When designing a new part, it’s important to remember that even the most ideal computer-aided design (CAD) drawing will ultimately face real world limitations from material selection and the metal stamping process. In order to successfully bring a design to life, it’s vital to assess all areas of design and development in order to address possible limitations.
Below are some important design considerations to ensure that the part you envision can be metal stamped to perfection:
- Design for Manufacturability (DFM): The metal stamping team should review the manufacturer’s print submission to estimate quality, tooling, engineering, and production parameters. A robust review process will outline any application-specific expectations or requirements to determine the best material and metal stamping process for the job.
- Prove Manufacturability Using Prototypes: Prototyping helps to build an idea of what the device might look like. Especially in cases when the DFM review raises concerns about manufacturability, creating a prototype under the same conditions and parameters as the real product can be an important step to proving that the design will work.
- Understand and Identify Dimensions and Tolerances: It’s important to understand the impact of critical dimensions on your part. Sometimes, CAD will default to a certain number of decimal points, which may result in tolerances that are too tight to produce at high industrial volumes. In other cases, a broader range of dimensions and tolerances will be acceptable.
- Know what material works for which process: A common misconception is that metal stamping can easily substitute for molding, casting, and other types of stamping. Depending on the complexity of the part and the material, it may or may not be possible to swap the process. Making small changes to the part design instead could have huge savings on tooling costs.
- Know material selection’s relationship with the metal stamping process: Metals come in a variety of hardnesses and thicknesses that affect the stamping process. For example, some metals will crack or spring back upon stamping. Metal stamping engineers should help the manufacturers to determine the best material for the precision stamping process or suggest alternatives.
HPL Stampings, Inc. is a custom metal stamping, sheet metal fabricating, and, most recently, laser cutting expert with over 70 years of industry experience. Through the use of our innovative, short-run metal stamping processes, we can help you move your next part through the development process from drawing to delivery in just 3 – 4 weeks.
For more information about our metal stamping process and to learn how HPL Stampings can help you with your next project, we encourage you to check out our eBook, The Pathway to Completing Your Metal Stamping in 3 – 4 Weeks.