Ford’s New Prototyping Machine Turns Sheet Metal Into Custom Parts

Ford’s New Prototyping Machine Turns Sheet Metal Into Custom Parts


Three-dimensional models from a designer’s modelling software are sent to the machine, which uses a pair of robotic arms mounted above and below a flat piece of sheet metal. The robotic arms feature very precise points at their ends, which are used to warp, bend and shape the 2D sheet of metal into a 3D object. And depending on the complexity and size of the part being prototyped, it can do this in mere hours.

It allows designers and engineers to refine, produce, and test a new or custom part again and again in a manner of days, without having to solely rely on software simulations. And while in its infancy the machine isn’t quite fast enough to join an assembly line, it’s the perfect tool for crafting one-off concept vehicles, or parts for special edition vehicles that aren’t intended for mass production. [YouTube via SlashGear]