An Experimental and Numerical Study of Dieless Water Jet Incremental Microforming

Yi Shi*, Weizhao Zhang, Jian Cao, Kornel Ehmann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Conventional single-point incremental forming (SPIF) is already in use for small batch prototyping and fabrication of customized parts from thin sheet metal blanks by inducing plastic deformation with a rigid round-tip tool. The major advantages of the SPIF process are its high flexibility and die-free nature. In lieu of employing a rigid tool to incrementally form the sheet metal, a high-speed water jet as an alternative was proposed as the forming tool. Since there is no tool-workpiece contact in this process, unlike in the traditional SPIF process, no lubricant and rotational motion of the tool are required to reduce friction. However, the geometry of the part formed by water jet incremental microforming (WJIMF) will no longer be controlled by the motion of the rigid tool. On the contrary, process parameters such as water jet pressure, stage motion speed, water jet diameter, blank thickness, and tool path design will determine the final shape of the workpiece. This paper experimentally studies the influence of the above-mentioned key process parameters on the geometry of a truncated cone shape and on the corresponding surface quality. A numerical model is proposed to predict the shape of the truncated cone part after WJIMF with given input process parameters. The results prove that the formed part's geometric properties predicted by the numerical model are in excellent agreement with the actually measured ones. Arrays of miniature dots, channels, two-level truncated cones, and letters were also successfully fabricated on stainless-steel foils to demonstrate WJIMF capabilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number041008
JournalJournal of Manufacturing Science and Engineering, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2019


  • FEM simulation
  • dieless forming
  • incremental microforming
  • water jet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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