Blog | | by Patrick

6 tips to optimize your part design

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:

Steel sheets

1mm 12,5mm
1,25mm 13mm
1,5mm 13,5mm
2mm 16mm
2,5mm 20mm
3mm 20,5mm
4mm 27,5mm
5mm 37,5mm
6mm 39mm
8mm 48mm
10mm 70mm
12mm 85mm

Stainless steel sheets

1mm 13mm
1,25mm 13mm
1,5mm 13,5mm
2mm 17mm
2,5mm 21mm
3mm 28,5mm
4mm 30mm
5mm 40,5mm
6mm 41,5mm
8mm 62,5mm
10mm 74mm
12mm 90mm

Aluminium sheets

1mm 13mm
1,25mm 13mm
1,5mm 12,5mm
2mm 17,5mm
2,5mm 19,5mm
3mm 26mm
4mm 27mm
5mm 38mm
6mm 40mm
8mm 61mm
10mm 72,3mm
12mm 86,6mm

Written by

Patrick Klein

Sales Manager

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