Stamping is a manufacturing process that produces repeatable parts out of sheet workpieces in large volumes.
Copper stamping is a metal forming or cutting process that makes parts out of copper sheets through techniques like punching, blanking, coining, bending, etc., using tools like die punches that apply a guided mechanical force to deform and shape the workpiece into planned parts.
This article discusses the process of copper stamping, common stamping operations adopted, and types of copper metals you can stamp.
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Copper Stamping: How Does it Work
Copper stamping, also known as sheet pressing, is a copper machining process in which sheet workpieces are cut or formed to take the shape of a part.
It is similar to die punches, but stamping is used for producing imprints on a large-scale workpiece, whereas die punches are ideal for smaller workpieces.
It is a versatile manufacturing process used to produce accurate and repeatable parts, facilitating manufacturing in huge volumes at low cost.
In stamping jobs, specially designed tools or dies are placed on the ram, which exerts pressure on the billets or sheet metals to deform and take up the shape of the die pocket.
Copper is ductile and malleable, making it an ideal metal for stamping.
You can also use stamping to produce certain parts faster than other manufacturing techniques.
For example, parts like cans, lids, embossed panels, roller bearings, etc., can be easily made using the stamping technique.
Copper comes under the four most commonly used materials in stamping. Others include aluminum, steel, and brass.
You can stamp copper in its original form and combine it with other alloying metals.
Copper offers a wide range of desirable mechanical and electrical properties, making it ideal for many applications.
The Copper Stamping Process
Generally, copper is stamped using one of these techniques-progressive stamping, transfer die stamping, or fourslide stamping.
It involves using an electrical stamping machine to progressively shape the copper workpiece into the desired form.
In progressive stamping, the copper sheet is placed on a conveyor belt, which passes through a series of tooling presses arranged sequentially.
The part is kept intact to the base metal and is only sheared or cut off at the end of a series of operations.
It has tools arranged in sequential order, each performing different operations like bending, lancing, or punching.
Once the press undergoes a simultaneous downward stroke, the conveyor belt moves the sheet to the next station for further processing.
The part undergoes various forming jobs as it gradually progresses through each station.
You can use the progressive stamping technique to make copper brackets, frames, cans, caliper plates, etc.
Transfer Die Stamping
In transfer die stamping, the part is separated from the copper sheet and transferred from one station to another. Each station houses dies of different shapes.
This technique facilitates each press to alter its pressure force without affecting the parallel parts.
Transfer dies stamping is widely used to make large parts, especially while performing deep drawings.
You can use the transfer die stamping technique to make copper shells, tubes, frames, etc.
Fourslide stamping, also known as multi-slide stamping, has multiple rams arranged horizontally.
This unique way of arranging rams allows the machine to facilitate different stamping processes simultaneously.
You can easily make complex parts with bends at an angle greater than 90 degrees using the fourslide stamping technique.
Compared with the traditional techniques, this method is faster, more economical, and above all, lowers material wastage.
You can use the fourslide stamping technique to make copper clips, HVAC parts, jaws, fasteners, etc.
Common Copper Stamping Operations
Copper stamping involves forming and cutting operations like bending, punching, coining, embossing, blanking, etc.
The following table lists the most common operations.
|Punching||Creates holes in the workpiece||Cutting|
|Blanking||Part is cut out from the workpiece||Cutting|
|Lancing||Makes partially cut portions that are not separated from the workpiece||Cutting|
|Bending||The workpiece is bent in angles||Forming|
|Coining||An improved bending operation that prevents spring-back action||Forming|
|Metal Drawing||Forming a hollow structure with smooth ends||Forming|
|Embossing||Creates elevated surfaces on the workpiece||Forming|
Punching/piercing is a metal shearing process in which the tool stamps against the blank and creates holes or recesses on the workpiece.
It is a single-stroke process, and it ejects the sheared-off parts.
Blanking is a metal cutting process in which the part is cut out of the raw material. The sheared-off portion is known as blank.
The difference between piercing and blanking is that in piercing, the holes are made on the workpiece, and the cut-out materials are scrap, while in blanking, the cut-out pieces are the required workpiece, and the material left on the blank is scrap.
Lancing is when a portion of the raw material is partially cut but not entirely separated from the stock.
Bending is a forming operation in which the base metal is bent into different angles or shapes like L, U, or V.
The downward movement of the forming press forces the metal to bent against the die on which it rests.
While performing bending, you must consider using additional material for a smooth operation.
