Die Cast vs Die Struck Molds

Beautiful lapel pins interest collectors. They may become highly prized pieces of personal jewelry. Today, these items occur in a dizzying array of customized shapes and materials. Have you wondered about differences between die cast and die struck products? Both manufacturing methods offer advantages and disadvantages.

Die Casting Lapel Pins

The process of casting originated centuries ago. In the simplest form, an artisan created a mold and filled the interior with molten metal. As the hot liquid gradually cooled, it assumed the same dimensions as the mold cavity and gradually solidified into a new solid shape. Today, a variety of inexpensive (and expensive) materials comprise permanent or temporary molds for casting purposes.

Die casting represents a modern, mass production approach to the traditional casting process. A manufacturer forces hot, molten material (plastic or metal) under pressure into a lubricated mold cavity formed by the union of at least two hollowed, specially tooled customized steel "dies" which join together. In a factory setting, this process may occur in an automated assembly line. The dies typically contain a gating system of channels allowing molten material to enter the die cavities at several points so they fill uniformly. 

The molten material remains under pressure until it hardens into a solid shape. The mold then opens and ejector pins release the castings and their attached gating system remnants. The manufacturer during the final stage of the manufacturing process will remove the unwanted excess material from the product for recycling. This process creates finely finished, comparatively inexpensive, die cast lapel pins. Mass producing lapel pins in this way offsets the high cost of creating permanent custom metal dies. Although the dies will eventually wear out, they allow multiple recasting.

The Pros And Cons of Die Casting

Modern die casting generates many finely detailed, intricately shaped lapel pins. The use of pressure to fill the dies with molten material facilitates the production of high volumes of identical pins. With any casting process, some individual castings remain unsuitable for use because air bubbles become trapped inside the molten material and leave defects on the surface when they escape. However, manufacturers can usually recycle pins which fail to meet quality control standards.

The creation of custom lapel pins through die casting requires the careful tooling of detailed steel dies for use in the casting process. This step contributes to the expense involved. However, the ability to create large numbers of pins using this production method may offset these costs; purchasing pins in volume often becomes very cost-effective when customers select die casting manufacturing methods.

Additionally, manufacturers sometimes must perform additional processing called "finishing" to complete each pin. This may involve grinding away excess material which hardened in the gating system by hand. Removing this material helps create a smooth, pleasing surface. Often after casting, pins undergo additional surface treatments to help add colors or glossy polishes to multi-colored parts.

Die Struck Lapel Pins

Centuries ago, blacksmiths sometimes used a forge and heavy tools to physically shape and bend heated metal items. For example, by periodically reheating and hammering the material, craftsmen could form metal into a variety of useful forms, such as horseshoes, knives and plates. The process of creating a die struck lapel pin analogizes closely with this ancient form of manufacturing.

Since lapel pins usually represent a comparatively lightweight, thin item, manufacturers usually create these products today using a machine called an "automated stamping press". It shapes and stamps metal or plastic with the assistance of one or more customized dies. Instead of filling a hollowed die cavity under pressure, the manufacturer relies instead upon dies positioned within the stamping press (or a series of stamping presses on an assembly line) to physically change the shape of the work piece, transforming it into a finely detailed finished product. 

Today, automation permits the production of large runs of die struck lapel pins. The customized stamping dies will eventually wear out, too. However, they may generate a high volume of uniformly shaped pins comparatively rapidly.

The Pros And Cons of Die Struck Lapel Pins

The use of a stamping press to manufacture custom lapel pins does require careful individual attention to the creation of specific pin designs. The manufacturer must decide upon the correct order of the use of different individual dies to cut, bend and stamp out the final product as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. Today, many stamping machines utilize computer-assisted drafting software programs to perform this complex process. 

Just as with die casting, completing surface treatments during the finishing stage permits the creation of multi-colored, finely polished pins. Some pins with options such as moving parts require assembly after die stamping. Highly automated modern die stamping technology helps keep the cost of producing large volumes of die struck lapel pins reasonable, however.

One advantage of using die struck lapel pins involves the absence of air bubbles trapped inside the material. Stamping during manufacturing actually helps harden metal pins, for instance. However, stamping usually works best on lightweight pins which won't require extensive re-shaping. 

Die Casting or Die Struck?

Whether to use die casting or die struck manufacturing methods ultimately rests with the best judgement of the person placing an order for customized lapel pins. Manufacturers employ quality control inspections to ensure allpins meet the customer's specifications. The size and weight of a pin and its constituent materials, plus any extra options, may all enter into pricing considerations. 

In the past, both manufacturing methods have created some exceedingly beautiful lapel pins. Many clubs, youth organization, charities and sports teams order lapel pins in high volumes to assist with their fundraising efforts. These items can offer a very cost-effective way to promote an organization's activities and name recognition, while also furnishing supporters with a treasured collectible jewelry accessory.