Custom Aluminum Bending
Aluminum bending is a method that includes applying force to aluminum metals to mold them into a specified shape. This causes the metal to bend at an angle, forming a unique shape. A press brake tool is commonly used to bend the sheet metal in this process.
The well-known properties of aluminum make the process of metal bending extremely simple. Aluminum is soft, ductile, malleable, and light in high purity forms. These properties make it possible to bend aluminum without breaking it or producing cracks.
There are 3 types of metal bending:
- Air bending
- Bottom Bending/Bottoming
Plus, we have a wide array of in-house metal processing equipment. We own sophisticated equipment such as aluminum bending machine, section bending machine, aluminum profile bending machine, angle iron roller, angle roller, etc. These allow us to provide unrivaled sheet metal fabrication service to our customers.
For your next aluminum bending project, please contact us immediately!
Aluminum Bending: The Ultimate Guide
Bending aluminum is easy and simple if you have the right information.
A reason this guide explores everything you need to know about aluminum bending process.
Keep reading to learn more.
Bending aluminum sheet
There are a number of ways through which aluminum can be bent or formed.
The choice of the bending procedure is greatly dependent on the type of aluminum alloy being bent.
In each of the methods used for bending aluminum, there are several steps involved
It is important to follow each one of them.
This will help to avoid making mistakes.
It is important to know which method works best for the type of aluminum you are working with.
A few ways on how to bend aluminum are described below.
Brake Bending Aluminum
The bending brake is a unique metal working tool designed for creating accurate linear bends in thin gauge sheet aluminum.
It is made up of a pair of long, slim surfaces, one is fixed while the other swivels freely.
It works by rotating the free platform upwards through the use of a pair of handles.
This action will bend the aluminum sheet at different angles to the unmoving platform.
This method is best suited for bending thin gauge sheets of aluminum.
In this method, the first thing to do is inserting the material in the machine below the clamp bar.
This can be done by removing the clamp bar away from the brake frame.
Then the material is slid in and should be perpendicular to the bending direction.
Next, the clamp bar is then replaced and should be properly sitting inside the standing frame.
The next step is adjusting the edge of the aluminum sheet in order to set the needed bend line.
This is achieved when the material is moved within the machine.
For the purpose of being able to align the bending point with the edge of the clamp.
The following step is attaching a pair of c-clamps that will hold in place the aluminum sheet.
The final step is lifting the apron handles in order to create bends on the aluminum sheet at the required angle.
Avoid application of too much force when moving the material around to avoid breakage or cracks because of its soft nature.
This will help avoid breakage or cracks caused by too much force.
After the bend has been formed, remember to undo the clamps and also lift off or raise the clamp bar.
This should be done before attempting to remove the bent aluminum material from the brake.
Brake bending sheet metal
Bending Aluminum Material Using Arbor Press
This is a tool which is hand operated and is used to create shapes in pieces of aluminum or other similar metals.
A standardized arbor press is small in size the size of a coffee pot meaning it does not eat a lot of space in your work space.
The standard tool of this kind comprises of three parts;
- Flat working surface, also called table plate;
- Piston-like handle used for the application of pressure on the workpiece, also called the anvil;
- Part used to control the anvil, also called hand lever.
The first step in this method, is to set the right bend angle or radius for the aluminum piece.
This is achieved through an angle finder device.
The second step is using a thick piece of wood to create the bend radius for your aluminum piece.
Third step is creating a line on the surface of the aluminum piece you are working on by drawing.
Fourth step needs the use of a steel pipe which must be taped along the drawn line to make sure it is in place.
Second last step involves placing the aluminum material in the press but before then, it must be right in the center of the v-block.
In the last step, the lever should be pulled down and this will move the anvil and create a bend on the material.
Bending Aluminum Sheet Manually
Bending aluminum sheet metal
The steps involved in this method include;
Step one involves drawing a line along the surface of the aluminum piece that needs bending.
The second step involves setting the working piece to be placed on the edge of the working surface.
The third step involves placing a scrap wood right behind the bend line.
The fourth step involves the use of c-clumps to clamp the piece of wood to the aluminum piece.
The final step requires the use of hand to bend the edge of the working piece around the piece of wood.
For this method, one needs to put on a pair of protective gloves especially when dealing with sharp and thin or jagged edged materials.
For creation of sharper bends, it is recommended to tap the crease at the point where the metal curves just lightly.
This can be done using a rubber mallet.
Perfect bends that can be created through this method are the 90-degree angles.
However, with a lot of care, it is possible to create bend of other angles perfectly well.
There are three standard factors that affect the bendability of aluminum alloys as discussed below.
Formability Of Aluminum Alloy
This is described as the ability of the aluminum material or alloy to allow permanent deformation without breaking or cracking.
This kind of deformation is also referred to as plastic deformation.
The formability of a given material will also depend on the force that needs to be applied to create that bend or form as required.
The stronger the material, the harder it is to bend.
There are tests available for determining the formability of a material.
Thickness And Bend Radius Of Aluminum Alloy
The effort needed to bend a material will depend greatly on the thickness of the material and the radius on the bend.
The thicker the material, the harder or difficult it is to bend.
