Metal Magic: Creating Panels in the Midnight Sea via Hydroforming

One of the disadvantages of today's high-strength steel body panels is that they can't be drawn as deeply in a metal press as the more pliable, thicker panels of yore without cracking leading to less flexibility for stylists. However, by using hydroforming, which stresses the metal less than a traditional stamping process, panels can be drawn up to 40% deeper than with traditional methods. The downside? Hydroforming a panel takes up to a minute, as opposed to a few seconds on to a conventional stamping press. Still, for low-volume vehicles like the Pontiac Solstice, this doesn't present much of a problem. The Detroit News has the lowdown on the process, which uses one stamping die and 3,000 psi to work its magic. Autographed copy of Lock Up The Wolves not included.

New twists in metal-forming put curves in all the right places [Detroit News]

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