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The near net shape forging of gears offers significant technical and economic advantages over other forms of manufacture. These potential benefits can however only be realized by careful die design. This paper describes a computer-based methodology for achieving this. A Visual-BASIC program has been developed on a rule based system that enables optimal design of the dies taking into account the elastic deflections generated in shrink-fitting the die inserts and that caused by the stresses generated in the forging process. The method also enables the profile of the spark erosion electrode to be determined. An example of the application to forging spur gears is given.