Advanced Sheet Metal Manufacturing using Rapid Tooling 522

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Hui, Du Zhao
Kai, Chua Chee
Sen, Chua Yew
Gek, Loh-Lee Keow
Tiak, Lim Ser

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A closed loop process is proposed for making sheet metal prototyping parts by using advanced computer aided techniques and computer controlled machines. The key aspect of this process is the method used to fabricate and modify the sheet metal forming tools, which are not necessarily for mass production but should be suitable for short run production or design evaluation of sheet metal products where the prototyping cost and lead-time are greatly reduced. Various approaches are investigated in the preparation of the tooling for onward embossing on a sheet metal. The three indirect approaches use Selective Laser Sintering (SLS), Stereolithography(SLA), and high speed Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) milling to build the masters from computer data models. And the masters are then served in the vacuum casting process to generate the non-ferrous tooling. The direct approach uses DTM’s RapidSteel to produce the metal tooling without going through any secondary process. Comparisons on quality, leading time and cost are presented.


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