Rapid Tooling for Sheet Metal Forming Using Profiled Edge Laminations—Design Principles and Demonstration

[+] Author and Article Information
D. F. Walczyk

Dept. of Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering & Mechanics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York 12180-3590

D. E. Hardt

Laboratory for Manufacturing and Productivity, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 120(4), 746-754 (Nov 01, 1998) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2830215 History: Received November 01, 1996; Revised August 01, 1997; Online January 23, 2008


Sheet metal forming dies constructed of laminations offer advantages over more conventional tooling fabrication methods (e.g. CNC-machining) in terms of tooling accessibility, reduced limitations on die geometry and faster fabrication with harder die materials. Furthermore, the recently introduced Profiled Edge Lamination (PEL) tooling method improves upon other lamination-based tooling methods. Adoption of this promising rapid tooling method by industry is being hindered by the lack of formal analysis, design principles, and manufacturing requirements needed to construct dies in such a manner. Therefore, the propensity for delamination of the die is discussed and preventive measures are suggested. The basic machining instructions, i.e., an array of points and directional vectors for each lamination, are outlined for both compound and planar profiled-edge bevels. Laser, AWJ and flute-edge endmilling are experimentally identified as the most promising methods for machining bevels. Development of a stand-alone PEL fabrication machine is suggested over retrofitting commercially-available 5-axis machines. Finally, the general procedure for creating PEL dies is implemented in the construction of a matched set of sheet metal forming tools. These tools are used to successfully stamp a sheet metal part out of draw-quality steel.

Copyright © 1998 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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