Designing faster, more efficient and more flexible - how you can master this balancing act as a design engineer.
The increasing complexity of product development and the demand for shorter development processes present designers like you with major challenges on a daily basis. As a developer, you are under pressure to minimize the time to market and at the same time to react as flexibly as possible to the needs of the customer. In the design process, you are largely left on your own. Frequently, the search for design errors is like looking for a needle in a haystack and often unnecessarily prolongs development times.
The following six design tips for bending and laser cutting sheet metal will help you optimizing your design during the creation process:
1 | Consider crossing bending lines
You have invested hours in your 3D design and then realize that the designed part cannot be unfolded? Our tip: Separate the shortest bend at three intersecting bending lines to make the sheet metal part unfoldable.
If this edge has to be closed afterwards, a weld seam or another manufacturing process must be used.
2 | Avoid overlapping surfaces during unfolding
What to do if your part can be unfolded, but the plate has overlapping surfaces? The consequence: Your part cannot be manufactured with the help of a one-piece laser cut. Therefore, regularly check your 3D design in the design process for overlaps in the unfolded state.
3 | Observe minimum dimensions for hole diameter
Sheet metal plate too thick, hole diameter too small? If the minimum hole diameter is undercut, too much energy input on one surface will lead to a faulty production result. You can achieve the desired workpiece quality for your laser cut by observing the minimum dimensions:
Minimum hole diameter = 0.7 x material thickness
4 | Process-safe bending of sheet metal
To prevent bending from breaking, a minimum tool-related dimension must be maintained during the bending manufacturing process. If the length is too short, the workpiece cannot be bent.
For a 90° bend, the smallest possible leg length Smin can be calculated using the width W:
Smin = √2/2 * W
Looking up design notes in a table is a thing of the past – do you already know our tool for calculating the minimum leg length when bending? Select the material type, the bending angle and the corresponding material thickness and have the value for the minimum leg length conveniently output - process reliability guaranteed.
Example: A plate made of aluminum (AlMg3) with a sheet thickness of 2 mm and a bending angle of 45° can be bent with Lmin = 17.20 mm
5 | Add relief slots
If cutouts are located too close to the bending zone, they will be deformed during the bending process. The unwanted deformation often has a visual, sometimes a functional influence on your part. Example: If the minimum hole spacing is not maintained, the screw-on situation is no longer given with a deformed hole. You can remedy this by adding relief slots.
6 | Pay attention to minimum step dimensions for Z-bends
Opposite bends, so-called Z-bends, are often designed incorrectly and lead to unnecessary coordination loops with the work preparation department. To avoid collisions between the bending tool and the part, a minimum step dimension Xmin must be maintained for two successive bends: