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Author Archives: Keith Gresiak

  1. Tool and Die Design

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    Designing tools and dies is a crucial process in the manufacturing industry that involves engineering solutions for stamping, forming, and assembling products. It impacts the quality, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of producing parts and components. For instance, a well-designed tool and die can significantly enhance production capabilities, reduce lead times, and ensure consistent part quality.

    Tool and die designs must follow certain guidelines for efficient and high-quality production. Thus, understanding the main rules and principles is essential for all the various stakeholders involved in the manufacturing process. This includes designers, engineers, manufacturers, and quality control professionals.

    Here are 10 key rules in tool and die design:

    Rule 1: Understand Product Requirements

    The first step includes understanding the product specifications, intended use, performance expectations, and any specific manufacturing processes involved. If this is not met, then the design will not matter because the part will fail.

    Rule 2: Ensure Compatibility With Manufacturing Processes

    The part design should be optimized for the specific manufacturing processes, ensuring it can be produced without causing unnecessary delays or complications. This means features like cutouts or embosses need to be moved away from the bend lines and features are no smaller than one material thickness.

    Rule 3: Select Suitable Materials

    Features on the part must be compatible with the type of material. For example, aluminum is easily punched but not easily stretched or strained. This must be taken into consideration when engineering the tooling otherwise the sheet metal parts will be susceptible to breakage.

    Rule 4: Maintain Precision and Tolerance

    The tolerances and dimensions of a customer drawing will have a big impact on the design considerations of a tool. For example, if a cutout has a high precision call out with very low tolerance but is next to an emboss feature the order of operations will matter because the cutout could be distorted during forming.

    Rule 5: Incorporate Die Protection and Safety

    Die protection and operator safety are two of the most important aspects of tool and die design. By incorporating die protection sensors, it cuts down on the cost of tool repair and downtime in production. It also protects the operators from debris from any potential mishaps with the tooling.

    Rule 6: Design for Manufacturability

    Designing for manufacturability is an incredibly important aspect to consider when designing a new tool. A tool must be easy to assemble and take apart and maintain. This keeps downtime and sharpening costs low. Therefore, designing a tool with components that are easy to access is a must.

    Rule 7: Optimize Tool and Die Geometry

    Optimizing space to make as compact a tool as possible saves on costs for tool steel as well as saves on long term material costs for progressive dies. This means manipulating parts in space to nest them as close together as possible in a tool for maximum cost efficiency. Of course, this is all done within reason because the closer stations are together the thinner (weaker) the die walls become.

    Rule 8: Part Ejection and Scrap

    The removal of material and ejection of finished parts are an important part of any tool and die design. Good die design keeps parts and scrap separate as they are removed from the tool as well as away from any moving pieces or areas they could get stuck or smashed. This allows for the operator to focus on other areas of the tool as it is running.

    Rule 9: Maintain Proper Clearances

    It is always important to have the correct clearances throughout the entire tool and die design to maintain functionality and accuracy. If we do not maintain the proper punch and die clearances, we will struggle with burrs and sharp edges. We need to keep the proper forming clearances so that we do not over or under bend the material. We also need to maintain the proper clearances so that all the inserts and locating pins will operate properly in the tool.

    Rule 10: Conduct Simulation and Testing

    Through virtual simulations or physical prototypes, potential issues can be identified, and necessary adjustments made to optimize performance during production. Doing this helps prevent costly and time-consuming problems down the line.

    Verdugo Tool and Engineering Co.: Expert Tool and Die Design for Quality Fabrication!

    With a rich history spanning over 60 years, Verdugo Tool and Engineering Co. have been a reliable partner for top-quality metal fabrication solutions. From expert tool and die design to precise metal stamping and value-added services, our experienced team is dedicated to delivering outstanding results.

    Contact us now to discuss your project requirements or request a quote to discover how our commitment to excellence can benefit your business!

