As part of a 5-year NSF-sponsored project, a design and fabrication system is being developed for Profiled Edge Laminated (PEL) tooling. The PEL tooling method is a thick-layer Rapid Tooling (RT) approach that offers distinct advantages over both conventional CNC machining of billets and other RT processes. Furthermore, the method is ideally suited for developing large-scale sheet metal forming tools. To date, the following design, fabrication and analysis tools have been completed: details of the ‘front-end’ design and analysis process; valid structural and thermal FEL modeling methods for PEL tooling; and development of the ‘back-end’ PEL tool fabrication process consisting of a CAM software system to allow AWJ cutting of individual PELs based on a CAD model. The front end process has been demonstrated with matched die forming of a 2-dimensional steel part. The back-end process has also been demonstrated using a 3-dimensional hydroformed aluminum part. Future work will include incorporation of variable thickness and orientation algorithms that account for stock lamination thicknesses and part dimensional tolerances, more advanced structural and thermal models, the means to predict the cost and time required for fabrication of PEL tools, an investigation of different lamination bonding methods, and additional industrial case studies.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.