Metalforming Tips Blog

The Red Book at a Glance: How to Use Short Run Stampings


Dayton Rogers is proud of our commitment to searching for continuous advancements and sharing our knowledge with others in the manufacturing space. We believe in developing our team and are constantly looking for innovative ways to exceed customer expectations. In fact, we wrote the Metalforming Design Handbook, commonly referred to as the “Red Book,” which is recognized by industry leaders as the go-to manual for precision metal forming practices. 

Our new blog series aims to highlight a different chapter from the “Red Book” to give you a preview of the ultimate engineering resource. Each month, we will dive into various design guidelines and formulas that you can utilize to take your manufacturing operations to new heights. 

Join us as we dive into Chapter One!


How to Use Short Run Stampings

Short-run stampings offer an economical way to produce parts in quantities from prototype to 100,000 pieces with short lead times. It’s an ideal method for checking your design, assembly process, and market acceptance of your new product . . . all with minimum investment.


Let Us Help

We review thousands of prints each year, searching for ways to save our customers money. Usually, our suggestions involve material specifications, dimensions, and tolerances.



Consider the necessity of specific tempers or closer material tolerances. If a part requires a specific temper or closer material tolerances, strip steel is desirable. However, if temper or close material tolerances are not a factor, sheet steel is available at a lesser cost. Tolerances should be no tighter than necessary to make a part functional. Close or tight tolerances result in high costS to build tools and additional operations to hold required tolerances.


Typical Fabrication Methods Compared to Short Run Stamping





For parts where long runs with no design changes exist. High tooling, low piece price.

Consider short run tools to prove design and start up quantiles. Short run tools also provide vital backup.

Fine Blanking

Flatness and full shear edge condition. Costly tooling that can wear.

We can tool for a fraction of the fine blanking cost on many shapes, less the full shear edge.


Complex shapes are readily produced. Part cost is not as low as stamping and holes and other dimensions are not as easy to control.

Careful engineering or re-design can allow stampings to replace more costly investment castings.


Very complex shapes. Extremely expensive for more than a few parts. Waste of material.

Depending upon your application, short run tooling can give you alternate design at a much lower cost.

Laser Cutting

Great method for small lots and proving your design.

With complex forming short run tooling can utilize laser blanks.


For certain parts the Turret is an ideal method. Short run typically holds closer tolerance and there is no scalloping on the curved edges.

Short run tools can be competitive at an early stage in your production. These tools can further reduce the cost of tool up and provide back up.


Typical Parts Price Comparison of Variations In Materials and Design/CAD

Comparing the cost impact of the several variables is difficult. To help explain the impact, we have selected a sample part and shown the price range you could reach depending on how you control your design.





+ .010 on centers — + .005 on hole diameters


16. ga. 1010 sheet — standard tolerance .059 + .004


Radius inside = to material thickness

Hole Distortion

Print should note “distortion permissible” if hole is too close to a form (see page 16.)

Outside Corners

1/16” radius allowed


Break sharp edges





+ .002 on centers — + .001 on hole diameters


1010 strip steel — .059 + .003 thickness


Inside .000 to .015 radius

Hole Distortion

Not allowed

Outside Corners

0 -.015 radius allowed


.010 Max/Min


Download the Red Book!

If you’re interested in reading the full version of the Metalforming Design Handbook, click the button below.