Tool & Die Making – An Overview
A tool, in the manufacturing sense, is an object that is used to make other objects. A tool can be as simple as a hammer or as complex as a computer-controlled industrial robot. Tools are usually labor-saving devices; they reduce the amount of work by humans required to make something. However, they are often very costly, requiring you to invest money up front rather than just paying for labor as you go. Tools are essential in manufacturing because this investment mostly pays off. A good tool can help produce higher quality parts at a faster pace for less money, and the cost of the tool can become very small when spread out over all the parts the tool will make in its lifetime. The choice of whether to buy a tool is a business decision based on many factors, but a well-chosen tool can increase profits enormously.
A die is a type of tool that is made from steel and used to force raw materials into a particular shape — many processes for shaping metal and plastic center around some kind of die. A lot of processing machinery is often just a sturdy frame that holds and moves the material and a die.
Jigs and fixtures are specialized tools that aid in manufacturing processes. Jigs are very simple devices to make repeated actions faster and easier. For instance, a carpenter building a wall might cut a piece of wood exactly the same length as the space between studs, then just hold it between one stud and the next, instead of carefully reading the measuring tape every time. And since the board won’t change length, it’s hard for the carpenter to make a measuring mistake. This board is an example of a jig for manufacturing walls. A fixture is a device for holding a part while something it is going through a manufacturing process. Since many processes put a lot of force on a part, proper fixturing is important to keep the part from moving or breaking. For many simple parts, a shop will have stock fixtures that do the job, such as vices. But for complex parts, a specially made fixture is often required.
Tool and Die Processes Supported
Jigs & Fixtures
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