  2. What Are Progressive Dies?

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    Efficiency and precision are critical elements of modern manufacturing, and progressive dies represent a key tool for achieving both. These tools make it possible to produce complex sheet metal components quickly and with remarkable accuracy. In addition, their advantageous properties make them an essential part of many industrial processes.

    This article will discuss everything you need to know about progressive dies. These include how they work, their benefits, and strategies for designing them.

    How Progressive Dies Work

    Progressive dies use a series of cutting and forming stations to convert sheet metal into finished parts. The die — which is a custom-designed series of hardened metal blocks — is mounted onto a punch press that can apply an immense amount of force. The die consists of several stages of cuts, punches, and other operations that shape and form the metal sheet as it passes through the press.

    The die consists of multiple stages that perform these operations, with each step creating a particular feature of the finished part. For example, the first stage may pierce the metal sheet to make holes for screws or fasteners. The second stage may blank the metal sheet to create the general shape of the part. The subsequent steps will bend or shape the sheet to create more complex features.

    Each die stage is carefully designed to ensure the sheet is transformed into the desired shape with the utmost precision and accuracy. The result is a precisely manufactured component that meets the exact specifications of the design. It also has a consistent quality and accuracy from one part to the next.

    Benefits of Progressive Dies

    Progressive dies offer numerous advantages over traditional metalworking techniques, making them popular for manufacturers across various industries. The following are four of the most significant benefits of this fabrication approach:


    Progressive dies are generally made to be automated, producing parts much more quickly than conventional techniques. Additionally, the die contains multiple stages, each performing a unique operation on the metal as it moves through the press. As a result, a single press cycle can create multiple parts simultaneously, significantly reducing the time required to handle large production runs.


    Progressive dies are made using thick die plates and high precision bushings and pins to ensure proper and consistent operation of the tool. Using computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software to design and produce progressive dies further increases precision. They allow for the creation of highly detailed and accurate designs, which are translated directly into the machining instructions. This results in finished parts that match the original design with exceptional accuracy.


    Progressive dies can be designed and customized to create a wide variety of metal parts with different shapes, sizes, and levels of complexity. This makes them a valuable tool for manufacturers who need to produce a diverse range of metal components. Moreover, each stage can be easily replaced or modified to accommodate changes in the design or specifications of the finished part.


    Although the initial investment in tooling and equipment can be higher in progressive dies than in other techniques, the long-term cost savings can be significant. This is primarily due to the long-term savings in piece price due to the reduced amount of manual labor to produce parts.

    Design Strategies for Progressive Dies

    Designing progressive dies is a complex process that involves several stages, from initial concept design to final production. One of the most critical aspects of designing progressive dies is the development of a detailed and precise die layout. This involves breaking down the production process into individual stages and determining each die component’s proper shape and size.

    Another critical consideration in the design is the use of advanced materials and manufacturing techniques. For example, precision machining techniques such as wire EDM and CNC milling can be used to create components with the highest possible levels of accuracy and consistency. To further enhance the efficiency of the design process, many designers now use CAD software to create 3D models of the die.

    Partner With Verdugo Tool and Engineering Co. for High-Quality Metal Fabrication Services

    Verdugo Tool and Engineering Co. has been a trusted provider of top-quality metal fabrication solutions since 1957! We also offer a range of capabilities, including tool and die design, metal stamping, and value-added services. Our skilled engineers, tool makers, and press operators work together to ensure your parts are produced with exceptional precision and speed.

    Contact us today to learn more about our services or to request a quote for your project!

  3. Tight-Tolerance Metal Laser Cutting

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    Precision is essential in nearly every industry, particularly ones that rely heavily on accuracy and repeatability like aerospace, defense, medical, and electronics. As companies push for more performance and reliability, it puts an even greater emphasis on the need for tight-tolerance metal laser cutting. Because of this, we have seen an increased demand on high-quality components with never seen before precision.
    In this article, we will explore how to hold tight tolerances while laser cutting sheet metal. We will also look at the factors to consider when determining then whether a metal part is suitable for tight tolerance laser cutting.

    How Do Laser Cutters Work?

