Sheet metal bending is a critical process in custom fabrication. This machining procedure produces folded panels which are useful for diverse construction applications. In ideal circumstances, you should engage a designer if you are planning to order custom folded panels for this type of installation. However, you can create an initial rough design using general know-how. Here are considerations to help you in designing folded panels for construction.
The bend radius is an important factor to consider when designing folded panels for fabrication. Generally, this parameter refers to the minimum radius to which you can bend the sheet metal without causing permanent damage, shortening the lifespan or kinking it. The radius is measured within the inside curvature of the bending panels. In general, there is one major limitation with regard to how small the bend radius can be, or rather how far any panel can be folded.
This critical aspect is the pertinent material used to create the sheet metal for the fabrication and construction. Flexible materials such as mild steel and soft aluminium alloys will fold further without damage creating smaller bend radii. Harder and brittle metals will crack or sustain some damage under high stress. Therefore, discuss the limitations for the material you want to use with your fabricator before continuing with your design.
The bend relief refers to the notch which must be created on the pertinent panels in order to create effective bends. In simple terms, if your sheet metal panel is folded such that the bend is too close or perpendicular to the adjacent edge, the panel will start tearing at the edges. Therefore, you should consider this aspect when creating your folding design. You can either elongate the distance between the bend and the adjacent edge or make small cuts into the panel at the bend to resolve the problem. The bend relief is favourable because it is easier to create. Moreover, the presence of the cracks prevents cracking due to vibration.
Bends and Holes
If there are holes required on your folded sheet metal panels, you should ensure that these are never close together. Normally, you would need to have the sheet metal punched first before bending. However, if you bend the metal in the same area, the hole will become distorted, losing its functionality, and you might also need to pay for extra drilling. Therefore, consider this aspect when creating the design.
For accuracy in the translation of your design requirements, choose a fabricator providing CNC folding services.