Steps For Getting A Die Ready For Production

Dickmann Manufacturing Company has over 60 years of experience in metal stampings and die maintenance.  With our commitment to absolute quality, it is our top priority to bring each die into our in-house tool room after each production run or when a designated number of parts have been run. Our journeyman tool and die maker, Chris, has over 29 years of experience in tool and die. On a daily basis you can find him maintaining our metal stamping dies, press brake tooling and also designing and making other small tools or dies. In this blog post Chris shared a 6 step matrix of what happens when a die comes into his tool room and how he gets it ready for production.

1. Striping Down The Die

Chris: Once a die comes into the tool room, I start by stripping it down to its individual components. For example: Punch holders, punches, die blocks, forms, strippers, springs and nitrogen cylinders may all be taken apart at this time.

2. Cleaning and Inspection

Chris: After the die is stripped down, it is time to clean and inspect each piece that makes up the die and determine if further attention is required. Sharpening, polishing, and replacing dead springs or ejectors are all considered at this time. I jot down notes in my die maintenance log to help keep track of what has become or what may potentially cause an issue with the die.

3. Sharpening 

Chris: Next, large die blocks are put in the wet grinder for sharpening. At this point I determine if or how this will affect the timing of the die. I ask myself questions like, "Do I need to shim this die block up an equal amount to what I have ground it down to or can I just take it off the stop?" At any rate, I recommend that it is usually best to return the die to the same timing it was when it was originally taken apart.

4. More Sharpening and Polishing

Chris: While the die block is going in the wet grinder, I take each individual punch of all varieties to the slide grinder and sharpen them. Any ejectors or oil breakers are taken out of the punch and spring pressure is checked during this time. If the pressure is weak, I automatically change them during reassembly.  When the wet grinding of the die blocks is just about complete, all forms are polished to remove grit and ensure a smooth forming/cutting surface.

5. Reassembly and Timing

Chris: Now that all sharpening and polishing is completed, I am confident that the die springs are strong. I take a quick look at either the leader pins or ball cages to make sure everything is correct. Once these are in good shape it is time to reassemble the components, minus the springs. These are left out because I want to check and double check that the punches are entering the die clean and cutting clearance is where it should be. Once I am happy with that, I will set the timing, assemble with the springs, and make sure all bolts are tight and dowel pins are set flush or below. Lastly, I write up a tag detailing what work was done to the particular die and communicate with the die team to make sure everything is ready for production.

6. Onto the Next Die!

Sharpened, Timed, Polished and Ready to Run!


Dickmann Manufacturing Company is a privately held metal fabrication and metal stamping business in Grafton, Wisconsin. We are confident that with our expertise and ingenuity we can offer you solutions for virtually all of your metal project needs. 

Looking to start a metal project? Contact us and we'll help you get started no matter what stage your idea/product is in.

Learn everything you need to know about our metal stamping services and capabilities.  Download our punch press brochure

Learn everything you need to know about our metal stamping services and capabilities.
 Download our punch press brochure