If you have stumbled across the words “tool and die” and you have no idea what they mean, you are not alone. Sometimes, it is hard to understand what specific terms mean in the manufacturing industry. But, simply put, tool and die is the process of making mechanical tools such as jigs, molds, fixtures, machine tools, cutting tools, gauges, etc.
Specifically, tool is the process of making tools that will assist in the creation of other products. These products include and are not limited to milling cutters, tool bits, fixtures, cutting tools, and sometimes, entire machine tools. In addition, many companies have specific needs for their tools and machines, so tool-making exists in order to fill all of those needs.
Die can be considered a subcategory of tool making. Die making is the process of maintaining and creating dies, which are tools used to stamp, cut, and form materials. Like the tool-making process, die-making requires incredible precision to make punches, regular dies, die sets, and steel rule dies. Even being 1/1000th of an inch off may mean a machinist must start over.
The process begins with a machinist, typically one who specializes in custom tool and die. The machinist must train in science, math, design, and engineering through a classroom experience or an apprenticeship. Sometimes, tool and die specialists will have a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. A machinist must be careful and precise to create an exceptional product.
Through blueprints and CAD, machinists will read and interpret the custom design in order to design and compute what needs to be performed. They will then get to work measuring and marking off stock metal for the machining process. Next is cutting and shaping the metal according to the specific dimensions before filing and grinding it down for that smooth finish.
The machinist will then spend some time closely examining the custom tools and dies for any sort of defect or contour deformity. Finally, when they are all finished and the tool and die are smooth and precise, the machinist will give it a few test runs to ensure it works properly before sending it out to the customer.
So, that is all tool and die is! Essentially, it is extreme precision machining to make tools and other items needed for creating products. Does this sound like something you or your business is in need of? If so, the experts at Ephrata Precision Parts can handle any of your custom tool and die needs. Located in Lancaster County, PA, Ephrata Precision Parts has served the industry since 1962, with over 160 years of combined experience. They work with a variety of industries, so head on over to their page to see how they can meet your tool and die needs.