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I recall distinctly my 1st knowledge of constructing a die which had been expected to die casting manufacturer right into a deep, contoured shape. Not being totally sure much about aluminum, I assumed that it needs to be extremely formable-in the end, they can make beverage cans as a result, don’t they?

My first thoughts were, “This is a cake walk. I’ll bet this stuff stretches a mile. Yep, it has to stretch a lot because it’s really soft.”

This thought process was obviously a testimony to my ignorance regarding aluminum.

I think I lost a big portion of my hair making that job work. I have to have spent weeks fighting splits and wrinkles. It wasn’t a long time before I stumbled on the conclusion that drawing and stretching aluminum were not as elementary as I needed thought.

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Given that I am just a little wiser with respect to the formability of aluminum and aluminum alloys, I understand that my problem was really not the fault of the aluminum, but the reality that through the die tryout stages, I had been thinking like steel instead of aluminum. Up to then, everything that we might have done to correct the issue by using a die which was forming steel, I have done using the aluminum. Naturally, I failed.

The truth is that aluminum is just not steel. It doesn’t behave like steel, it doesn’t flow like steel, and yes it certainly doesn’t stretch like steel. So does this make aluminum challenging to form? No, not if you consider like aluminum.

Aluminum is not necessarily a bad metal; it’s only a different metal. Like every metal, it provides benefits and drawbacks, and the trick is to learn the material’s behavior before designing a part or creating this process and die that happen to be to make it.


If you are comparing aluminum to deep-drawing steel, generally you will see that aluminum does not have close to the elongation ability of steel. For example, typical deep-drawing steel has elongation somewhere around 45 percent, while a 3003-O temper, meaning “dead soft,” aluminum can have elongation near 30 percent.

Most of the time and dependant upon the alloy, aluminum has poor stretch distribution characteristics in comparison with deep-drawing steel. It is regarded as a material that strains locally, which means the majority of the stretch that occurs when the metal is exposed to a stretching operation will occur in a tiny, localized area.

However, take into account that the forming punch geometry includes a greater affect on just how the metal stretches compared to the metal itself. Stamped parts to get made from aluminum needs to be designed so that the part shape forces the metal to distribute stretch more evenly.

Aluminum ironing process

Figure 2Generally speaking, aluminum is a good material when ironing works extremely well. During ironing, the metal is squeezed down a vertical wall to increase the surface area while decreasing the metal’s thickness. Ironing may be the basic process utilized to make beverage cans.

Parts requiring significant amounts of stretch in a tiny area with small male radii are doomed to fail if designed of aluminum, specifically if the final geometry is usually to be made in a single forming operation. On the other hand, large, liberal radii and flowing, gentle geometries work best-best for aluminum.


First, don’t confuse drawability with stretchability. Drawability is the metal’s ability to flow plastically when exposed to tension, while stretchability may be the increase of surface area as the result of tension.

Dependant upon the type, aluminum can draw adequately (see Figure 1). It has a good strength-to-weight ratio and is well-suited to the deep-drawing process, and also multiple draw reductions. The reductions percentages are very comparable to those often used when drawing deep-drawing steel.

Tooling Interface

Although aluminum is soft, it can still be abrasive. Though it is not going to rust conventionally, it forms a white powdery substance called aluminum oxide, which is used to make 10dexppky wheels. Which means a similar abrasive which you have been using to grind your tool steel die sections might be present around the aluminum sheet surface.

You can prevent this poor interface by making use of high-pressure barrier lubricants, which keep your aluminum from touching the tool steel sections during forming and cutting.

In most cases, aluminum is an excellent material when ironing can be used. During ironing, the metal is squeezed down a vertical wall to enhance the top area while decreasing the metal’s thickness. It improves the metal sheet’s surface by squeezing the metal instead of exposing it to tension. Ironing is the basic process utilized to make beverage cans (seeFigure 2).

When aluminum is ironed, it almost compressively flows such as a hot liquid along the wall in the die cavity and punch, and it also shines to your mirrorlike surface finish.

Aluminum has more springback than soft draw-quality steel. However, the volume of springback that takes place could be controlled by designing the stamped product with regards to the springback value.