parts – a punch made of hard alloy steel, a die that is the inverse impression of the punch, and a press assembly that provides the force to bend a piece of metal inserted into the press brake. Large sheets of metal like car hoods are manipulated into the press brake and the bends that make the finished form are created with the press brake. An infinite variety of shapes can be created using the press brake in pressed metal.
Pressing metal requires an exacting design standard on the part of the engineer creating the tools and dies to make a part as well as the engineer designing the part to be made. Much of the work is done with computer numerically controlled (CNC) equipment that uses computers to set up and operate the machinery that forms the metal part. This type of control reduces the potential for making an error on the part of the operator and insures a higher quality in the finished part.