Bend radius is a very important calculation in sheet metal working. What is the significance of bend radius in sheet metal working?
In this guide, you will learn about sheet metal bend radius and thickness, along with their connection. Also, you will be able to answer the question whether you should set the bend radius less than the sheet metal thickness or not.
Understanding about Sheet Metal Bend Radius
Bend radius in sheet metal working or sheet metal prototyping refers to the radius measurement that the sheet metal materials need to have for it to withstand the bending force you apply into it. The sheet metal bend radius is an important calculation, as it will allow you to bend the sheet metal without causing any damage to it.
If you bend the sheet metal material while setting the bend radius too small, you will risk damaging or cracking the sheet metal material. Meanwhile, if the bend radius for the sheet metal is too large, the bend won’t work too well for the sheet metal. As a result, the sheet metal material might rebound because it will not have a strong bend.
Understanding about Sheet Metal Thickness
Sheet metal thickness is simply the thickness measurement of the sheet metal material. The sheet metal thickness can range from 0.5mm to 6mm, and each sheet metal material has varying thickness measurements depending on their qualities, properties, and other factors. For you to be able to bend the sheet metal material, the thickness of the material must not exceed 6mm. So, anything beyond 6mm thickness will be regarded as metal plates and no longer belong to the sheet metal category.
The thicker the sheet metal materials, the more difficult it will be to bend them. However, the thicker the sheet metal materials also means the stronger and more durable the bend you can apply.
Does Sheet Metal Bend Radius Correlate with Sheet Metal Thickness?
The answer is yes, the sheet metal bend radius will correlate with the thickness of the sheet metal. In fact, we can determine the minimum bend radius for the sheet metal material based on the thickness of the material itself. The general rule is to assign the minimum bend radius the same length as the sheet metal thickness.
So, for instance, if the thickness of the sheet metal is 1mm, then the minimum bend radius you need to assign for it is 1mm. It’s the same if the sheet metal thickness is 6mm.
How about the maximum bend radius? To calculate the maximum bend radius, you just need to add the minimum bend radius with the sheet metal thickness, and then you can multiply the result by 2.
So, for instance, if the minimum bend radius is 1mm, and the thickness is 1mm, then you can calculate the maximum bend radius as follows: (1mm + 1mm) x 2 = 4mm. Thus, the maximum bend radius will be 4mm.
Should Sheet Metal Metal Bend Radius Be Less than Sheet Metal Thickness?
To answer this question, the answer is no, the sheet metal bend radius must not be less than the sheet metal thickness. As explained above, the minimum bend radius should at least be the same as the sheet metal thickness, as it is required for a successful sheet metal bending operation.
So, if you set the bend radius less than the sheet metal thickness, you will risk cracking or damaging the sheet metal material during the bending operation. It is not recommended to do that.
Reasons You Should Not Set the Bend Radius Too Small
- Bad product quality. The first thing you can expect when you set the bend radius too small is the bad overall product quality you will produce during the sheet metal bending process. The product you produce will be full of defects and damages, and it might not be functional.
- Cracking in sheet metal body. Because of the bending application on the sheet metal and the bend radius that is too small, cracking in the sheet metal body can happen. The crack can be small or big, depending on how you force the bend onto the sheet metal material.
- Breaking or damages during bends. Not only cracking, the bend radius that is too small can also break or damage the sheet metal materials during the bending operations. It might also render the sheet metal unusable afterwards.
- Unfitted parts or components. Even if you manage to get a successful bend with the bend radius that is too small, you might still risk having unfitted parts or components in the resulting product. This can be bad if you need to assemble the sheet metal product with other components later.
Reasons You Should Not Set the Bend Radius Too Large
- Wobbliness on the bent part. In sheet metal working, the thinner the sheet metal material, the more likely the wobbliness will happen when you set the bend radius too large. This is not good if you expect to build a strong structure or frame with the sheet metal material.
- Lack of bend durability. The bend radius that is too large will also give the sheet metal lack of the bend durability. You can’t expect it to have a strong and sticky bend if you set the bend radius too large.
- The bend cannot be applied. Another thing that might happen when you set the bend radius too large is that you will not be able to apply the bend correctly. In fact, you might not be able to apply some bend operations on the sheet metal material until you correct the bend radius first.
- Rebound on the sheet metal material. Rebound can also happen when you set the bend radius too large, meaning that the bent part will go back to its initial state. Again, this will not be good if you are trying to build a high-quality and functional component out of the sheet metal material.
Bend radius must at least be equal with your sheet metal thickness, so you can’t set it smaller than that. There will be cracking or damaging on the sheet metals if your bend radius is set for too small.
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