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I remember distinctly my first knowledge about building a die which had been designed to aluminium die casting right into a deep, contoured shape. Not knowing much about aluminum, I assumed that it must be extremely formable-in fact, they 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 needs to stretch a lot because it’s really soft.”

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

I believe I lost a large percentage of my hair making that job work. I have to have spent weeks fighting splits and wrinkles. It wasn’t prior to I came to the actual final outcome that drawing and stretching aluminum were not as basic as I needed thought.

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Since I am just a little wiser with regards to the formability of aluminum and aluminum alloys, I realize that my problem really was not the fault of the aluminum, but instead the point that during the die tryout stages, I used to be thinking like steel rather than aluminum. Up until then, everything that I would have done to correct the issue by using a die which was forming steel, I have done with the aluminum. Needless to say, I failed.

The fact 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 performs this make aluminum challenging to form? No, not if you believe like aluminum.

Aluminum is not necessarily a bad metal; it’s just a different metal. Like any metal, it provides benefits and drawbacks, and the key is to learn the material’s behavior before designing a part or creating the method and die which are to produce it.


When you are comparing aluminum to deep-drawing steel, generally you will notice that aluminum lacks near to the elongation ability of steel. As an example, typical deep-drawing steel has elongation somewhere around 45 percent, while a 3003-O temper, meaning “dead soft,” aluminum may have elongation near 30 percent.

Generally speaking and dependant upon the alloy, aluminum has poor stretch distribution characteristics in comparison to deep-drawing steel. It is regarded as a material that strains locally, which means most of the stretch that occurs when the metal is put through a stretching operation will take place in a tiny, localized area.

However, take into account that the forming punch geometry has a greater impact on just how the metal stretches in comparison to the metal itself. Stamped parts to be created from aluminum needs to be designed to ensure the part shape forces the metal to distribute stretch more evenly.

Aluminum ironing process

Figure 2Generally speaking, aluminum is a great material when ironing can be used. During ironing, the metal is squeezed down a vertical wall to boost the surface area while lowering the metal’s thickness. Ironing may be the basic process used to make beverage cans.

Parts requiring quite a lot of stretch in a tiny area with small male radii are doomed to fail if designed of aluminum, particularly if the final geometry will be made in a single forming operation. In contrast, large, liberal radii and flowing, gentle geometries work best-best for aluminum.


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

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

Tooling Interface

Although aluminum is soft, it may still be abrasive. Though it does not rust conventionally, it forms a white powdery substance called aluminum oxide, that is utilized to make 10dexppky wheels. This means exactly the same abrasive that you have been using to grind your tool steel die sections can be present on the aluminum sheet surface.

It is possible to prevent this poor interface by utilizing high-pressure barrier lubricants, which keep the aluminum from touching the tool steel sections during forming and cutting.

Generally, aluminum is an excellent material when ironing works extremely well. During ironing, the metal is squeezed down a vertical wall to improve the top area while lowering the metal’s thickness. It improves the metal sheet’s area by squeezing the metal as an alternative to exposing it to tension. Ironing is definitely the basic process accustomed to make beverage cans (seeFigure 2).

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

Aluminum has more springback than soft draw-quality steel. However, the amount of springback that develops could be controlled by designing the stamped product with respect to the springback value.