Sheet Metal Fabricating: The Perfect Pairing of Man & Machine
Leading the industry since 1996, there’s nothing Lightning Laser cannot do when it comes to steel. Whether you’re looking for powder coating, anodising or laser cutting services in Melbourne, our company can deliver high-quality sheet metal fabrication. Here at Lightning Laser, we take pride in the excellence of our services and workmanship. Our company is made up of highly skilled sheet metal fabricators that work with stringent quality control practices to ensure every product is made to exact specification.
We also invest in state-of-the-art bending and CNC sheet metal fabrication machines, which enable our experts to achieve top-notch and consistent quality that is on par with national standards. If you require sheet metal fabrication services of the highest architectural standards, consider the benefits of sheet metal bending.
What Is Sheet Metal Bending?
Sheet metal bending or forming is one of the vital processes in sheet metal fabrication. It involves applying force to reshape different metals into a specific geometric shape.
As a part of the sheet metal fabrication process, bending can be done with materials such as carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminium. Our finely-tuned techniques and expertise allow us to deliver anything from once-off sheet metal work to large-scale manufacturing for thick plates.
Discover the Benefits of Sheet Metal Bending for Yourself
Compared with other laser cutting and fabrication processes, sheet metal bending has several stand-out qualities and benefits that make it a preferred technique for sheet metal fabrication.Methods of sheet metal bending are highly efficient, requiring minimal time and energy to produce great results. Bending machines themselves require very little maintenance and, consequently, have low maintenance costs, meaning lower rates for customers.
Bending or folding machines are also highly automated and exceedingly simple to operate. With these machines, there is no need to replace the upper and lower moulds, meaning quicker builds for you. Unlike sheet metal laser cutting, bending has the ability to mould metal into shapes like non-right angles, right angles, circular arcs and pressing dead edges, giving you greater versatility.
These bending methods are also suitable for the flat moulding of various materials, further expanding your options. Although the different methods of metal sheet bonding are characterised by slightly different capabilities, they each fulfil their specific purposes with incredible precision, getting you the result you want.
The 5 Methods of Sheet Metal Bending: Which Is Right for You?
Each of the following techniques has the ability to bend sheet metal in a particular way. Most of these sheet metal bending techniques offer similar capabilities, but each has its own specific purpose. To form sheet metal into a precise shape requires real expertise and a specialised machine, just like those at Lightning Laser.
V-bending is the most common metal bending technique. It requires a V-shaped press punch and a V-shaped die. The punch folds the metal sheet while pushing it into the V-shaped groove of the die. The extent to which the punch presses downwards — and by extension, the size of the gap left between the sheet and the bottom of the die—depends on the exact technique used. These techniques include air bending, bottoming and coining.
In coining, you want to achieve a bend that conforms perfectly to the shape of the die — leaving no gaps. This bend can only be achieved by applying the punch with tremendous force. The force behind this technique is up to 30 times more powerful than that of other V-bending techniques. To get maximum accuracy, the punch and the die must also have the exact right angles. Without any gap between the sheet and the bottom of the die, the sheet itself can be imprinted with the punches’ detailed engravings. Thus, coining is a highly accurate bending process that should result in less springback.
Bottoming also forces the sheet metal to match the shape of your die, only it leaves a small space between the metal sheet and the bottom of the V-shaped notch. This space plays a significant role in deciding the final angle for sheet metal bent in bottoming. Since bottom bending uses less tonnage than coining, the metal experiences some springback. It therefore naturally relaxes to a wider angle after bending. Nevertheless, springback is still minimal and the entire process is highly accurate. Though not as rigorous as coining, bottoming is ideal for less delicate projects that don’t require thinning or engraving.
3. Air Bending
Air bending uses a punch that pushes the sheet metal into the V-shaped hollow of the die but not to the point where it comes into contact with the die. This controlled application of force will result in a tremendous amount of springback. Air bending is the most flexible V-bending technique, as it can produce different bend angles using the same method and tools. However, air bending is not as precise as other methods, so it is not ideal for producing identical parts in bulk. However, it can be more cost-effective if you need a single part.
U-bending works uses the same principle as V-bending; the method also relies on a punch and die assembly. However, this die has three straight edges that are perpendicular to each other. As a result, U-bending creates two 90-degree bends simultaneously through a single stroke of the press brake.
Step bending or bump bending uses multiple V-bend methods to create a broad and smooth bend with a large radius. Several V-bends are made adjacent to each other with a press brake machine. By arranging the V-bend spacing more closely, the custom sheet metal fabricator creates an illusion of a broader and smoother curved bend.
When it comes to quality, roll bending is the best for producing curved bends on sheet metal. We use a roll bender machine that has three rollers. Two of these rollers remain stationary while one actively rotates. This technique works by clamping the sheet metal between two bottom rollers and a top roller. The area of the sheet metal that is pressed between the rollers will then take on a circular bend, imitating the shape of the top roller. You can adjust the position of the top roller to determine the radius of the curve. When the sheet metal is fastened and secured, the top roller will start to rotate. The machine will then pull in more sheet metal and reshape the metal to follow the curve of the top roller.
Rotary bending uses a rotary bender, which is a specialised machine for making high-precision bends that do not leave marks on the sheet metal. Its top die can fully rotate and has the shape of your desired angle fabricated into it. When the die is pressed into the sheet metal, it rolls into position to push the sheet metal against a matching bottom die. The gradual application of force is gentle on the sheet metal, making it the best method for products that have been coated or painted. In addition, it requires much less power than some other forms of bending and creates minimal distortion in the sheet metal’s dimensions.
Explore Our Extensive Sheet Metal Fabrication & Laser Cutting Services
As well as sheet metal bending or folding, Lightning Laser can provide you with various laser cutting services. These services are precise and accurate, and suitable for a wide range of materials, including various metals, plexiglass, corrugated plastic, laser cut acrylic, rubber, and wood and timber. We can also help if you need to engrave an image, piece of writing or a commercial logo into your material, we can help with this too. Our laser engraving services produce accurate and detailed results, creating engravings that will never wear down.
We also offer galvanising services, which is a metal improvement service that ensures your metal is protected from corrosion. This can be just what you need if you need a particularly robust part or signage. With all these services on offer, you can trust that all your laser cutting and metal sheet fabrication needs can be met by the experienced team at Lightning Laser.
Expert Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication in Australia
Are you looking for first-rate sheet metal bending and other metal fabrication services in Melbourne? Whether you need light or large sheet metal fabrication for your home’s roofing or for industrial work, Lightning Laser has the best local sheet metal fabricators. We can help with a wide variety of services, including laser cutting, bending, galvanising and anodising, to name a few. Book a consultation today to get a free quote!