Belling or Flanging Dies

Belling or Flanging Dies.

Oaken Die

This idea came to me as I explored ways to make holes on sheet metal to make it lighter. Quite obviously, if the manufactured product has a small thickness, making holes would reduce its stiffness and rigidity.  It is also questionable whether the reduction on thin sheets are worth the effort in trying to save weight.

When we look at areas to lighten, we would also need to take into account the loss of this rigidity.  This means torsional forces causes material failure.  Such was what had happen in the racing scene may years before.  The race officials then banned the holes if it was not designed into the production.  Steel material would need considerable amount of force to cause it to break.  Front bumpers for many years have been intended to be broken and not just dent.  A snap of a known material size is equivalent to the accidental forces.  Flanging or belling reinforce the strength of that material simply by cold working the holes.  The shape of the flange itself is not important.  What does effect is the stressing of the material increases its strenght.  Much like Reinforced Concrete.  The bars are actually strained to increase its rigidity.

This article reminded me of the wooden tools that I used to see when I was in Secondary school.  Its quite odd to find such tools nowadays.  As the world moves on to machined manufacturing, we loose knowledge on proven skill based method of steel working.  I used to think of using the mechanical draw method to make these flanges.  This article showed me of the die method using hardwood to form metal which remains an option to me.

LISA – Free/Affordable Finite Element Analysis Software


LISA – Free/Affordable Finite Element Analysis Software.

LISA is a mathematical program to calculate and show various effects on a material. The calculation method is known in engineering as Finite Element Analysis. Its breaking up a piece of material into smaller and simpler planes. It then calculates this parts individually. It then compares the part next to it and applies the same calculation method again.

LISA comes as a free download for calculations based on up to 1300 nodes, or points of calculation. I intend to play around and get familiar with it. Then I can think of using it somewhere in the near future.  The main area where I think I should be looking into is the front suspension arm of the MacPherson strut.  This seems ambitious for the moment as I would actually need to get hold of one.  I would then need to take measurements off it and buid the model in LISA.


In the course of doing modifications to the car.  One needs to make research before one picks up a tool.  One needs to make research to know which tool is suitable.  Research that I have done is primarily internet based of which there are several websites that now becomes a vault of knowledge.

The majority of the source is from the UK.  The main reason behind this is that there seems to be commonality and historical links with Malaysia.

is an Australian based group of people which have received my highest respect for being unselfish in being a bottomless pit of information.  This is the main resource that I went to get most ideas and information.

 is a UK based retail website that sells aftermarket products.  If you ask, they can mail you a hardcopy of their catalogue.

Car Builders Solutions is yet another UK based retail website.  They are primarily focused on the Kit Car market segment in the UK.  Their catalogue is updated often and can be downloaded.

tasty nuts is my main source of alloy fasteners.  Up to the point in writing, I could not find any other source of reliable and online friendly website that deals with nuts and bolts.  They are also known as tasty bolts!

It also helps if you have a training in Mechanical Engineering to have a full understanding of the reason for the way I do things.