Sheet metal embossing is a stamping process for producing raised or sunken designs or relief in sheet metal. This process can be made by means of matched male and female roller dies, or by passing sheet or a strip of metal between rolls of the desired pattern. It is often combined with Foil Stamping to create a shiny, 3D effect.
There are three types of metals that are used for embossing dies. Depending on the shape of the image, the texture to be created and the length of the run you can select the metal.
- Magnesium dies are used for easy embossing projects that have short runs. The designs are large and uncomplicated. Magnesium also allows for special hand tooling.
- Brass dies are the most popular embossing dies. They are very flexible and give the embosser leeway to create fine lines, sculptured images, combo foil stamping and embossing. They are also very good for images requiring extensive hand tooling. You can make brass dies by machines or by a semi-photographic process. The photograph is transferred onto the die to use as a guide for drawing.
- Copper dies are used as an in between to magnesium and brass. However copper dies do not permit hand tooling.
Metal sheet is drawn through the male and female roller dies, producing a pattern or design on the metal sheet. Depending on the roller dies used, different patterns can be produced on the metal sheet. The pressure and a combination of heat actually “irons” while raising the level of the image higher than the substrate to make it smooth. The term “impressing” refers to an image lowered into the surface of a material, in distinction to an image raised out of the surface of a material.