A small radius for a bend on any material could probably cause a breakage or a crack, just like with any aluminum alloy.
There are standard general rules that are used to guide manufacturers when it comes to bending of the aluminum alloys.
This is greatly dependent on the properties such as the radius and how thick the aluminum material is.
The ability of any kind of material to stand tension and to what extend will determine its percent elongation.
Deforming an aluminum piece under tension also referred to as plastic strain of aluminum will determine the percent elongation.
An aluminum alloy which is more ductile and can undergo significant permanent deformation with an increase of the applied stress.
This type results in a great aluminum alloy bendability.
There are a number of alloying agents that can be used with aluminum to form the different types of aluminum alloys.
The aluminum alloys that fall under 1XXX, 5XXX and 3XXX Series have better bendability properties compared to other aluminum alloys.
A few aluminum alloys within the 6XXX series can also bend fairly well.
When choosing an aluminum alloy for a project, it is also very necessary to look into their other properties.
The type of work the aluminum metal material will be used for determines the exact properties.
Below is a list of the top best aluminum alloys with the best bendability properties.
Aluminum Alloy 3003
This is the alloy formed with manganese and aluminum.
Most manufactures prefer this type of alloy when it comes to bending applications.
The strength is medium, can be cold-worked, and has high elongavity.
It is normally used for making roofing, gutters, siding, storage tanks, siding, downspouts and chemical equipment.
It can be cold-worked and this process will create tempers that are of higher strength and lower ductility.
This alloy cannot be forged but it can be extruded and rolled.
Aluminum Alloy 5052
The main alloying element for this type of aluminum alloy is manganese.
Aluminum alloy 5052 has moderate or high strength properties.
Despite the strong characteristics, it is still easy to bend.
It can be used for more intense applications as compared to aluminum alloy 3003.
Also, it can be elongated up to approximately 20% and it is not heat treatable.
It is one of the best corrosion resistant materials available in the market today.
This alloy can be used with applications that involves sea water because it has perfect resistance to corrosion.
It is usually used to make hardware and traffic signs, hydraulic tubes, marine equipment, medical equipment, aircraft, heat exchangers, fuel lines, flooring panels, street lights, rivets, wire and electronics.
Aluminum Alloy 6061
This is stronger than the already discussed alloys of aluminum.
This means it also has lower formability properties compared to the ones discussed above.
Alloy is formed between silicon, magnesium and aluminum, the strength therein is improved through treatment by heat.
It is very versatile and can be perfectly heat treated and elongation can be allowed up to 18%.
Also, it is widely known as the structural aluminum since it is mostly used in the construction industry.
It be welded easily and can be extruded.
Besides, it is one of the commonly used alloys for general purposes.
It exists mostly in the pre-tempered form.
This alloy is also best suited for use in making rescue ladders, food and beverage containers, aircraft and automotive parts, bicycle frames,
Other applications include, scuba tanks, yacht construction like in utility boats, aluminum docks, ultra-high vacuum.
Aluminum sheet bending
In metallurgy, a temper is used to improve or add more mechanical properties to the metals or alloys
This can be done through quenching, cold working or heat treatment combined with precipitation.
O-temper is best suited for aluminum alloys that cannot be treated by heat such as 3XXX and 5XXX alloys.
The T4 temper is best suited for alloys like 6XXX, 2XXX and 7XXX alloys which can be heat-treated.
This is possible because of its low yield strength.
The disadvantage of this is that the T4 condition has a yielding strength which changes over time.
This happens due to the natural ageing which is a process that leads to slow hardening taking place over time.
The change in yield strength takes place slowly and might be insignificant over a short period of time.
However, it might still create spring back differences in other bending processes.
That is why other industries prefer the bending process done in a T6 condition.
An alternative is to use the special heat treatments used to stop the natural ageing process.
This will mean that the material will be heat treated under T6 condition after the bending process.
T4 temper is not that hard to bend and it has a low yield strength but can cause spring back variations.
T6 temper is very difficult when bending but the good thing is that there are no problems like spring back variation.
There are countless parts that can be made through bending the aluminum alloys.
Below is a list of some of these parts and components.
In the automotive industry, aluminum is bent to make parts and components like automotive body parts, bumper parts, seat parts, fuel lines.
Aluminum alloys are also used to create bends for parts in electronics such as satellite dish parts, LED bulb parts, iPhone parts, tablet parts.
Other electronic parts produced through aluminum bending include; Smartphone parts, Laptop parts, flat-screen TV parts, computer monitor parts.
Other applications for bent aluminum include; downspout parts, aluminum foil, gutter parts, traffic sign parts
In the construction industry, aluminum is used for roofing parts, flooring panels, siding parts, heat exchangers.
They are also used to make furniture parts such as table parts, chair parts, lamps parts, picture frame parts, decorative panel parts.
Aluminum is also used in the aerospace industry for creating parts like cooling system pump casting parts, aircraft parts, barometric pressure reservoir parts, wings, fuselages.
Other parts include; Television antennae parts, street lights, rivets, wire, ultra-high vacuum, aluminum cans for packaging of food.
For all your aluminum bending parts, contact us now.