    Laser cutters use a high-powered laser beam to cut through various metals. They also utilize computer numerical control (CNC) mechanisms that steer and guide the beam to cut the metal into a particular shape or design.
    The first step in using laser technology for manufacturing sheet metal parts is to design the piece with computer-aided design (CAD) software. Once the part is designed it is then loaded into computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) software that will determine the optimal toolpath as well as intensity and assist gas settings. The CAM software will then compile all the information into G-code for the laser to read.
    The next step involves focusing the laser beam on the metal surface through a lens. This enables precise melting or vaporization of the metal and generates a clean and accurate cut with minimal finishing. Once the cutting process is done, the cut part is detached from the metal sheet or plate. Lastly, additional finishing may be needed, depending on the intricacy of the design.

    Key Considerations When Cutting a Metal Part

    Various factors must be considered when evaluating a part’s suitability for this cutting technology. The following are four key considerations:


    Laser cutting has low startup costs and can be quickly adjusted based on customer requirements which makes it ideal for prototyping and small-scale production. However, it may be less economical for large-scale production runs than other techniques like stamping. This is due to the slower run rates compared to stamping, which in the long run is more cost saving than the initial tooling investment.

    Material and Thickness

    The utilization of laser technology is an excellent choice for cutting a wide range of metals, such as brass, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum. However, it is important to note the thickness of the material being cut. Most cutters can handle materials up to 0.500 thick of mild steel, 0.250. Thicker gauges require more power and time for cutting, resulting in higher costs.

    Size and Shape

    The geometry of the part is an important factor to consider when laser cutting sheet metal parts. Features on the part should be bigger than the thickness of the material, especially for thicker material. Additionally, ideal parts for laser cutting don’t contain sharp radii or jagged edges.
    Other than those two limitations, laser cutters are great at cutting any kind of part geometry imaginable. Things like splines, polylines, and French curves are all well within the realm of possibility for laser cutters.

    Internal Features

    Laser cutting is a precise method for creating parts with intricate internal features like holes, cutouts, and slots. Although laser cutting is perfectly suited for a large number of highly detailed features, it is important to note that the laser does need to lead into its cuts in order to avoid splatter. This effectively limits the size of internal features to features bigger than roughly 1/16 of an inch. Anything smaller than that and it starts to degrade in accuracy and performance. Outside of the smallest of features the process is incredibly accurate, highly repeatable, and ensures consistency in producing parts.

    Metal Stamping vs. Metal Laser Cutting

    Metal stamping and laser cutting are two inherently different processes to create flat sheet metal parts. They both are equally viable but have different strengths and weaknesses so care must be taken in deciding how to manufacture parts.
    Metal stamping employs a die and punch tool in a stamping press to shear the sheet metal to the right shape and size. The only limitation to manufacturing rates is the cycle rate of the machine. The downside is the investment in tooling and the inability to make changes to the design. This makes it a more attractive option for larger orders where the part is already fully engineered and developed.
    In contrast, laser cutting machines cut metal by melting. They need to trace out the profile of the part one feature at a time making them much slower than stamped parts. Fortunately, there is very little initial investment, and the design can be changed as much as the client needs. This lends itself to prototypes or one-off jobs that need to be turned around quickly and efficiently.

    Choose Verdugo Tool and Engineering Co. for Premium Metal Fabrication Solutions

    Since 1957, Verdugo Tool and Engineering Co. has delivered high-quality metal fabrication solutions! These include tool and die design, metal stamping, and other value-added services. Our skilled engineers, tool makers, and press operators ensure that the parts are delivered promptly and meet industry standards.
    Contact us  today to learn more about our services! You can also request a quote

    to start your project with us

COVID-19 Notice:

As an essential business defined by the State of California, Verdugo Tool & Engineering remains as committed to our clients as ever. We are still open and operating to serve our community but are taking careful measures to ensure the safety of our team as well as our clients. We understand these are difficult times so please don’t hesitate to reach out. Thank you.