A die is a tool used in the manufacture of parts by the molding, forging, swaging or stamping processes. They are typically manufactured by mold or tool makers. It is also often used with a movable part called a tool, and both are often created by a specialized machinist craftsperson called a "Tool & Die Maker". The term die is also applied to a device for cutting male threads and a part of a device for creating wire.
A die in manufacturing is a metal block that is used for forming materials like sheet plastic and sheet metal. For the vacuum forming of plastic sheet only a single form is used, typically to form transparent plastic containers (called blister packs) for merchandise. For the forming of sheet metal, such as automobile body parts, two parts may be used, one, called the tool, performs the stretching operations, while another part, called the fixture, contains the mating die and securely clamps the edges of the workpiece to prevent wrinkles.
The workpiece may pass through several stages using different tools to obtain the final form. In the case of an automotive component there will usually be a shearing operation after the main forming is done and then additional crimping or rolling operations to ensure that all sharp edges are hidden and to add rigidity to the panel.
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