Custom Extrusion Dies: Creating a Custom Design That Works

custom-designWhile many manufacturers choose to stick with basic and proven standard extrusion die profiles for their aluminum extrusion design, there are some who enjoy having the ability to create their own custom extrusion dies that can be used to create truly custom aluminum extrusions. The entire process begins quite simply with the design of the die or profile. This is where the basic shape of the extrusion is formed and all of the features, assembly requirements and functions are taken into consideration.

If you have never designed your own custom extrusion dies before, the task may seem overwhelming. However, with a few basic tips on what makes for a good aluminum extrusion design and some support and advice from the design technicians at Silver City Aluminum, you’ll be ready to design your own profiles and won’t ever have to settle for using a standard extrusion die again. Once you understand how it all works and what goes into the design of custom aluminum extrusions, you’ll want to find new ways to further customize your parts and products in the future.

The Thickness of the Profile
One of the best places to start is in consideration of the thickness of the walls that will be in the final product that is produced by your custom extrusion dies. The thickness will determine the strength and the cost of the custom aluminum extrusions when they are produced. The one thing that most standard extrusion die profiles have in common is that they have a wall thickness that is uniform. That makes them very simple to produce and very cost-effective.

Custom extrusion dies that call for a variety of thicknesses may cost a little more to produce, but there are certain advantages associated with taking this approach, such as increasing the strength of a product by concentrating the thickness away from the center of gravity and moving it toward the outside of the profile. That being said, the more simple the design with soft lines, symmetrical shapes and lack of deep channels, the lower the cost. But if your product requires these unique shapes, then it is likely that custom aluminum extrusion design is the best way to go.

Creating Soft Lines
What this term means is to create corners that are rounded or “soft” compared to sharp edges. Additional fabrication may be required to create extremely sharp corners after the custom extrusion dies produce the base prior to post extrusion actions. Some designs may include very sharp angles on the inside of the profile as well. There are still some ways to get around this.

However, the more sharp tips that are included in the custom aluminum extrusions, the more uneven the finished product could potentially become. Make sure to discuss your needs and reasoning behind the design of your custom extrusion dies with a professional and experienced design technician to see if there is a better way to achieve the same results that will save you time and money in post extrusion fabrication.

Channels and Cavities
Another area of aluminum extrusion design that can add to costs and the time required to complete the custom aluminum extrusions is the use of multiple channels and cavities. Sometimes alternative methods for achieving the same desired effect can be even more beneficial and even more cost-effective.

The number of cavities and channels in a single extrusion will decrease the stability of the finished product. Deep channels or pockets can also affect the strength of the extrusion, so it is important to follow the basic rules and ratios as recommended by the design technician during your consultation.

Finishing Options
Decorative designs can also be added to your custom extrusion dies to hide any imperfections that might occur during the extrusion process or to create a unique look and feel to the finished aluminum extrusion design. Decorative additions can also make it easier to do post extrusion fabrication and details on the design before moving to the final finishing process. Sometimes the decorative patterns are solely for aesthetic reasons and have no obvious physical benefits.

In addition to customizing the look and feel of your aluminum extrusion design through the use of custom dies, you can also customize the finish. Decorative finishes, as well as protective finishes like anodizing and powder coatings, add to the look and feel of the finished product and also enhance the strength, durability and long-lasting abilities of the piece as well.

Design Your Own Custom Extrusion Dies
If you think you are ready to begin designing your own custom aluminum extrusions, contact Silver City Aluminum to find out how to get started. Our team of highly trained and experienced design technicians can help you plan your aluminum extrusion design every step of the way, offering advice, support and ideas to help you create the best-possible results. Give us a call today at 508-542-7200 or visit our website to use our online contact form to request a call from one of our technicians.