5 Ways to Improve Sheet Metal Parts
Sheet metal parts are the product of a range of qualitative manufacturing processes where production parts are manufactured from flat metal pieces. Before going into the many ways one may improve sheet metal parts, it is imperative to understand the basic qualities of sheet metals.
To begin with, all sheet metal parts start out flat.
They usually have uniform consistency and thickness across the entire part and may be formed in a variety of ways including bending, stamping, holing and incision or spinning of metals into the desired shape. Sheet metals may be used to make parts like chassis, shelves, enclosures or brackets. This guide shares 5 guaranteed ways to improve sheet metals from ordinary into durable professional-grade products.
Holes and Slots
One of the major applications of sheet metal is its use to create brackets or enclosure. Because of this holes and slots will usually be required in the design for use with screws, nuts or bolts.
When dealing with sheet metal production, try to ensure that you consider the material thickness, hole diameter and bend radius when deciding the minimum distanced of the holes from the bend. Your holes should be at least 2.5-3 times the thickness of your material and the bend radius away from the bend, while slots should be 4 times the thickness of the material plus the bend radius away from the bend. When punching holes into your sheet metal, ensure that the distance between holes is at least 6 times the thickness of the metal apart. Generally, ensure that your diameter should be at least equal to or greater than the thickness of the sheet metal as higher-strength materials demand bigger diameters. You should also ensure that your holes are 2 times the material thickness from any edge or wall to avoid a protruding or distended effect.
Bending is another crucial process in sheet metal fabrication. Bending is often very critical that without following certain rules, one may end up damaging the metal. As a rule of thumb, you will need to design in such a way that your inside radium equals or exceeds the thickness of the sheet metal. This is because a smaller internal diameter poses a higher tendency for the sheet metal to become deformed.
As is well known, metals resist bending. To this effect, you will need to keep some bend reliefs in strategic parts to relieve the pressure and aid the process. Finally, when dealing with bends in sheet metals, strive to make sure your bend radius stays uniform.
Notches and Tabs
Notches should be at least 0.125 inches away from one another. When dealing with bends, your notch should be at least three times the thickness of the material plus the radius of the bend. Tabs should be positioned from each other at whichever is greater between 1mm or the thickness of the material
Hems may be flat, open or tear-dropped. When dealing with sheet metal bends, we strongly advise against using flat hems because they risk cracking the sheet metal at bends. For open hems, try to make your inside diameter equal but not significantly greater than the material thickness. This is because a greater diameter may easily lose its circular shape. For tear-dropped hems, your internal diameter should be at least equivalent to the material thickness. Their return length should be at least four times the material thickness while their opening should be at least 25 percent of the thickness of the material.
Away from all the technicalities discussed above, you can improve your sheet metal with an array of finishing services. Sheet metal parts serve many purposes. Depending on what your application, material and end-use maybe, you may decide to anodize, plate, powder coat, paint or bead-blast your sheet metal parts to enhance functionality or appearance.
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