Hydroforming is one of the most popular metal forming processes used today, and with good reason. The hydroforming process excels in creating seamless shapes from various types of metals; the created parts are also quite versatile, as they can be utilized for nearly limitless applications in transportation, commercial, architecture, and other industries.
There’s a good chance you already knew about those advantages, but did you know that hydroforming can also be used to create complex, unusually-shaped parts and products? Recently, Helander fabrication team worked with individual companies to successfully complete two custom projects: a toilet interior for a commercial airline, and an internal housing for a spray paint mixing machine. (Click on thumbnail to enlarge)
Hydroformed steel was used for each of these intricate projects, but we are also capable of hydroforming copper, brass, aluminum, Hastelloy®, Inconel®, and titanium. Don’t keep this process in mind for just cylindrical objects — hydroforming can also be useful for creating irregular products. This ability to create any kind of complicated, irregularly-shaped part or products adds even more versatility to the hydroforming process.
There are several reasons to consider hydroforming for irregularly-shaped parts and products:
- Low tooling cost — The urethane diaphragm used in hydroforming acts as a universal die, replacing the need for a metal die used in metal stamping. Due to this fact, lead time for the project becomes much shorter, resulting in lower tooling costs for you.
- Single step process — Hydroforming doesn’t require seams, welds, or multiple pieces. The reduced friction of hydroforming creates parts with smooth, flawless surfaces, minimizing the need for buffing, polishing, or other secondary finishing processes.
- High precision, tight tolerances — A hydroformed part can be made to your exact specifications, regardless of industry demands. This process can craft parts with dimensions of 1.0″ to 30.0″ in diameter, with draw depths of up to 12.0″; hydroforming can also achieve aircraft standard tolerances of ±.003″.
- 20″ max circle disk diameter
- 15″ mandrill diameter
- 10″ draw