When we think of using a press to form metal we think of large stamps with custom made metal dies under unimaginable hydraulic pressure. It’s unlikely we’d e think of anything 3D printed. And in a commercial environment we’d be right. But your average garage hacker is far more likely to have access to a bench vise and a 3D printer. It’s in this context that [The Shipping Container Garage] has spent considerable time, effort, and money perfecting a process for pressing copper parts with 3D printed dies, which you can watch below the break.
In the quest to make a custom intake manifold for his project car, [The Shipping Container Garage] first made 3D printed jigs for cutting out a manifold flange that bolts to the cylinder head. It’s a process he calls Analog CNC, as all the cutting is done by hand.
Buoyed by his success, he proceeded with the next step: making manifold runners. His metal of choice was copper. While softer than many metals such as steel, he found it too hard. In the video, he describes his method for annealing the copper. Once cooled, two 3D printed dies are pressed into the copper tubes to progressively shape them. Watch the video to find out one of the neatest details of the die itself: how he gets it out!
Of course no matter how clever this all is, it’s useless if it produces poor results. And that’s where the most astounding part of the build is: The parts are all the same within 0.006 inches (0.15mm) of each other, and the parts fit the manifold flange they were made for. Additionally, the die can be used for the duration of the project at hand. For low volume production, this appears to be a viable method. It’ll be interesting to see what others do to iterate these processes to even more advanced stages.
You may also like to see 3D printing used in leather working and in jigs for beautiful circuit sculptures. A big thanks to [JapanFan] for the tip! If you have your own pressing hacks to share, let us know via the Tip Line!