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1 Introduction to Preform Design module

In forming process, an intermediate shape so called preform or blocker is necessary if
final forged shape is complex. By using preform shape, lower forming load, uniform
strain distribution, no die under filling and reduced die wear can be obtained by
introducing smooth metal flow.
Conventional way of designing preform shape is inefficient and time consuming in that it
requires many cross sections and the design will be done in 2 dimension so the designed
cross sections need to be connected each other to make 3 dimensional preform shape.

Preform Design module in DEFORM -3D is a special tool to design initial preform
shape from final forged shape. In this process 3 dimensional CAD model will be used as
an input and the designed 3 dimensional preform shape is an output as well. The out put
can be a STL file or DEFORM -3D Keyword format so it is ready to run a simulation.
Another nice feature of Preform Design module is the feature of modification. Once
simulation result is obtained, modified preform shape can be obtained by using Preform
Design module as well.

Fig. 1 Typical preform(blocker) shape design in rib-web type

(dash line forged shape, solid line preform shape)

Chap. 2 Initial Preform Design Scheme

Chap. 2.1 Overview of the scheme of designing initial preform
For a given final part configuration, there are three steps to generate an initial preform
1. Digitizing process - The final part geometry is imported into the system as a
triangulated surface, in STL or other format. The digitizing procedure is first
performed to convert the triangulated surface into a point cloud array.
2. Filtering process - The resulting surface will be passed through a filtering
procedure to produce a smoothed shape. In the filtering procedure, the geometric
domain will be converted into a frequency domain by using a Fourier
transformation. By using the filtering function, high frequency regions (sharp
corners, edges, or small geometric details of a surface) will be removed. An
inverse Fourier transformation will then be applied to obtain a smoothed surface.
3. Trimming process - The trimming procedure is used to control the boundary shape
of a smoothed shape, so as to get a realistic initial preform shape.


Final forged shape
CAD model (STL)

Digitized geometry


Designed Preform shape

Smoothed geometry

By filtering method

Fig. 2 Proposed initial preform design scheme

Chap. 2.2 Lab for Initial Preform Design Scheme

Step 1. Start the new DEFORM interface and create a New Problem.
Choose Preform as Problem Type.
Click Next

Step 2. Select create a new preform shape

Step 3. Select model type
full model - choose this, if upper and lower part is different
upper part only - choose this, if upper and lower is symmetry
Step 4. Choose geometry file by clicking Browse
Following format can be used as an input
PDA (Patran file)
NAS (Nastran file)
UNV (IDEAS file)
DEFORM Keyword

Step 5. Define parting surface

(i) Planar parting surface case

Pick a point on parting surface

(ii) Non-planar parting surface case requires additional parting surface definition
(shown as read color in below)

Step 6. Digitizing - choose the resolution

Step 7. Define volume ratio currently only use flash model is available

Step 8. Define flash model

On clicking Preview after input flash thickness(T) and flash width(W), system
will calculate volume ratio value and display.

Step 9. Define filtered shape

alpha value ~ adjust smoothness
scale value ~ adjust height ( normally 1.0 )

Step 10. Define preform shape

Distance from outer boundary (D) ~ (-) inside cavity, (+) outside cavity
Draft angle (A) ~ degree, positive value


Step 11. Prepare preform geometry

By stitching upper and lower preform shape (for full mode case)
By mirroring (for upper model case)

Step 12. Meshing (if necessary)

Step 13. Save preform


Fig. 3 An example of designed preform shape

Chap. 3 The Preform Modification Scheme

Chap. 3.1 Overview of the scheme of modifying the preform
General considerations for an ideal preform are:

Complete die cavity filling (no under-fill)

Concurrent or near concurrent die filling in every sharp corner
No defects like folds, flow defects, etc.
Uniform flash (uniform volume distribution)
Reduced tool wear (by decreasing load and flow-by die features)

When the undesirable flow conditions occur, two questions are usually considered for
Where the initial preform should be modified?
How much volume should be added or removed at each modification point?
The suggested preform modification scheme is illustrated in Fig. 2.



Initial preform geometry

Simulation result


Desired result



Modified preform geometry

Geometric changes to preform
Fig. 4 Proposed Preform Modification Scheme
Jin Yong Oh, Jae Bong Yang, Wei-Tsu Wu, Hugo Delgado, Finite Element Method Applied to 2D and 3D
Forging Design Optimization, NUMIFORM 2004

Chap. 3.2 Lab for The Preform Modification Scheme

Step 1. Choose existing preform problem or create a new preform problem from
DEFORM -3D main.
Step 2. Select modify preform shape
Step 3. Go to Import simulation result page
Select database name
Select step
Select object

Step 4. Check position ~ if we need

Step 5. Result analysis

Put tolerance value for calculation and click Calculate button
Current implementation can handle only under-fill area. (shown as Flash (-))

under filling area

Step 6. Smoothing preform modification geometry

Step 8. Create modified preform

Put volume change limit to control the amount of the volume which will be

Step 9. prepare preform geometry ~ same

Step 10. generate mesh ~ same
Step 11. save preform ~ same

modified preform

initial preform

volume added

Fig. 5 An Example of Modified Preform Shape