Deep Drawing Stainless Steel: Complete Guide

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Deep drawing is a crucial manufacturing process, especially when dealing with materials such as stainless steel. This technique is highly relevant in various industries, and its importance can’t be overstated. It plays a pivotal role in creating deep drawn stainless steel cans, deep drawn boxes, and other deep drawing products.

This comprehensive guide aims to provide you with detailed insights into the world of deep drawing stainless steel. As we explore, you’ll find answers to some commonly asked questions like “Can stainless steel be deep drawn?” or “What is the best stainless steel for deep drawing?“. Also, we will discuss the advantages, considerations, and material selection for deep draw metal forming, setting you on the path to becoming a knowledgeable professional in this field. 

Stainless Steel Deep Draw Parts

Understanding Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is an alloy primarily composed of iron, carbon, and chromium. The chromium content, usually above 10.5%, imparts the property of corrosion resistance, distinguishing it from ordinary steel. Various types of stainless steel, each with unique properties, serve a broad range of applications across different industries.

The versatility and durability of stainless steel make it a preferred material for several applications. From cutlery and kitchenware to deep drawn stainless steel cans and aerospace components, stainless steel’s usage is extensive and varied. This material holds a special place in manufacturing processes like draw forming sheet metal, deep drawing in sheet metal, and deep draw stamping.

Different types of stainless steel include austenitic, ferritic, martensitic, duplex, and precipitation-hardening grades. Each type has its specific qualities, strengths, and weaknesses, affecting its suitability for certain applications. For example, austenitic stainless steel, known for its ductility and deep drawability, is often used in deep draw stainless steel processes.

Types of Stainless Steel used for Deep Draw Stamping

deep draw stamping

Stainless Steel Type 201/201L: This is an austenitic, non-magnetic, low-nickel stainless steel. It is generally used in draw forming sheet metal and deep draw stamping. Its lower nickel content makes it a more cost-effective alternative to Type 304.

Stainless Steel Type 304/304L: This is the most commonly used stainless steel. It is an austenitic grade that can be deep drawn easily, making it ideal for deep drawing stainless steel. It has excellent corrosion resistance and is used in various applications, from kitchenware to automotive parts.

Stainless Steel Type 316/316L: This type of stainless steel is similar to 304 but with the addition of molybdenum, which improves its resistance to corrosion, especially in chloride environments. It’s often used in deep drawn boxes, marine applications, and deep drawn parts where high corrosion resistance is required.

Stainless Steel Type 409: This is a ferritic stainless steel with low chromium content. It’s often used in automotive exhaust systems due to its heat resistance. Although not as formable as austenitic grades, it can still be used in some deep draw manufacturing applications.

Stainless Steel Type 430: This is a non-hardenable, ferritic stainless steel. It has good corrosion resistance and is highly formable, making it suitable for some deep drawing applications.

deep drawing applications

AM350: This is a high-strength, precipitation-hardening stainless steel. It possesses good ductility, making it suitable for deep draw forming.

Alloy 20: This is an austenitic stainless steel developed for maximum resistance to acid attack, specifically sulfuric acid. Its ability to resist chloride ion stress corrosion cracking and general pitting and crevice corrosion makes it useful in deep drawing applications with high corrosive environments.

These are some of the many types of stainless steel used in drawing stamping and other deep draw processes. Understanding the characteristics of each type is essential when selecting the appropriate material for deep drawing stainless steel

The Deep Drawing Process

deep drawing process

Deep drawing is a sheet metal forming process used widely in manufacturing industries to form metal sheets into deep, hollow shapes. Unlike other metal forming methods, deep drawing involves a significant amount of plastic deformation over a large area of the sheet.

At its core, deep drawing involves pulling or pushing a flat sheet metal blank into a die to create a hollow shape. This process is primarily used to create cylindrical or box-shaped parts like deep drawn stainless steel cans, deep drawn boxes, or deep drawn tubes.

The primary components involved in deep drawing are the punch, the die, and the blank holder. The punch forms the shape, the die defines the outer shape of the product, and the blank holder controls the metal flow.

As for machinery, a deep draw stamping press is most commonly used. These presses come in various types and capacities, depending on the deep drawing product requirements. There are also deep draw stamping companies that offer specialized equipment and expertise for more complex parts.

Process 1-Design: Before the actual process, the product design is created and optimized for deep drawing. This involves considering the thickness and type of stainless steel, and the shape and size of the product.

Process2-Preparation of the Blank: The stainless steel sheet is cut into blanks of appropriate size. In some cases, draw forming sheet metal involves preparing the metal by cleaning, lubricating, or even heat treating it.

Process3-Deep Drawing: The blank is placed on the die, and the punch is then driven into the blank, forcing it into the shape of the die. This process may be repeated multiple times, in a process known as deep draw forming, to achieve the desired depth.

Process4-Trimming: After the part has been drawn, excess material is often trimmed away to create a clean, finished product.

Advantages of Deep Drawing Stainless Steel

There are several advantages to deep drawing stainless steel which make it a favored manufacturing process. Firstly, it enables the production of complex, seamless parts, which is highly beneficial in industries such as automotive, appliances, aerospace, and more.

