8 Basic Components All Die Making Manufacturers Must Know

A die-making machine is a precision tool that helps cut and create shapes into different types of materials. For example, creating customized business cards in a unique shape using a die-cutting machine.

Preparation of every die-cutting tool is done with basic components, such as shoes, die plates, guide pins, heel blocks, dowels, keys, etc. Every die-making manufacturer in California should know these components and their working. This article will discuss exactly that, so keep reading what these eight components mean:

Die Plates and Shoes

Die shoes, plates, and sets are aluminum or steel plates that resemble the size. This is the foundation that helps mount other working components of a die. Ideally, these components of the die machine are put inside the machine for a flat and parallel shape.

We assemble the lower and upper shoes using guide pins, which help make a die set. The lower die shoe may contain flame cut or machine-cut holes for scrap and slugs to fall below.

The thickness of this component is as per the force needed for forming and cutting the shape.

Guide Bushings and Pins

With the help of guide pins and guide brushing, the alignment of lower and upper shoes takes place. These components are precision-ground, the preparation of which lies within 0.0001 in.

Usually, one of the two types of guide bushings and pins is installed: ball bearing and friction pins.

Friction pins are smaller precision-ground pins when compared to the inside diameter of the guide bushing. As a die-making manufacturer in California, you should know these are made with hardened steel, and bushings are made with wear-resistant aluminum bronze.

Screws, Keys, and Dowels

Screws, the lower and upper die shoes ensures security . The most popular one used is the socket head cap. The utilization of these items are in the making of stamping dies. This screw made with hardened tool steel offers better holding strength and power.

Keys are rectangular blocks, the making of which requires high precision-ground steel. These are used in shoe milled pockets, which help heal and locate die components present in the shoes.

Dowels are precision-ground, hardened pins that locate the components of the die in the right location on the shoe. Dowel helps receive the healing power, but the major function is to locate the section of the die.

Heel Plates and Blocks

Heel blocks are screwed, precision-machined, welded and dowelled to lower and upper die shoes. These blocks have to wear functions and plates that help absorb thrust on the side, which leads to the its creation during cutting processes. You need these in your machine when there’s a one-directional force because one-directional force causes guide pin deflection, which leads to misalignment.

The association of heel plates with heel blocks, and the opposite shoe heel block has a heel plate attached to it. The selection of these plates is imperative. If you make opposing plates using the same metal, then there may be high heat, friction, and cold welding.


Die machine pads are plates that are flat, and these pads help to hold, strip, or control the metal at the time of forming or cutting processes. The making of these pads includes the use of different materials, such as hardened tools or low-carbon steel.

Contoured or flat pads are closely fit to the mating section of the die. Based on the precision requirements of the pad, bushings and guide pins are positioned, or the pads are left unguided.


Retainers play an important role. Retailers came are very useful when it comes to secure and hold the forming and cutting components of the lower and upper shoes. Ball-lock retainer is a popular kind that is high-precision and helps align forming and cutting punches. This type of retainer uses a spring-loaded ball bearing, which helps secure and locates punches.

With the help of ball lock retainers, a die-making manufacturer in California can ensure that the punches are removed and installed with ease and quickly. You can remove a punch by depressing the ball bearing and then pulling it up. Specialty retainers also hold and fix irregular shapes on punches.

Spools, Keepers, Shoulder Bolts

Spools, keepers, and shoulder bolts are components that help fasten pads in relevance to die shoes, and this helps smooth up and down movement. We secure these bolts to the bottom or top of the shoes using dowels and screws for precision.

spools are more common among these components that the die makers need to secure goods.


 Springs help to fold, held, or strip metals. There are different types of springs available, and selection is based on multiple factors, such as life expectancy of spring, force and travel, and cost.

When you need a reasonable force, coil springs are the best, but these are also costly. 


Every die-making manufacturer in California should know about these components in a die-cutting machine. This knowledge helps you prepare shapes without hassle. You can modify functions and adjust the machine as per different requirements.

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