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Forming a large diameter, super thin dish (Hydroforming?)

Forming a large diameter, super thin dish (Hydroforming?)

Forming a large diameter, super thin dish (Hydroforming?)

Hello all,

I am trying to find a vendor/viable manufacturing method for a rather large diameter "dish" shape part that I need made.

I am looking to have a 52" square copper sheet formed into about a 10" deep "dish", with the final thickness of the part being 0.0007".

I have been searching for vendors with the capabilities to manufacture something like this but so far I have been turned down by everyone I have contacted. I think Hydroforming is probably the most viable manufacturing method, so I have been targeting vendors that do that, but I have also tried vendors that do metal spinning, and stamping. The part is fairly large so that knocks out most of the vendors I look into, and the super thin .0007" thickness has thus far taken out the rest.

The thing is, this is very new to my company, so I wanted to ask if anyone here has done anything similar and might be able to recommend some vendors or even give advice as to what kind of fabrication methods they think will be viable for something like this. If anyone thinks this is completely outside of the standard hydroforming/metal spinning/forming/etc. manufacturing capabilities but has some ideas about special considerations and manufacturing methods that might be taken in order to successfully create such a part I would love to hear those too!

Thanks in advance!

RE: Forming a large diameter, super thin dish (Hydroforming?)

How do you intend to handle the finished part? 52" at less than 0.001" thick is not going to have any stiffness. Also, if you form or spin the part, the thickness will vary across the finished piece. Is the given thickness a minimum, average, or flat stock dimension?

RE: Forming a large diameter, super thin dish (Hydroforming?)

Hi Fegenbush,

The part is going to be bonded onto a thicker foam part of the same shape. We actually don't have any tolerances on the thickness of the part yet because trying to get information from our customer is like pulling teeth. I would imagine that would be the average thickness, though.

Do you have any ideas about how this might feasibly be made?


RE: Forming a large diameter, super thin dish (Hydroforming?)

Copper foil can be hand-burnished over (or into) a form made from wood, plaster, etc using semi-flexible plastic paddles or spatulas. You'll need to take care in avoiding creases and wrinkles.

That is a very large part for hydro-forming, even though the forming pressure would be very low, it's just that few places can actually do something that large.

Do you have any finish requirements or critical tolerances?

Electroforming/electroplating is the only other thought that comes to mind, but not sure if that would be practical to your application.

Good luck!

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

RE: Forming a large diameter, super thin dish (Hydroforming?)

I wouldn't even attempt what you are trying to do. I would make your substrate and find a way to plate the substrate with copper. Electroless copper plating if such a thing exists or if the substrate is conductive simply copper plate it.

You haven't talked about accuracy and finish either.


RE: Forming a large diameter, super thin dish (Hydroforming?)

In the past I have worked with the UK division of Superform and they do some pretty amazing stuff. Whilst I cannot say for certain about the American division the size should not be a problem but I have never seen anything that thin done before. Might be worth a phone call?

RE: Forming a large diameter, super thin dish (Hydroforming?)

Thank you everyone for your advice!

I believe that Ornerynorsk and BillPSU are correct and that some sort of electrodeposition process is our best bet.
I've been looking into vendors that do this and the problem seems to be that not many places can electroform such a large part... does anyone know of any vendors with tanks large enough to electroform a part like this?

Thanks again!

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