Flexible forming of sheet metal using plasma arc

Yi Wei Chen, Peng Jiu Li, Alan T. Male, Yu Ming Zhang

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Conventional precision forming of sheet metal requires the use of mechanical tools. However, during product development, different tools may be required to form various shapes, thus requiring significant tool cost and lead time. If a rapid prototyping process were available such that the required shapes can be formed without the need for hard tools, the potential reduction in product development cost and lead time could be quite significant. Moreover, such a process could be used for very short run production where it would be uneconomical to amortize tooling cost over a small number of manufactured pieces. To explore the potential for flexible forming without tools, various researchers have used laser beams as a heat source to form sheet metals, with a significant measure of success. To investigate the use of a more economical and potentially safer heat source, the authors recently established an experimental system to investigate the feasibility of forming sheet metals using a non-transferred arc plasma as the energy beam and CO2 as the cooling jet. Several samples have been formed using the developed experimental system. Experiments have shown that the forming direction, either toward or away from the plasma arc beam, can be completely controlled to allow the formation of complex shapes. It is believed that this provides the basis for a new rapid prototyping process for the forming of sheet metal components.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 1999
EventManufacturing Science and Engineering - 1999 (The ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exhibition) - Nashville, TN, USA
Duration: Nov 14 1999Nov 19 1999


ConferenceManufacturing Science and Engineering - 1999 (The ASME International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exhibition)
CityNashville, TN, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Flexible forming of sheet metal using plasma arc'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this