Ford Takes 3D Prototyping in a new Direction with Computer-Controlled Sheetmetal Former

Ford Takes 3D Prototyping in a new Direction with Computer-Controlled Sheetmetal Former

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl5_wUVxRvw&w=640&h=360
We’re all familiar with rapid-prototyping as it pertains to 3D printers and CNC machines, but car makers have had tougher challenges over the years because they need pieces stamped or pounded out of sheet metal to build their prototypes, which often takes a lot of time and outsourced effort. Now, Ford is showing off a new computer-controlled system for doing this complex task quickly and inexpensively, potentially reducing the time from concept to production dramatically.

8 thoughts on “Ford Takes 3D Prototyping in a new Direction with Computer-Controlled Sheetmetal Former

  1. J_Hodgie says:

    Interesting video, it seems very similar to Single Point Incremental Forming (SPIF).
    It’s curious how they say they have the only one like it, when they are building on very similar technology.

  2. Timothy says:

    Interesting.

    Doesn’t look all that complicated either. The x,y is pretty much business as usual. The z looks like probably some kind of hydraulic+controller combo.

    I’m not exactly sure what the tool itsself is. I’m guessing perhaps a round-nosed punch on the top and then who knows what on the bottom. It could be another tool same as the top only for pressing the other direction, or, (just from the mindset of the engineers involved) I’m almost wondering if its a concave die under there to support the metal as it is punched. If the latter, then the basement knock-off would probably use an “impact” socket or somesuch thing.

  3. CarFlippa.com says:

    These days you can buy 3D printer for about 500 bucks.
    It is not sophisticated but sure, will make kids smile.

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