Deep draw stamping is cost-effective for high-volume production due to lower tooling costs and it can create intricate designs that other processes may not handle. The process also provides excellent product consistency and repeatability, which is crucial for maintaining deep drawing quality.

Moreover, deep drawing allows for the use of various types of stainless steel, each offering unique properties to the finished product. For instance, the toughness of Stainless Steel Type 304/304L is ideal for deep drawing, while Stainless Steel Type 316/316L offers excellent corrosion resistance.

Comparison with Other Methods of Shaping Stainless Steel

Compared to other processes such as machining or welding, deep drawing offers superior efficiency and cost-effectiveness, especially for large production runs. 

It reduces waste and requires fewer assembly operations. Unlike in draw forming sheet metal, there’s no need to join multiple parts together, thereby eliminating potential weak points in the final product.

Real-World Examples of Products Made Using the Deep Drawing Process

deep drawn stainless steel cans

There are numerous examples of deep drawing products in our everyday life. These include deep drawn stainless steel cans often used in the food and beverage industry, kitchen sinks, automotive fuel tanks, and even complex components in aerospace applications. The process is also frequently used to create deep drawn metal parts for musical instruments, medical devices, and electronics.

Considerations when Deep Drawing Stainless Steel

A. Challenges in the Deep Drawing Process of Stainless Steel

The deep drawing process is not without its challenges. For one, the selection of the proper stainless steel grade for deep drawing can be a complex decision, affected by factors such as the final application, required mechanical properties, and cost considerations.

Another common challenge is controlling the material’s behavior during the deep drawing process to prevent defects such as tearing or wrinkling. These issues may be due to factors such as improper die design, insufficient lubrication, or incorrect blank holder pressure.

Moreover, the hardness of certain types of stainless steel can lead to increased wear and tear on the deep drawing dies, necessitating frequent replacement or maintenance.

Tips and Best Practices to Overcome These Challenges

One of the best practices to overcome these challenges is to partner with experienced deep draw stamping companies who have the expertise and knowledge to control the numerous variables in the deep drawing process. They can also help in selecting the best deep drawing quality steel for your specific application.

Use of simulations prior to actual production can help in identifying potential issues and optimizing the process parameters. Regular maintenance of the deep draw forming tools and equipment is also crucial to ensure their optimal performance and longevity.

Material Selection for Deep Drawing

deep drawing material

When it comes to deep drawing stainless steel, not all types are created equal. Certain grades have superior drawability, making them more suited for deep draw stamping and deep drawing products. For instance, Stainless Steel Type 304 is often preferred due to its excellent formability and corrosion resistance.

However, other factors such as cost, required strength, and the final product’s operating conditions may necessitate the use of other grades. For instance, Stainless Steel Type 316 might be chosen for its enhanced resistance to chloride corrosion, which could be crucial in marine applications.

Material properties, such as yield strength, ultimate tensile strength, and elongation, significantly influence the deep drawing process. For example, deep drawn stainless steel requires a good balance of strength and ductility for the material to flow properly into the die cavity without tearing.

The thickness of the material, known as the gauge, also affects the process. Thicker material might require more force to form but can often result in a stronger final product.

Experienced deep draw stamping companies like Chengli Hardware can guide this process, helping you understand which grades of steel offer the best compromise between performance and cost for your specific application. This collaboration ensures a successful, cost-effective deep drawing process that meets or exceeds your product’s requirements.


Deep drawing stainless steel is a precise, efficient process yielding high-quality products. By understanding the process, material selection, and its application, you can enhance the performance and cost-effectiveness of your products. 

Whether you need deep drawn stainless steel cans, deep drawn boxes, or any other deep drawn parts, selecting the right deep draw stamping company is crucial. Chengli Hardware, with its extensive experience and commitment to quality, stands ready to meet your needs. So why wait? Explore the advantages of deep drawing today, and take your product quality and efficiency to the next level!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can stainless steel be deep drawn?

Yes, stainless steel can be deep drawn.

What is the best stainless steel for deep drawing?

Stainless Steel Type 304 is widely regarded as a favorable choice for deep drawing due to its excellent formability, ductility, and corrosion resistance. Stainless Steel Type 316 is also commonly used when enhanced corrosion resistance is required.

What is deep drawing stainless steel?

Deep drawing stainless steel is a manufacturing process that involves pulling or pushing a flat sheet of stainless steel into a die cavity to create a hollow, three-dimensional shape. It is commonly used to produce cylindrical or box-shaped parts such as deep drawn cans, boxes, and other intricate components. The deep drawing process allows for the creation of complex shapes with tight tolerances using stainless steel material.

What is the best metal for deep drawing?

Stainless steel is often considered one of the best metals for deep drawing due to its excellent formability, corrosion resistance, and durability. However, other metals such as aluminum, copper, and brass can also be deep drawn depending on the specific application requirements.

What is the hardest grade of stainless steel?

Stainless Steel Type 440C is known for its high hardness and is considered one of the hardest grades of stainless steel. It is often used in applications that require exceptional wear resistance and corrosion resistance, such as high-quality knife blades or bearings.

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