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I recall distinctly my first knowledge of creating a die which was meant to aluminium die casting in a deep, contoured shape. Being unsure of much about aluminum, I assumed that it must be extremely formable-after all, they are beverage cans as a result, don’t they?

My first thoughts were, “This can be a cake walk. I’ll bet this stuff stretches a mile. Yep, it must stretch a great deal because it’s really soft.”

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

I think I lost a big percentage of my hair attempting to make that job work. I have to have spent weeks fighting splits and wrinkles. It wasn’t prior to I stumbled on the actual final outcome that drawing and stretching aluminum were not as simple as I needed thought.

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Given that I am a bit wiser with regards to the formability of aluminum and aluminum alloys, I realize that my problem was really not the fault from the aluminum, but alternatively the reality that through the die tryout stages, I used to be thinking like steel as an alternative to aluminum. Until then, everything that we could have done to correct the trouble using a die which had been forming steel, I did so with the aluminum. Needless to say, I failed.

The truth is that aluminum is not really steel. It doesn’t behave like steel, it doesn’t flow like steel, and it certainly doesn’t stretch like steel. So can this make aluminum difficult to form? No, not if you believe like aluminum.

Aluminum is not a bad metal; it’s simply a different metal. Like every metal, it provides advantages and disadvantages, and the trick is to know the material’s behavior before designing a part or creating the procedure and die which are to create it.


When you are comparing aluminum to deep-drawing steel, generally you will find that aluminum lacks nearby the elongation ability of steel. As an illustration, typical deep-drawing steel has elongation somewhere around 45 percent, while a 3003-O temper, meaning “dead soft,” aluminum could 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, meaning that the majority of the stretch that takes place when the metal is subjected to a stretching operation will occur in a compact, localized area.

However, understand that the forming punch geometry includes a greater influence on the way the metal stretches than the metal itself. Stamped parts to become made out of aluminum should 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 may be used. During ironing, the metal is squeezed down a vertical wall to boost the top area while decreasing 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, specifically if the final geometry will be made in one forming operation. In comparison, large, liberal radii and flowing, gentle geometries would be best-suitable for aluminum.


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

Based on the type, aluminum can draw adequately (see Figure 1). It features a good strength-to-weight ratio and it is well-designed for the deep-drawing process, along with multiple draw reductions. The reductions percentages are incredibly comparable to those often used when drawing deep-drawing steel.

Tooling Interface

Although aluminum is soft, it can nonetheless be abrasive. Even though it fails to rust conventionally, it forms a white powdery substance called aluminum oxide, which is often used to make 10dexppky wheels. That means a similar abrasive which you have been using to grind your tool steel die sections may be present on the aluminum sheet surface.

You may prevent this poor interface by using high-pressure barrier lubricants, which maintain the aluminum from touching the tool steel sections during forming and cutting.

Generally speaking, aluminum is an excellent material when ironing may be used. During ironing, the metal is squeezed down a vertical wall to boost the outer lining area while lowering the metal’s thickness. It increases the metal sheet’s surface area by squeezing the metal as opposed to exposing it to tension. Ironing will be the basic process accustomed to make beverage cans (seeFigure 2).

When aluminum is ironed, it almost compressively flows similar to a hot liquid down the wall in the die cavity and punch, plus it shines into a mirrorlike surface finish.

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