die, any of various devices used for drawing wire, and for blanking, bending, cutting, machine forging, and embossing. Dies used for striking, or stamping, coins and medals are cut in intaglio, one for the front, another for the back, of the coin. Such dies were used as early as c.800 B.C. in Greece. Diemaking, or diesinking, formerly entirely a hand process in which the graver (a cutting tool), riffler (a file), and chisel were employed, has been accelerated in modern times by the use of diemaking machines supplemented by hand finishing. A punch, or male die, is commonly made as the counterpart in relief of the original die, or matrix; both are preserved as models, and duplicates are made from them for working dies. Sheet metal or other material is blanked (cut) out, shaped, or embossed between the dies by power-operated levers or drop hammers, or by die-casting. The die used for drawing wire or extruding rods is made of hard metal with a hole or a series of progressively smaller holes through which the metal is forced. For making screws or threading pipe a hollow hard metal die with internal threading is used.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.