An efficient method for thickness prediction in multi-pass incremental sheet forming

Tingting Cao, Bin Lu*, Dongkai Xu, Huan Zhang, Jun Chen, Hui Long, Jian Cao

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Incremental sheet forming (ISF) is a highly versatile and flexible process for rapid manufacturing of complex sheet metal parts. In the ISF process, efficient and accurate prediction of part thickness variation is still a challenging task, which is especially true for the multi-pass ISF process. The Sine law equation and the finite element method (FEM) are the two commonly used conventional prediction methods. However, these approaches are either with limited accuracy or very time consuming. For the multi-pass ISF process, the thickness prediction is even more challenging since two or more forming steps are involved. Focusing on the thickness prediction of multi-stage ISF process, this work proposes a thickness prediction model based on the geometrical calculation of intermediate shapes of the formed part and backward tracing of nodal points of the forming tool. By developing this method, the thickness distribution can be calculated through the predicted nodal displacement in the ISF process. To verify the proposed model, four different geometrical shapes, i.e., conic, parabolic conic, non-axisymmetric, and hemispherical parts, are physically formed by using a NC ISF machine. The geometric shapes and the detailed thickness distributions of the formed parts are carefully measured and compared with the prediction model developed. Good agreements between the analytical predictions, and the experimental results are obtained. This indicates the effectiveness and robustness of the developed thickness prediction approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)469-483
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - Mar 2015


  • Incremental sheet forming
  • Multi-pass forming
  • Thickness prediction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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