The one-piece, hinged operation of these dies makes them easy to use. There is no mounting involved, as with conventional two-piece die sets, which use a die shoe to hold the separate die parts in alignment. Pancake dies are self-contained and self-aligning. They are best used in low impact presses such as hydraulic or screw presses, and also work in high impact presses like punch presses and kick presses. Arbor presses can be adapted to work well with the cutting dies, but generally lack the force needed for most forming work, except the simplest of doming.
This is the “RT Stamping” process presented to jewelry makers by Roger Taylor in England sometime in the early Eighties. The same process was used in the Thirties and Forties in the U.S. for stamping out large aluminum wing parts for planes. Workshops including this process, but focusing on forming with the hydraulic press, are given regularly by various folks, but of course for best dies, call Sheltech!
The basic blanking dies are made from a single thin plate of tool steel. A continuous cut is made in the plate which creates a flexible internal flap. The end area of the flap is cut precisely, and in the shape of the design being duplicated, to turn the resulting parts into a self-contained, shearing punch and die – a one-piece die.
To operate the die flap is pushed open and a strip of sheet metal is slipped underneath the design area. Then the die is set in the press. The two solid plates squeeze the die closed and this shears the part out.
*Note the leftover tab on some parts. This is an artifact of the one-piece structure of this type of die. It can be minimized on many designs by careful use of stock, and eliminated on many parts that have a straight section.