Home / 3 expert-favoured sheet metal shaping techniques
There are many different facets to sheet metal shaping, a variety of techniques can be used to create the desired shape depending on the type of metal used and the desired product. At Customised Sheet Metal we have more than 29 years of experience honing these skills and creating beautiful, bespoke pieces in a huge range of industries.
In this guide we will take you through three of the most popular sheet metal techniques, their advantages and disadvantages and what kinds of effects and projects they can be used to create.
In this process, sheet metal is passed through two carefully calibrated rolls, in order to reduce the thickness of the metal and to make sure its thickness is uniform. This process is repeated until the metal achieves the desired thickness.
This method of rolling involves heating the metal above its recrystallization temperature, and steel is the most commonly used metal for this process. Hot rolling improves many aspects of the metal including making it tougher and more durable, as well as making it easier to weld afterwards.
Unlike hot rolling, cold rolling is a technique that is performed at room temperature and relies on mechanical force rather than temperature to change the shape of the metal. Like hot rolling, steel is the most commonly used metal although other metals such as titanium and aluminium can also be cold rolled. The benefits of cold rolling are creating a very smooth surface and increasing the strength of the metal.
Simply put, bending is the process of applying force to sheet metal to form the desired shape. Bending is used for a variety of reasons in the sheet metal industry, including creating the desired shape, reducing sharp edges and sometimes merely for cosmetic reasons.
There are multiple types of bending methods, many involve using a tool called a punch and die set. Expert metalworkers like our team at Customised Sheet Metal can advise on the most appropriate bending technique depending on the needs of the project.
Air bending got its name from the fact that only part of the material comes into contact with the punch tool to achieve the desired shape. The further the punch pushes down, the narrower the angle of the bend. This technique requires less force than other types of bending, which can also be used to create a wide variety of angles with just the one tool.
This also involves using the punch and die set, but the material comes into contact on three sides of the punch and die set. Bottom bending requires more force than air bending but produces more accurate angles. Unlike air bending however, it requires multiple unique tools for each different angle bend.
This technique gets its name from its original use – manufacturing coins. The punch tip uses so much force that it penetrates the metal under extremely high amounts of pressure, which relieves the internal stress on the metal and therefore reduces the possibility of spring-back. A drawback to coining is that it requires much more tonnage (punching force) than other types and is harder on the machinery causing more wear and tear.
Welding is a technique that uses electricity to join separate pieces of metal together to form one single piece. It is a process that takes many years of practice to master, and it’s something the team at Customised Sheet Metal have perfected after 29 years in the industry.
There are four main types of welding: Metal Inert Gas (MIG), Metal Active Gas (MAG) welding, Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG), and gas welding and brazing. The type used will be dependent on the type of metal and the needs of the project, but we can weld a multitude of different metals, different thicknesses across a range of sectors. Our specialist welding services extend to being able to weld aluminium, copper, brass, zinc, and tantalum.
Hopefully now you have more understanding about some of the different types of sheet metal shaping techniques used in the metal fabrication industry.
No matter the specifications of your product or project, we have the skills and experience in all aspects of sheet metal fabrication and we are well equipped to help bring your vision to life.