Coining is a bending technique in which the applied force is more significant than the bending process.
This technique produces more accurate parts and avoids the chances of spring-back action.
Metal drawing is a metal-forming operation in which the base material is clamped against a die, and a drawing punch is forced against it to form a deep hollow object.
This method is also known as deep drawing, when the depth of the drawn part exceeds its diameter.
It is the best option to create cost-effective hollow symmetrical parts.
Embossing is a process of forming raised surfaces on the raw material. This process is usually adopted to produce decorative pieces or texts.
Different types of copper used on metal stamping projects
|Copper and its Alloys||Features||Applications|
|Copper||Good electrical conductivity, ductility, malleability, and corrosive resistance.||Busbars, connectors, Terminals, marine applications|
|Brass||Good strength and wear resistance.|
More malleable than bronze.
|Pipe connectors, hinges, valves, and fasteners|
|Bronze||Low frictional resistance, less brittle, and is ductile||Aerospace and electronics industry|
|Nickel silver||Malleable, ductile, and has good corrosion resistance||Fasteners, marine applications, pressure sensors|
Copper is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal. It possesses good thermal and electrical conductivity, suitable for making parts for electrical components, like cables, transformers, etc.
Brass is an alloy of copper made by adding zinc. It is soft and malleable and can be easily stamped.
It also exhibits good corrosive resistance even in extreme environmental conditions like seawater.
Some common brass stamped parts are window and door fittings, terminals, busbars, and connectors.
Bronze is an alloy obtained by adding tin and small amounts of phosphorous, aluminum, and manganese to copper.
It exhibits better hardness and strength than pure copper.
Bronze can also withstand high temperatures and has good corrosive wear resistance.
Some bronze-stamped parts include relay components, lead frames, switch elements, and electronic connectors.
Nickel silver is an alloy of copper obtained by adding nickel and zinc to copper. Though it appears silver in color, it does not carry any traces of silver in it.
Its mechanical properties, like ductility and corrosive resistance, make nickel silver a suitable metal for stamping.
Nickel silver is widely used to make architectural metalworks, marine equipment, and pipe fittings.
Stamped nickel-silver parts are used in ignition systems, fasteners, sensors, and safety devices.
Unfortunately, nickel silver tarnishes slowly under the action of sulfur in the air.
Advantages of Copper Stamping
High material utilization
With proper tooling design, many parts can be formed from a given area of base metal, minimizing material wastage.
Higher production rate
Compared to other manufacturing techniques, copper stamping produces parts in larger volumes faster.
High repeatability and precision
Die punches employed in stamping jobs ensure dimensionally accurate parts in each operation instance.
In addition, automated controls guarantee the production of similar parts.
Stamping systems reduces labor and maintenance costs as you can operate them hands-free with low downtime.
Applications of Copper Stamped Parts
Copper stampings have found their place in various industries like decoration, electronics, medicine, aerospace, etc.
Electronics and electrical industries use copper-stamped parts as they are precise and have good electrical conductivity.
Architectural and aerospace industries adopt copper stampings as they easily bend or shear into patterns and designs.
Solar heat collectors, air conditioning components, and hydraulic vessels require small-sized parts that can conduct heat efficiently. In such situations, you can use copper-stamped parts.
Copper Stamping Services
Customized copper-stamped parts render satisfactory and accurate results when professionals handle them.
It is recommended to look for services equipped with a wide range of machinery. This way, you will be able to get tailored solutions.
Some of the popular copper stamping services in the US are listed below.
Copper is a highly durable and malleable metal. This makes it an ideal pick for stamping jobs.
Stamping can be performed using different techniques and operations, providing flexibility in making various parts.
You can stamp copper using manual die punches or punching machines. Working with a punching machine is the best option if you want to make multiple similar-looking parts in less time.
If you only want to stamp less number of copper parts, working with a manual punching press is the most affordable option, but it takes more time and effort.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the major limitation of copper stamping?
The major limitation in performing copper stamping is in procuring suitable dies. Dies are relatively expensive and involve high investment costs like setting up the machinery, including tooling.
Can copper be hand stamped?
Yes, copper can be hand-stamped using die punches, hammers, metal tags, letter punches, etc. Copper is a soft metal, and you can easily hand stamp them. Starting with flat blanks would be a good choice if you are a beginner.
Is stamping affordable?
Yes, stamping is an affordable technique when compared to other manufacturing techniques. It can also produce parts in large volumes in less time.