Tool and Die Manufacturing Guide

Tool and Die Manufacturing Guide

Tool and die manufacturing is essential in fabricating and producing durable parts and components. This process consists of cutting, forming, stamping, and forging metals to create materials that vary in shape, size, and function. Tool and die manufacturing also involves the production of metal molds to shape plastics, ceramics, and other materials for traditional and injection molding.

Typically, tool and die maker services are small companies that provide a broad spectrum of metal parts for larger manufacturers that make products ranging from household appliances to automotive and more. Numerous manufacturing processes benefit from tool and die manufacturing. Tool & Die manufacturing  usually works with three basic elements — tools, dies, and jigs.

At Evans Metal Stamping, our in-house master toolmakers deliver excellent tool and die builds for a wide range of applications.

Tool Vs. Die

The terms tool and die are often used interchangeably. Although they work concurrently in the manufacturing process, they have distinct differences. The simplest way to differentiate the two is that dies are a subset of tools. Hence, all dies are tools, but not all tools are dies. 

A tool is any mechanical device or instrument used to produce other components. It can be used to cut, support, form, or mold metals. Some examples of tools are fixtures, jigs, and dies.

On the other hand, a die functions similarly to molds as they change the metal into any desired shape. In addition, dies are classified into different types depending on their functionality, while tools are classified according to their function or use.

Die Types

Dies are commonly divided into two categories — cutting and forming dies. For instance, cutting dies remove, shear, or cut materials during the fabrication, while forming dies are used to press metal to change its shape and form. Below are specific die types used in tool and die manufacturing:

  • Simple Die: This die performs one cutting per stroke. It is ideal for simple designs and specifications and cannot execute multiple forming actions.
  • Compound Die: This die does multiple cutting actions using a single stroke. Although combining operations often takes time, compound dies are cost-effective and minimize the probability of errors when parts are transferred from one station to another.
  • Progressive Die: This type of die performs multiple cutting actions per stroke, but each stroke is done in different parts of the blank. This tool uses a continuous feeding mechanism to accomplish metal modifications in separate sections. Progressive dies execute multiple operations on a workpiece quicker than other methods. 
  • Transfer Die: Similar to the progressive die, the transfer die performs multiple cutting actions per stroke in different workpiece parts. However, pre-cut blanks are mechanically transferred to other stations instead of being fed continuously in the machine. Transfer dies are perfect for larger and more complex workpieces as it offers higher efficiency than progressive dies.
  • Multiple Die: This die type creates multiple components in a single multiple-die press stroke. Multiple dies require identical dies linked in the exact mechanism to perform in sync with one another.

Die Manufacturing Vs. Molding

Die manufacturing and molding are both used to shape materials; however, they differ in the processes of shaping materials. 

In die manufacturing, a press applies pressure to the material by stamping to alter or manipulate its shape. Die manufacturing also utilizes pre-shaped three-dimensional templates capable of shaping components in a solid rather than liquid state.

Meanwhile, molding involves liquid or viscous raw material that is poured and left into a pre-shaped three-dimensional template until they solidify. 

Tool and Die Manufacturing Process

Using both dies and press, the tool and die manufacturing process manipulates the form of a material to produce components with different shapes and sizes. In this method, the press forces the material into the die cavity to transform the object into the same shape and size as the cavity.

Subsequently, tool and die manufacturing are ideal for high-volume production as they can only generate workpieces identical to the die’s shape and size. Additionally, common die sets include the following parts:

  • Blank punch
  • Die block
  • Die holder
  • Dowel pin
  • Pierce pinch
  • Pierce punch
  • Pilot
  • Punch plate
  • Shank
  • Stripper plate

Tool and Die Manufacturing Capabilities

Tool and die manufacturing offers a kaleidoscope of capabilities in several industries. Large manufacturing firms often rely on this process to deliver products with a broad spectrum of applications  — durable goods, appliances, transportation, robotics, electronics, medical devices, and green technology. Specifically, tool and die manufacturing delivers three important capabilities to its users: deep drawing, stamping, and prototyping. 

Deep Drawing

In this manufacturing technique, rigid tools, such as punches and binders, are used to produce components for the automotive industry. Deep drawing utilizes tensile and compressive conditions to form and shape flat sheet metal blanks into hollow bodies that can either open on one side or with smaller cross-sections.

With deep drawing, flat sheet metals are punched out, and the punch will stretch the materials to form in the die to achieve the specified shape. While deep drawing can stretch metal sheets, it doesn’t reduce their thickness, which helps maintain their strength and durability.


Stamping is a metalworking process that uses a stamping press to cut or shape materials into any desired shape and size. Flat sheet metals are placed in the press, and techniques like blanking, punching, bending, embossing, coining, and flanging are used to manipulate the materials.

Moreover, there are several types of stamping presses used in tool and die manufacturing, including:

  • Mechanical Presses: Using motors connected to mechanical flywheels, mechanical presses transfer and store energy to function more quickly than hydraulic presses. These are ideal for generating shallower and simpler parts and usually use transfer or progressive stamping techniques.
  • Hydraulic Presses: This type of stamping press uses pressurized hydraulic fluid to apply force to a material. Hydraulic pistons can displace fluid proportionally, resulting in greater pressure control than mechanical presses. Hydraulic presses are typically used in smaller production runs as they create more profound and intricate stamping than other techniques.
  • Mechanical Servo Presses: Instead of flywheels, mechanical servo presses use high-capacity servomotors to generate products faster than other presses. Manufacturers can also program slide motion, positioning, strokes, and speed to these presses for increased efficiency. However, mechanical servo presses are more expensive than other stamping presses.


Tool and die manufacturing is beneficial in developing prototype units. Tool designers and engineers often collaborate to produce the desired results. Tool and die maker professionals are ideal for this work, as they can craft complex machinery and understand mechanics well.

Subsequently, tool and die technology can renovate broken tools, dies, jigs, gauges, and other fixtures.

Tool And Die Manufacturing At Evans Metal Stamping/Evans Tool & Die

With our over 200 years of combined experience in the industry, Evans Metal stamping can deliver various services for tool and die manufacturing. We have 20 master tool makers and machinists who create manufacturing tools, including dies, molds, machine tools, and cutting tools, with over 67 punch presses for high-volume production.

Our ISO 9001-2015 certification also allows us to deliver a wide array of dies and stamping capabilities:

  • Coining
  • Forming
  • Secondary and hand transfer dies
  • Progressive and transfer stamping

Further, Evans provides services, including:

  • CNC machine
  • EDM wire and sinker
  • Drilling
  • Countersinking
  • Tapping and reaming.

Request a quote today to experience Evans’ high-quality work and superb client service.