Website Updated on November 10, 2016

Die Cast Tooling
(Visit our Glossary of Die Cast Tool Industry Terms)

What is die cast tooling?

Die cast tooling, also referred to as insert dies, die casting dies, or die casting molds, is available in many varieties and styles. These varying forms include die cast tooling inserts, prototype die cast tooling inserts, unit die tooling, complete class "A" die cast die, die cast family mold tooling, and trim dies for die cast parts.

Die cast tooling is available in single cavities (one part for each cycle) or multiple cavities (more than one part for each cycle).

Die Cast Tool has several die casting mold bases available for insert tools. If your company only has die casting inserts, we can mount your die casting inserts into one of our die casting tooling holders to make your parts. 

At Die Cast Tool, our in-house die cast tooling capabilities include the following:

  • Die casting dies.
  • Die casting molds.
  • Die casting inserts.
  • Die cast tooling modifications.
  • Die cast tooling repairs.
  • Die cast tooling and trim die manufacture.

The cost of die cast tooling varies depending on the style, inserts, and size.


What are Die Casting Tooling Inserts?

Die cast tooling inserts are the least expensive form of die cast tooling. These high pressure die cast tooling inserts use just enough steel to produce the cavities and a little extra to accommodate the temperature fluctuations of the molten metal injecting under force. These inserts require heat treatment to the proper hardness to extend tooling life, as you do not want the cavity inserts to be too hard or too soft—either way will cause damage. At Die Cast Tool, we have the knowledge and skill to use the right amount of material in order to extend the life of the die cast die inserts.

Inserts need to be mounted into a holder that will allow the metal to inject into the insert, provide a pathway for the metal to go in, and to let the gasses escape. These holders are called by names such as "unit die", "mold base", or "family die." At Die Cast Tool, we can mount your inserts into one of our many holders to produce the right  aluminum die castings for you.

What are Prototype Die Casting Tooling Inserts?

Prototype die casting tooling inserts are the same as the die casting tooling inserts, except the tool is made of a lower grade of steel and is not heat treated. Depending on the size and weight of the die cast parts, this tool will make a few thousand parts.

As the name suggests, the prototype tool insert is used to test a design and, as it takes less time to produce, is less expensive. However, it can be more easily damaged and cannot be modified as easily as a hardened steel insert.


What is Unit Die Tooling?
Unit die tooling is usually larger than die cast tooling inserts and typically smaller than a complete mold. Unit dies will set into a die casting machine faster and more easily than any other form of tooling. Size and weight are the biggest limitations as to whether a unit die tool is appropriate for your die cast part or not.

What is a Class "A" Tool?
Typically the cavities of a "Class 'A' Tool" will last for at least 100,000 parts in aluminum die casting if the tool is well maintained. Die Cast Tool uses high quality materials in order to extend the life to sometimes more than 100,000 aluminum die cast parts. In order for you to get the most life out of your die cast cavities, we will also provide maintenance to your existing die cast tooling.


What are the advantages of Complete Die Cast Tooling?

Complete die cast (Class "A") tooling is the easiest way to get more than 100,000 parts from the life of the mold or die cast die tool. Complete die cast tooling will fit directly into a die casting machine without the need for a separate mold base, die or insert holder, or master holder. It takes more time than unit die tooling to set this type of die into a die casting machine, but this type of die will generally produce better quality parts and get more die life.

Complete die cast die or die cast molds will also be more likely to have waterlines in order to speed up the cycle time of production, which will save the customer money. Complete die cast dies are also easier to maintain and store than other forms of die cast tooling.

What is Die Casting Family Mold Tooling?

Family die cast mold tooling is a way to save money on multiple part types. Family die cast mold tooling consists of a complete die cast mold or die with a few or many different cavity die inserts that run either as a single part each cycle or as multiple parts each cycle, depending on need. People tend to steer clear of die casting family mold tooling since the family die cast mold tool needs to be removed from the die casting machine completely in order to change cavity inserts for the next part. This causes downtime and, consequently, costs the customer more money.

Sometimes the family die cast mold tool will have multiple cavities of different sized parts, which can sometimes cause problems if the tool is not properly produced. The quality of parts from a family die cast mold tool varies with the complexity of the parts. With multiple cavities of varying part types, it can be difficult to balance the part quantities in sets.

What are Trim Dies for Die Casting Parts?

Die casting trim dies can save a customer up to 15% off the part price by speeding up the production process. Die casting trim dies cut or shear excess aluminum from die cast parts. The trim die sits or is mounted into a trim press that hydraulically forces the two halves of the trim die together with several tons of pressure. Trim dies have a life expectancy equal to or greater than die cast dies and are cost-effective if the production quantity of your die cast parts is greater than a few thousand parts.

Common Die Cast Tooling Terms:

What is a Draft? This is the perpendicular angle in the parting plane that allows the die cast parts to eject properly.

What are Ejector Pins? These are required for pushing the die cast part out of the mold.

What are Interchangeable Cores? These are used for making different sized holes in the die cast parts.

What are Overflows? These are used to regulate the temperature in the die cast dies.

What are Slides? These are used to accommodate undercuts in a die cast part.

What is Trim Die? This is used to cut out the excess aluminum around die castings.

What are Vents? These allow the gasses to escape from the die cast die.

What are Waterlines?  These are used to increase production cycles.


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Die Cast Tool |Toledo, Ohio | 419-874-1211 | 866-577-5592 | 419-874-8270 fax