NC Dieless Forming (Rapid Prototyping)
Dieless NC forming is a process used to shape a material by applying incremental pressure to it with a forming tool. The tool then deforms clearly defined sections of the material, allowing users to create complex, three-dimensional shapes.
Dieless NC forming relies on many of the same principles as NC mills and machining centers. At the beginning of the process, software converts preset 3D data into the G-code tool paths. The input data then determines the NC machine’s movements on the X and Y axes, with the base of the table shifting to accommodate the pre-defined trajectory. The forming tool operates on the Z axis, hovering above the material and shaping it into the desired form.
Amino North America Corporation (ANAC) has long specialized in dieless NC forming, but in recent years, we’ve significantly advanced on the simple incremental forming principles that underlie the process. We’ve made particular strides in the areas of prototype and low-volume production. Indeed, our technology makes it possible to bridge the gap between the data and the finished product with little or no tooling, helping us reduce costs and simplify engineering changes for our customers.
Unlike other rapid prototyping technologies, which produce non-functional copies, dieless NC forming can deliver functional metal parts for prototypes. In some cases, it can even deliver regular production and service parts. It’s also compatible with a wide range of materials—including mild steels, aluminum, titanium, and perforated steel mesh—and can handle metals as thick as 4.0mm.
Benefits of Dieless NC Forming
Dieless NC forming is an ideal option for low volume manufacturing of specialized products. Some of its benefits include:
- The ability to form more complex shapes and quickly refashion parts
- The elimination of numerous dies
- The ability to complete and assemble parts through trimming, bending, and hemming.
- Modest floor space requirements
- Faster and cheaper prototyping
- Reduced tooling costs
- Complete compatibility with a three-axis CNC mill
Dieless NC forming originated in Japan, where ANAC’s parent company AMINO Corporation developed the first prototype machine in 1996. Two years later, AMINO Corporation created the CAM software for dieless forming. Since 2002, the company has supplied specialized equipment to organizations throughout the world and produced thousands of parts for research purposes.
With such an impressive heritage and unmatched experience, ANAC is the North American authority on all issues related to dieless NC forming. We’re proud to provide any company in the United States and Canada with a productive and cost-effective method of producing prototypes and panels in small lot sizes. Contact us today to receive further information on our capabilities and find out how we can benefit your business!