MAGNESIUM dies are primarily used for flat foil stamped images, flat single, multi-level embossed, or debossed images. The beveled edges of the embossed or debossed image will appear a little softer and not quite as crisp as those produced copper or brass dies. Shorter runs and routine commercial work are especially suited for a magnesium die. Deep etch magnesium dies are the perfect choice when debossing leather or vinyl.
COPPER dies are used for the same application when longer runs, or more durability, is desired. Fine type, detail, and reverses hold better with copper. Copper dies are generally more expensive than magnesium at the outset. Press make-ready is usually quicker with copper dies because copper is a better conductor of heat.
BRASS dies can be used for all applications. They are usually the highest priced of the three types. Brass dies are machined rather than chemically etched as are magnesium and copper dies. Brass dies are exceptionally durable, and the life of a die may be endless as brass can be reworked or repaired. Fine details hold well when foil stamping with brass and brass dies are especially effective with combination dies.
When sculpted, multi-layered, rounded, chiseled or special effects are required, brass is the die that can be used. When mixtures of depth or edges or crisp bevels are needed, brass dies perform well. Brass will provide a superior product when various interpretations of artwork are required, including shapes, textures, or edges. Close registration among dies or to color is held closely with brass dies.
COUNTERS. Precast fiberglass counters are used with embossing dies to assure that all the image detail is transferred to the stock. The counters push the stock into the cavity of the die allowing the stock to bottom out thus achieving the full embossed depth. Counters are usually registered in position to the metal emboss die by a drill and pin system, or they can be taped into position for registration.