Sheet metal bending involves various processes that allow you to bend the sheet metal materials using the bending machine. This guide will help you learn the basic knowledge about the sheet metal bending process.
What is Sheet Metal?
Sheet metal is a type of malleable and bendable metal material that has the thickness of around 0.5mm to 6mm. With sheet metal materials, you can perform the bending sheet metal operations to get the shapes you want. Manufacturers often use sheet metal materials to make various parts and components in a wide range of industries, such as automotive, construction, consumer electronics, and more.
Sheet metals are one of the most important industrial materials you will need to use during your manufacturing production. The parts and components created with sheet metal materials will often get combined or assembled with the parts and components created with other manufacturing methods.
What is Sheet Metal Bending?
Sheet metal bending is a part of the sheet metal working process that involves using a bending machine to apply a force to bend the sheet metal. With sheet metal bending, you can shape the sheet metal materials into the shape that you want to get. By using the bending machine, you can apply the bends on various areas of the sheet metal to create U or V shapes on the sheet metal.
To apply the right bend for the sheet metal material, you will need to calculate and set the bend radius before proceeding. The bend radius that is too small can result in cracks or damages on the sheet metal materials, whereas the bend radius that is too large can result in the bend not being applied correctly.
The bending process of the sheet metals will also be affected by the thickness of the sheet metal materials. The thicker the materials, the more difficult the bending process will be.
The Steps Involved in Sheet Metal Bending
The sheet metal bending process involves the use of the bending machine to apply the specific bending force towards the sheet metal materials. You will need to configure the machine first to ensure that it can work according to your design requirements.
Here are the steps involved in the sheet metal bending process:
- Preparing the sheet metal materials. First, you will need to prepare the sheet materials you will use for the sheet metal bending process. Different materials will offer you different features, which will end up affecting the overall quality of the product you will produce with this method.
- Calculating the bend radius. Next, you will need to calculate the bend radius of the sheet metal to ensure that you can set the right bend radius for the bending operation later. Please note that the bend radius cannot be too small or too large if you want to apply a successful bending operation on the sheet metal.
- Preparing the bending equipment. Now, it’s time for you to prepare the bending equipment, which you will use to apply the bending operation. You will need to configure some settings on the bending equipment first before proceeding. Just be sure that your setting configurations match with your design requirements.
- Placing the sheet metal on top of the bending equipment. Once the bending equipment is ready, you will need to place the sheet metal materials on top of the bending equipment. This is where you can start the bending process.
- Start the bending process. The bending process will start, and the bending machine will carry out the bending operations according to your settings and configurations. You will need to keep feeding the machine with the sheet metal materials until you have completed the bending production goal.
- Quality checking. Next, when everything is complete, you can check the quality of the sheet metals you have bent earlier. You can check each completed production, so you can decide which parts or components can go to the next production process.
Various Bending Techniques for the Sheet Metal Materials
- Air bending. Air bending is the bending process that will leave some air space around the bent area, allowing you to bend the metal without touching the bottom of it. This bending process might offer less precision, but it is useful if you want to create shallow bends using a consistent bend radius.
- Coining. Coining is a special process you can use to make coins from the sheet metal materials. With coining, you will need to use an accurate design for the coins, so that the bending press equipment can create precise coins with the measurements that follow your exact design requirements.
- Bottoming. Bottoming is a regular sheet metal bending operation whereby you will let the bend equipment go through the bottom of the sheet metal materials. This technique will give you much more accurate bends when compared to air bending and some other bending processes.
- Folding. Folding is a sheet metal bending operation that has the purpose of folding the sheet metal to a certain angle. You will need to use clamps to perform this process. Also, you can apply different folds in a single sheet metal piece, giving you some flexibility in how you can use this process to your advantage.
- Wiping. Wiping is the bending process for the sheet metal, which allows you to create bends on the edges of the sheet metal. The wiping process uses the press brake to bend along the edges of the sheet metal in a wiping movement.
- Rolling. Rolling is another unique bending sheet metal operation that allows you to roll the sheet metal material to form a curve. You can also use this process to create pipes or tubes out of the sheet metal materials.
- Joggling. Joggling is the process of creating bends in different directions of the sheet metal material. It will allow you to form the shapes similar to the word S or Z, and you can repeat the process as needed.
There are various sheet metal bending techniques you can use to apply various types of bends on the sheet metal material. You will need to ensure that the bend radius of the sheet metal is not too small or too large, so that you will get the best result from the bending operations.
TEAM Rapid can help you complete your sheet metal working and prototyping projects. We are a manufacturing company based in Hong Kong, with a factory based in China. You can ask for more information about our services if you are interested in.