Bending Sheet Metal

It is possible to bend a slice of sheet meat with your hand. However, it can only happen if the sheet metal is thin. Alternatively, you can use a tool to handle complex jobs. The most common equipment that many uses for bending are brakes. The sheet metal is always useful for a variety of jobs as it is more flexible to work on. You only require a few primary tools to perform a particular task. Here, in this piece, we will share a few tips that you can apply to get a professional-looking bend.

Type of the Bending Material 

True to the fact, some specific materials are malleable than their counterparts. By this, we mean they will easily bend. On the contrary, other types of materials may weaken or crack during the bending process.

Let’s learn from the examples below:

Mild Steel:The materials are malleable. Interestingly, you can also bend it in the cold without any notable issues.

Spring Steel:It is bendable when wholly annealed. As you get the desired shape, you will also have to heat for better results.

Brass:The zinc percentage in this alloy affects its bendability. For instance, if the alloy has high zinc content, it will be less malleable. Simple bends are always easy to achieve. The user may require heat backup to make complicated bends.

6061 Aluminum: The user may have to anneal this aluminum for him to achieve a proper bend. Cold bending will result in cracking; therefore, this material is miserable to bend.

Bronze:The materials happen to be stiff hence may likely to crack. You can apply more heat if you want to enhance formability.

5052 Aluminum: The metal is highly bendable and easy to work on. You will also forget about cracking. It would help if you avoided constant unbending as it may later break.

Copper: The metal is super malleable. It will easily bend.

Titanium:It is a sturdy material that can likely break your bending tool. You can use a larger bending radius to attain better results. Interestingly, the user has to overbend it so that it can spring back to your desired shape.

Bending Methods

There are a few techniques of bending your sheet metal. Every method has its upsides. The only challenge is how to make accurate bends that will enhance convenience in usage. If you settle for more straightforward techniques, you may not require sophisticated tools to get similar results.

V-Bending

V-bending happens to be the most popular bending technique. Under this method, there are other subgroups such as coining, bottoming, and air bending.  Around 90% of all bending jobs will revolve around bottoming and air bending.

Air Bending

The air bending uses a V-shaped bottom die and a punch tool. The bend radius will get defined by the profile of the punch. The stroke depth will dictate the bend angle. The worker can adjust the stroke depth on the machine.

As a user, you should allow the adequate opening of the bottom die. It would be best if you also took into accounts the bend radius and the material thickness. Typically, the bottom die should be at least 7 to 12 times the thickness of the material. Such a design will guarantee a long life to your bending tool.

Air bendingBottoming

Bottoming also uses a v-shaped bottom die and a punch. In this case, the punch will be pressing the required materials against an inner surface of the bottom die. The bottom tool’s angle will dictate the bend angle.

If you want to achieve more accuracy, then you can use this method. Furthermore, it has less spring back as compared to the air bending method.

Use Heat for Thick and Heavy Bends

You need heat for two critical aspects. They are annealing and hot forming. Some of the metals, such as 6061 aluminum and spring steel, need these processes as they will not crack during the bending process.

Annealing

It is a process of softening the metal to make it more malleable. The process is usually comfortable for both steel and aluminum grades.

Hot Bending

The process is rather simple. You may only need to heat the metal until it becomes red hot. As a result, you can bend it to your desired shape. The process is also tricky to long pieces of sheet. For a little project, the process could be quite straightforward.

How to Protect the Surface

The exercise of bending the metal will result in many scratches. As a user, you must take extra steps to protect the metal’s surface. You can easily put masking tape to the surface where you believe it will get into contact with a hard material.

Suppose the metal continues to get scratched, you may put some more masking tapes. You can also use wood blocks to get better results.

When to use a Brake

You can use a brake to attain the cleanest bends. The brake will allow the user to bend the sheet metal in a continuous motion without any threat of getting warped away. If your garage lacks this tool, please purchase one from Amazon or the nearest store.

If you cannot afford a cheaper one, don’t worry. There are other brakes for rentals. They are inexpensive to manage, and their terms are pocket-friendly. A brake is a vital tool in your garage that will help you to accomplish many tasks.

In Conclusion

Working with different metals require an extra skill. You will have to understand their properties as you use them correctly to attain a particular goal.

In that regard, the bending of the sheet will place a demand on you to use the right tools. Furthermore, you should also treat some metals for you to get the desired bends. The entire process of bending the sheet metal will be easy if you observe the safety measures.

This post carries some answers for you if you are looking for the essential tips on how you should bend your sheet. As you correctly apply them, you will have better returns.