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TECHNICAL PAPERS

Using Reconfigurable Tooling and Surface Heating for Incremental Forming of Composite Aircraft Parts

[+] Author and Article Information
Daniel F. Walczyk, Jean F. Hosford

Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, & Nuclear Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180

John M. Papazian

Northrop Grumman Corporation, Bethpage, NY

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 125(2), 333-343 (Apr 15, 2003) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.1561456 History: Received May 01, 2001; Revised June 01, 2002; Online April 15, 2003
Copyright © 2003 by ASME
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References

The Boeing Company, 2000, http://www.boeing.com, Website accessed in Jan.
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Hardt, D. E., Boyce, M. C., and Walczyk, D. F., 1993, “A Flexible Forming System for Rapid Response Production of Sheet Metal Parts,” Proceedings of IBEC’93, Detroit, MI, Sept. 21–23, pp. 61–69.
Papazian,  J. M., 2002, “Tools of Change: Reconfigurable Forming Dies Raise the Efficiency of Small-Lot Production,” Mech. Eng. (Am. Soc. Mech. Eng.), 124(2), pp. 52–55.
Kleepsies,  H. S., and Crawford,  R. H., 1998, “Vacuum Forming of Compound Curved Surfaces with a Variable Geometry Mold,” J. Manuf. Syst., 17(5), pp. 325–337.
North Sails, 1999, http://www.northsails.com/North_America/News_Archieve/newmold.html, Website accessed on Dec.
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Harvey, M. T., Stebbe, D. W., and Cattanach, J. B., 1992, “Method of Shaping Blanks of Thermoformable Material,” U.S. Patent #5156795.
Walczyk,  D. F., and Hardt,  D. E., 1998, “Design and Analysis of Reconfigurable Discrete Dies for Sheet Metal Forming,” ORSA J. Comput., 17(6), pp. 436–454.
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Figures

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(a) Composite is supported by a vacuum drawn between two elastic rubber diaphragms and heated with an infrared heat source. (b) Box is evacuated and/or pressure is applied from above to form the heated composite over a single mold.
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Reconfigurable forming tool comprised of a matrix of discrete elements
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Schematic of the proposed forming process involving incremental deformation of a convectively heated composite over a reconfigurable forming tool
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Time history of temperature through the thickness of the composite
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Bottom view of the hot air plenum showing the seven-nozzle arrangement
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Experimental setup used to prove concept. Hot air plenum suspended over an 8×12 pin reconfigurable tool.
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(a) Close-up of the hemispherical-tipped die elements comprising the reconfigurable forming tool with small toggle clamps used to seal the frame and diaphragm to the tool, and (b) Composite forming with a 0.51 mm thick silicone diaphragm.
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Shape development using the simple proportional rule. Forming occurs on both axes simultaneously. Note that the hemispherical pin ends are not illustrated.
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Sequential forming. Shape is developed about the short axis of the ellipse first, followed by a bend about the long axis of the ellipse. Using terminology defined in Section 4.2.4, this represents the short-long bending sequence, where the initial bend is parallel to the short axis of the tool.
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Inscribed ellipsoid of revolution used as a benchmark forming shape. All dimensions are in millimeters.
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(a) No interpolator allows the spherical pin tips to telegraph through the composite lay-up. (b) The foam composite interpolator consisting of 25.4 mm upholstery foam and 6.4 mm of closed cell foam resulted in a very smooth surface. Note, the sample is wrinkled, thus, the forming conditions are not sufficient to suppress wrinkling.
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Wrinkles can form in two modes; the excess material is pushed outward (left) and the excess is pushed inward (right).
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Cross-section of the lay-up used for composite heating experiments. All dimensions are in millimeters. (Not to Scale)

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