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Custom Die Set FAQs

Custom Die Set F.A.Q’s

What is the largest size die set you can make? We can make a die set up to 6 inches inner diameter but please be aware there are many other complexities of making a die set of this size (namely regarding the weight of the die set).

Can you make a die set for larger forces? Yes, we can make a custom die set for any purpose. For hard materials we can cost with high hardness TICN (+50% cost) or make with Tungsten Carbide (200%+ cost). For corrosion resistance and using up to 250°C (482°F) we can make with 400 series Stainless steel (+100%). Rough prices are given in brackets as a guide. If you have other steels or materials – please let us know. To get a price for your custom die set please send us an email with your requirements.

Can you make a die set with extra holes for thermos-couples, heaters etc? Yes we can. Please note these in a drawing or email with the full dimensions and location.

Can you make vacuum die sets? Yes we can. Complete the custom quotation form with your requirements. 

Can you determine the force that my custom die set can take: Unfortunately no. We are happy to make your custom design and can give some advice but ultimately the way the die works will be different from our standard die sets. Things like how parallel your press plates are, how evenly the powder is loaded, how a square shape would impact the stress of the walls and corners of the die, if there are additional cut outs etc all play a part in the modelling required which would be beyond our scope for each custom die we make. You should make you own investigations and note – you can make good pellets with relatively low stresses (with respect to steel), you don’t need to push the limits.

Can you supply cold isostatic presses? If you need a higher density, a more rigid compact for further handling or better surface contact between materials then consider using cold isostatic pressing (CIP) after making your pellet. Cold Isostatic Presses are available in a lot of material science departments, available through 3rd party service companies (for larger parts) or you can buy a small CIP die which fits inside a normal hydraulic lab press - for smaller discs - this is normally a good and cost effect option. We can make these too so send us an email to if you are interested.

Can I return my custom die set? Custom die sets are only returnable if there is a defect in the manufacturing – e.g. it does not fit together (but this will be checked before it leaves us. We are happy to quote for extra parts if required. We cannot take back your custom die set to make changes as it has been heat treated. Usually if you need a design change it is often more cost effective to re-make it.

Designing a custom die set:

Wanting to design a product to suit the needs of your project? Take note of the following design considerations before starting:

  1. MATERIAL Are you needing to heat or cool your die set? Are you using than typical larger force? See our material section here to help make your choice.
  2. SHAPE If designing a square or rectangular die set please consider the additional stresses on the corners when pressing and the need for a large outer diameter to compensate for the shape.
  3. WEIGHT When designing a very large die set take into account the weight of the product and its usability.
  4. HEIGHT Please consider the height of the pellet you wanting to press and design your die set around this. Try to keep the amount of un-sheathed plunger to a minimum and consider purchasing multiple plungers at the time of ordering if you need to experiment with pressing. Consider the maximum die set height that will fit into your press.
  5. TESTING Do any stress test calculations on your design to determine the maximum load you can use when pressing.

Die Set Material Guide

D2 tool steel.  For most pellets our standard die sets will be perfect for the job. The die set is heat treated for high hardness and strength and can be used with the maximum forces on our product page. D2 tool steel is a good all-round cold die steel, with good toughness, hardness and strength on heat treatment. Therefore. tools and dies typically do not scratch, crack or chip easily

TICN (Titanium Carbonitride) Coated Steel. TiCN has a good adhesion, toughness, has a hard, smooth finish which offers improved wear and as well as a lower coefficient of friction than steel on it’s own. The coating thickness is between 1-4 micrometers and has a dark blue color. It is good if you are pressing high hardness materials such as alumina or zirconia.

400 series Stainless Steel. For a die set with great corrosion resistance and with for those heating their dies up to 250°C (482°F), this is a great choice. Stainless steel is a more expensive starting material and is is slower to machine which leads to than a slightly higher costs than our regular die sets (+100%), Our stainless die sets are heat treated for high hardness (~C58) and have extremely high strength (120,000 psi). 

52100 Steel. Easy to machine and with good strength – 52100 can be great for lowering die cost for big dies which have low load requirements.  

Tungsten Carbide. tungsten carbide offers excellent compressive strength, corrosion resistance, very high hardness and even high temperature capabilities. For most powder pressing in the lab – it would be overkill but for some applications can be great.

Please let us know if you would like a quote for you die set.

Can we make spherical pellets? Practically speaking a perfect sphere is difficult to press with uniaxial pressing. For two reasons. Firstly due to getting the amount of powder in your die perfect. Secondly, while it's possible to machine very sharp edges its not advisable due to the possibility of them coming into contact with each other under high force. Typically you would sacrifice the perfect spherical shape and have two small straight sides and two domed surfaces. The length of the two straight edges is defined by the amount of powder you use. Think about the shape of a pill. There are other methods to create spherical shapes including cold isostatic pressing (CIP) which involves higher die set costs, however is possible. Click here if you would like more info on CIPs