Advanced Materials: Composites and Foaming

At the prototype level of any design process, the need for functional parts (manufacturer production materials) for testing of product designs are commonly obtained at a high cost and with a long delivery based on tooling design & manufacture.

3D Printed Die

  • Uses only ONE die
  • Very complex shapes can be easily and quickly printed
  • Does not require hand finishing; can go directly from the 3D printing machine to part manufacturing

Machined Die

  • Traditional stamping requires TWO DIES — a top and bottom
  • Formed from solid pieces of metal, the process can be time consuming and expensive

Metal Forming Process


  • Uses fluid pressure to form the metal over a single tool
  • Less spring back means better final part accuracy
  • Allows for complex shapes with high accuracies, and is commonly used in aerospace applications
  • Form & Trim in same die
  • Forming with a negative draft is possible

Conventional Stamping

  • Use two (2) dies
  • Metal is pressed between the top and bottom dies to form the part

Finished Part

Low cost 3D printed tooling combined with the precise and efficient manufacturing method of hydroforming enables low volume production parts to be produced with a greater than 50% cost reduction at a 50% reduction in delivery time.

3D Printed Tool +

40 Parts
2 Week delivery
$187.50 per part

Prototype Parts for
Product Development

Total Savings
Time: 3 Weeks

Conventional Metal Tool +
Metal Stamping

40 Parts
4 Week delivery
$400.00 per part