How It’s Made – Part 1: Hydraulic punch presses and steel rule dies

At Dooley Gasket we use a variety of fabrication methods to make your parts. The reason we have several types of equipment all for the same purpose of cutting flat gaskets depends on the machine capabilities, material properties, and order requirements. Below you’ll find a quick overview of the equipment we use to cut your parts.

Hydraulic punch presses and steel rule dies

This is how gaskets have been made for the past 100 years. It still is the simplest most cost effective solution to cutting sheet and rolled material in large quantities.

A steel rule die is simply a long steel blade that is bent into a desired shape – Exactly like a cookie cutter, just with sharper edges.

To make the part the steel rule die is placed on top of piece of material and a press pushes the die through the material.

This simple process is how gaskets and many other flat parts are cut from sheets or rolls of materials. It is simple, low maintenance, and cost effective.

The limitations in steel rule dies are:

  • Size – parts can’t be too big or too small (generally about 1 inch length to 24in)
  • Material – Steel rule can only cut soft materials
  • Lead time – It takes few days to get a template made

However, in the past few years steel rule dies are becoming less common as equipment is now available which can make parts without the need for first making tooling.