Drawing (manufacturing)

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Bar drawing (diagram) Bar drawing.svg
Bar drawing (diagram)

Drawing is a metalworking process that uses tensile forces to stretch (elongate) metal, glass, or plastic. As the metal is drawn (pulled), it stretches to become thinner, to achieve a desired shape and thickness. Drawing is classified into two types: sheet metal drawing and wire, bar, and tube drawing. Sheet metal drawing is defined as plastic deformation over a curved axis. For wire, bar, and tube drawing, the starting stock is drawn through a die to reduce its diameter and increase its length. Drawing is usually performed at room temperature, thus classified a cold working process, however, drawing may also be performed at elevated temperatures to hot work large wires, rods or hollow sections in order to reduce forces. [1] [2]


Drawing differs from rolling in that the pressure of drawing is not transmitted through the turning action of the mill but instead depends on force applied locally near the area of compression. This means the amount of possible drawing force is limited by the tensile strength of the material, a fact that is particularly evident when drawing thin wires. [3]

The starting point of cold drawing is hot-rolled stock of a suitable size.



Sheet metal

The success of forming is in relation to two things, the flow and stretch of material. As a die forms a shape from a flat sheet of metal, there is a need for the material to move into the shape of the die. The flow of material is controlled through pressure applied to the blank and lubrication applied to the die or the blank. If the form moves too easily, wrinkles will occur in the part. To correct this, more pressure or less lubrication is applied to the blank to limit the flow of material and cause the material to stretch or set thin. If too much pressure is applied, the part will become too thin and break. Drawing metal requires finding the correct balance between wrinkles and breaking to achieve a successful part.

Deep drawing and shallow drawing

Sheet metal drawing becomes deep drawing when the workpiece is drawing longer than its diameter. It is common that the workpiece is also processed using other forming processes, such as piercing, ironing, necking, rolling, and beading. In shallow drawing, the depth of drawing is less than the smallest dimension of the hole.

Bar, tube, and wire

Bar, tube, and wire drawing all work upon the same principle: the starting stock drawn through a die to reduce the diameter and increase the length. Usually the die is mounted on a draw bench. The end of the workpiece is reduced or pointed to get the end through the die. The end is then placed in grips and the rest of the workpiece is pulled through the die. [1] Steels, copper alloys, and aluminium alloys are common materials that are drawn. [4]

Drawing can also be used to cold-form a shaped cross-section. Cold drawn cross-sections are more precise and have a better surface finish than hot extruded parts. Inexpensive materials can be used instead of expensive alloys for strength requirements, due to work hardening. [5]

Bar drawing

Bars or rods that are drawn cannot be coiled therefore straight-pull draw benches are used. Chain drives are used to draw workpieces up to 30 m (98 ft). Hydraulic cylinders are used for shorter length workpieces. [1]

The reduction in area is usually restricted to between 20 and 50%, because greater reductions would exceed the tensile strength of the material, depending on its ductility. To achieve a certain size or shape multiple passes through progressively smaller dies or intermediate anneals may be required. [6]

Tube drawing

Tube drawing is very similar to bar drawing, except the beginning stock is a tube. It is used to decrease the diameter, improve surface finish and improve dimensional accuracy. A mandrel may or may not be used depending on the specific process used. A floating plug may also be inserted into the inside diameter of the tube to control the wall thickness.

Wire drawing

This technique has long been used to produce flexible metal wire by drawing the material through a series of dies of decreasing size. These dies are manufactured from a number of materials, the most common being tungsten carbide and diamond.

The cold drawing process for steel bars and wire
  1. tube lubrication: The surface of the bar or tube is coated with a drawing lubricant such as phosphate or oil to aid cold drawing.
  2. Push Pointing: Several inches of the lead ends of the bar or tube are reduced in size by swagging or extruding so that it can pass freely through the drawing die. Note: This is done because the die opening is always smaller than the original bar or coil section size.
  3. Cold Drawing, Process Drawing: In this process, the material being drawn is at room temperature (i.e. Cold-Drawn). The pointed/reduced end of the bar or coil, which is smaller than the die opening, is passed through the die where it enters a gripping device of the drawing machine. The drawing machine pulls or draws the remaining unreduced section of the bar or coil through the die. The die reduces the cross section of the original bar or coil, shapes the profile of the product and increases the length of the original product.
  4. Finished Product: The drawn product, which is referred to as Cold Drawn or Cold Finished, exhibits a bright and/or polished finish, increased mechanical properties, improved machining characteristics and precise and uniform dimensional tolerances.
  5. Multi-Pass Drawing: The cold drawing of complex shapes/profiles may require that each bar/coil be drawn several times in order to produce the desired shape and tolerances. This process is called multi-pass drawing and involves drawing through smaller and smaller die openings. Material is generally annealed between each drawing pass to remove cold work and to increase ductility.
  6. Annealing: This is a thermal treatment generally used to soften the material being drawn, to modify the microstructure, the mechanical properties and the machining characteristics of the steel and/or to remove internal stresses in the product. Depending on the desired characteristics of the finished product, annealing may be used before, during (between passes) or after the cold drawing operation, depending on material requirements.


