Using Additive Manufacturing for Custom Metal Forming Tools

Using production-grade FDM thermoplastics for 3D printed metal forming tools allows manufacturers to go from tool design to production in as little as a week. Many tools can be 3D printed in less than 24 hours with no human intervention!

3D Printed Metal Forming Example

Stratasys customer East/West Industries needed to manufacture sheet metal parts but their existing tooling had been damaged. They were able to print a full size forming tool out of Nylon Carbon Fiber material using their Stratasys Fortus 450mc production machine. This allowed them to save a significant amount of time and money by quickly 3D printing their tool rather than machining a new metal tool. Watch the short video below to learn more:

Download a Technical White Paper

This white paper presents the findings of a case study involving the use of Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) additive manufacturing to create custom sheet metal forming tools. The design and processing techniques are specific to this use case but can be applied to most metal form tooling applications. The paper includes:

  • Section 1 – Application Overview
  • Section 2 – Custom Geometry vs. Standard Bends
    • 2.1 Offset Bends
    • 2.2 Ribs
    • 2.3 Dimples/Flares
  • Section 3 – Material Recommendations and Processing Techniques
    • 3.1 Materials
    • 3.2 Processing
  • Section 4 –  Testing Results
    • 4.1 Offset Bend Tooling – Aluminum
    • 4.2 Offset Bend Tooling – Steel
  • Section 5 – Metal Forming Considerations
    • 5.1 Tonnage Ratings
    • 5.2 Max Material Thickness and Cycles
    • 5.3 Spring Back

Download the paper now.

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