5 Tips for Sheet Metal Design

Sheet metals are used in countless everyday objects including cars, planes, building roofs, for equestrian purposes, and more. This suggests that sheet metal has become a backbone of the modern day applications. The reliability of a product depends on the quality of sheet metal used. This means the sheet designer needs to follow a set of design strategies that will help produce accurate metal sheet parts. What are these design strategies? Read below to know more. 

5 Useful Sheet Metal Design Tips

The following tips are based on standardized manufacturing practices.  

1. Bending Radius: The sheet metal must withstand stress during the flexure test. This test is performed to check the bendability of the metal sheet. If a sheet metal is bent beyond a point, it cracks down. This point is referred to as the minimum bend radius. 

A designer should always design metal sheet parts keeping the minimum bend radius in mind. The accuracy of minimum bend radius depends on two factors – the process and the selection of tool. Smaller bend radius is possible for ductile sheets. If you are working with mild steel, the minimum bend radius should be equal to its thickness. 

Most modern Design for Manufacturability (DFM) software platforms take these factors into consideration. These software platforms propose industrially accepted standards, and help designers incorporate their ideas efficiently. 

2. Hole Sizes: In any sheet metal project, specifying the hole size, as well as location is very important. It is always better to mention the hole size larger than the sheet thickness. If the hole size is reduced, small size punches will be required. If the punch size becomes too small the sheet may distort or break down during punching. 

It is recommended that the spaces between two holes should be at least two times the thickness. The distance between two holes will help in avoiding deformation during processes like forming or bending. 

3. Flange Width: Basically flanges are internal or external ridges, which help in positioning or strengthening an object. There is a standard rule of sheet metal fabrication – the flange width should not be less than 4 times the metal sheet thickness. This is because the lower flange width may leave marks on the metal sheets. 

4. Edge Bending: This is performed during sheet metal fabrication to strengthen the edges. If performed incorrectly, it may create unnecessary complications. To avoid any such issue, it is recommended to have provisions for angles lesser than 90 degrees. 

5. Clearance between a Bend and a Hole: It is very important to maintain a clearance between a bend and hole to avoid deformation during other processes. The sheet metal design rule is – the distance between the bend line and the hole edge should be two times greater than the thickness of the metal stock. 

All the above-mentioned tips, along with a strong design for manufacturability, and assembly software will ensure faultless designs. Accurate sheet metal designs help in minimizing waste, and improve efficiency for service providers. 

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