Similar drawing processes are applied in glassblowing and in making glass and plastic optical fiber.


Plastic drawing, sometimes referred to as cold drawing, is the same process as used on metal bars, but applied to plastics. [7]

Plastic drawing is primarily used in manufacturing plastic fibers. The process was discovered by Julian W. Hill (1904–1996) in 1930 while trying to make fibers from an early polyester. [8] It is performed after the material has been "spun" into filaments; by extruding the polymer melt through pores of a spinneret. During this process, the individual polymer chains tend to somewhat align because of viscous flow. These filaments still have an amorphous structure, so they are drawn to align the fibers further, thus increasing crystallinity, tensile strength, and stiffness. This is done on a draw twister machine. [8] [9]

For nylon, the fiber is stretched to four times its spun length. The crystals formed during drawing are held together by hydrogen bonds between the amide hydrogens of one chain and the carbonyl oxygens of another chain. [9]

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) sheet is drawn in two dimensions to make BoPET (biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate) with improved mechanical properties.

See also

Related Research Articles

Wire Single, usually cylindrical, flexible strand or rod of metal

A wire is a single usually cylindrical, flexible strand or rod of metal. Wires are used to bear mechanical loads or electricity and telecommunications signals. Wire is commonly formed by drawing the metal through a hole in a die or draw plate. Wire gauges come in various standard sizes, as expressed in terms of a gauge number. The term 'wire' is also used more loosely to refer to a bundle of such strands, as in "multistranded wire", which is more correctly termed a wire rope in mechanics, or a cable in electricity.

Forging Metalworking process

Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of metal using localized compressive forces. The blows are delivered with a hammer or a die. Forging is often classified according to the temperature at which it is performed: cold forging, warm forging, or hot forging. For the latter two, the metal is heated, usually in a forge. Forged parts can range in weight from less than a kilogram to hundreds of metric tons. Forging has been done by smiths for millennia; the traditional products were kitchenware, hardware, hand tools, edged weapons, cymbals, and jewellery. Since the Industrial Revolution, forged parts are widely used in mechanisms and machines wherever a component requires high strength; such forgings usually require further processing to achieve an almost finished part. Today, forging is a major worldwide industry.

A die is a specialized machine tool used in manufacturing industries to cut and/or form material to a desired shape or profile. Stamping dies are used with a press, as opposed to drawing dies and casting dies which are not. Like molds, dies are generally customized to the item they are used to create.

Extrusion Process used to create objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile

Extrusion is a process used to create objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile. A material is pushed through a die of the desired cross-section. The two main advantages of this process over other manufacturing processes are its ability to create very complex cross-sections, and to work materials that are brittle, because the material only encounters compressive and shear stresses. It also forms parts with an excellent surface finish and gives considerable freedom of form in the design process.

Swaging Metalworking process

Swaging is a forging process in which the dimensions of an item are altered using dies into which the item is forced. Swaging is usually a cold working process, but also may be hot worked.

Sheet metal

Sheet metal is metal formed by an industrial process into thin, flat pieces. Sheet metal is one of the fundamental forms used in metalworking, and it can be cut and bent into a variety of shapes. Countless everyday objects are fabricated from sheet metal. Thicknesses can vary significantly; extremely thin sheets are considered foil or leaf, and pieces thicker than 6 mm (0.25 in) are considered plate steel or "structural steel".

Work hardening

Work hardening, also known as strain hardening, is the strengthening of a metal or polymer by plastic deformation. Work hardening may be desirable, undesirable, or inconsequential, depending on the context.

Shot peening

Shot peening is a cold working process used to produce a compressive residual stress layer and modify the mechanical properties of metals and composites. It entails striking a surface with shot with force sufficient to create plastic deformation.

Draw plate

A draw plate is type of die consisting of a hardened steel plate with one or more holes through which wire is drawn to make it thinner. A typical plate will have twenty to thirty holes so a wide range of diameters can be drawn.

Wire drawing Metalworking process used to create wire

Wire drawing is a metalworking process used to reduce the cross-section of a wire by pulling the wire through a single, or series of, drawing die(s). There are many applications for wire drawing, including electrical wiring, cables, tension-loaded structural components, springs, paper clips, spokes for wheels, and stringed musical instruments. Although similar in process, drawing is different from extrusion, because in drawing the wire is pulled, rather than pushed, through the die. Drawing is usually performed at room temperature, thus classified as a cold working process, but it may be performed at elevated temperatures for large wires to reduce forces.


