A Novel Method for the Rapid Production of Inexpensive Dies and Moulds with Surfaces Made by Incremental Sheet Forming

J. M. Allwood, A. N. Bramley, T. W. Ridgman, A. R. Mileham

The choice of processing routes for parts is often strongly influenced by high tooling costs that can only be justified when large batches are required. This paper describes a novel system for producing inexpensive dies and moulds. The system exploits the recently developed ‘incremental sheet forming’ process to produce a die surface, which is then supported by a reinforcement and used as a conventional die or mould. A demonstrator die pair has been designed, constructed and tested, and the results show that even with a temporary reinforcement such as sand, the dies retain geometric accuracy. The use of this system allows more widespread application of incremental sheet forming than has been envisaged to date, as it expands the potential process applicability beyond prototypes and small batches by allowing manufacture, validation, and adjustment of dies and moulds for conventional mass production processes.