Punching is a forming process that uses a punch press to force a tool, called a punch, through the workpiece to create a hole via shearing. Punching is applicable to a wide variety of materials that come in sheet form, including sheet metal, paper, vulcanized fibre and some forms of plastic sheet. The punch often passes through the work into a die. A scrap slug from the hole is deposited into the die in the process. Depending on the material being punched this slug may be recycled and reused or discarded.

Rolling (metalworking) Metal forming process

In metalworking, rolling is a metal forming process in which metal stock is passed through one or more pairs of rolls to reduce the thickness, to make the thickness uniform, and/or to impart a desired mechanical property. The concept is similar to the rolling of dough. Rolling is classified according to the temperature of the metal rolled. If the temperature of the metal is above its recrystallization temperature, then the process is known as hot rolling. If the temperature of the metal is below its recrystallization temperature, the process is known as cold rolling. In terms of usage, hot rolling processes more tonnage than any other manufacturing process, and cold rolling processes the most tonnage out of all cold working processes. Roll stands holding pairs of rolls are grouped together into rolling mills that can quickly process metal, typically steel, into products such as structural steel, bar stock, and rails. Most steel mills have rolling mill divisions that convert the semi-finished casting products into finished products.

In metallurgy and materials science, annealing is a heat treatment that alters the physical and sometimes chemical properties of a material to increase its ductility and reduce its hardness, making it more workable. It involves heating a material above its recrystallization temperature, maintaining a suitable temperature for an appropriate amount of time and then cooling.

Plastic extrusion

Plastics extrusion is a high-volume manufacturing process in which raw plastic is melted and formed into a continuous profile. Extrusion produces items such as pipe/tubing, weatherstripping, fencing, deck railings, window frames, plastic films and sheeting, thermoplastic coatings, and wire insulation.

Deep drawing

Deep drawing is a sheet metal forming process in which a sheet metal blank is radially drawn into a forming die by the mechanical action of a punch. It is thus a shape transformation process with material retention. The process is considered "deep" drawing when the depth of the drawn part exceeds its diameter. This is achieved by redrawing the part through a series of dies. The flange region experiences a radial drawing stress and a tangential compressive stress due to the material retention property. These compressive stresses result in flange wrinkles. Wrinkles can be prevented by using a blank holder, the function of which is to facilitate controlled material flow into the die radius.

Cold forming or cold working is any metalworking process in which metal is shaped below its recrystallization temperature, usually at the ambient temperature. Such processes are contrasted with hot working techniques like hot rolling, forging, welding, etc.

Tube drawing is a process to size a tube by shrinking a large diameter tube into a smaller one, by drawing the tube through a die. This process produces high-quality tubing with precise dimensions, good surface finish, and the added strength of cold working. For this reason this process is established for many materials, mainly metalworking but also glass. Because it is so versatile, tube drawing is suitable for both large- and small-scale production. The large-scale production of glass typically uses a one step process where glass is directly drawn into a tube from a melting tank.

Forming, metal forming, is the metalworking process of fashioning metal parts and objects through mechanical deformation; the workpiece is reshaped without adding or removing material, and its mass remains unchanged. Forming operates on the materials science principle of plastic deformation, where the physical shape of a material is permanently deformed.

A die in polymer processing is a metal restrictor or channel capable of providing a constant cross sectional profile to a stream of liquid polymer. This allows for continuous processing of shapes such as sheets, films, pipes, rods, and other more complex profiles. This is a continuous process, allowing for constant production, as opposed to a sequential (non-constant) process such as injection molding.

Rule based DFM analysis for forging. Forging is the controlled deformation of metal into a specific shape by compressive forces. The forging process goes back to 8000 B.C. and evolved from the manual art of simple blacksmithing. Then as now, a series of compressive hammer blows performs the shaping or forging of the part. Modern forging uses machine driven impact hammers or presses which deform the work-piece by controlled pressure.


  1. 1 2 3 Degarmo, p. 432.
  2. Kalpakjian, pp. 415–419.
  3. Ganoksin Project. "Rolling and Drawing". Archived from the original on 2014-08-08.
  4. Degarmo, p. 434.
  5. Degarmo, pp. 433–434.
  6. Degarmo, p. 433.
  7. Degarmo, p. 461.
  8. 1 2 Spinning the Elements – Cold Drawing, Chemical Heritage Foundation, archived from the original on 2001-05-04, retrieved 2008-11-13
  9. 1 2 Menzer, Valerie, Nylon 66, archived from the original on 2005-06-13, retrieved 2008-11-13.