Small size channel forming challenges

Daniel Clark - 22 March 2018

There was a time when metal forming of any type was considered a difficult task due to the limited knowledge or proper equipment. However, advancements in science and technology have solved this problem and today there is a wide range of metal forming techniques available in the market.

About the author

Mr Daniel Clark
If you are you in need of a metal channel there are expert fabricators who can fabricate your customized metal angle or bracket based on your business or personal requirements. Today’s metal fabrication services offer custom metal forming at an affordable price. 

Forming metal is simply a process that molds or shapes a metal into a custom, desired form. Metal forming methods include rolling, extrusion, die-forming, forging and indenting. When a particular application requires tensile forming, stretching, expanding and recessing methods are used. While the above mentioned techniques are more for industrial applications, bending with a press brake is commonly used bend any sheet metal into the desired form. 

Sheet metal bending

Sheet metal bending is one of the most popular metal forming methods used in industrial and commercial applications. It is a process that produces a U shape, V shape or channel shape along a straight axis in the sheet metal. 

Sometimes when metal forming very small sized channels, some metal fabricators hesitate to take up the job. There are several reasons for this, one of which is that setting up the brake takes quite some time and that costs money; plus small sized channel metal forming is quite challenging and requires an expert’s supervision to accomplish. 

The main reason fabricators don’t like small sized channel metal forming assignments is that when the channel has legs that are long compared to the base, they end up crashing into the forming dies before the formation of the second bending takes place. In such a scenario, the legs or base will be extended or distorted. It completely ruins the channel. 

So what to do to eliminate any possibilities of the legs crashing to the dies?

Gooseneck dies

Also termed as dog leg or swan neck dies, gooseneck dies can solve the problem. However, it is an expensive investment to buy such dies for a one-off or small job. Therefore metal fabricators may simply refuse to quote for such small metal forming jobs. 

Back bending

By introducing the back bending method, this problem can be solved. It is a method in which a “W” shape is created in the formed part. With this method the leg of the die will not smash into the crash-point and it works well when there are few parts to bend. However, there are some limitations to this method:

  • The metal is flattened and hence, a line will be created down the middle of the channel. If it is important for you to not have such a line, you should not use this method for metal forming. 
  • It requires multiple press brake setups and multiple experts to monitor the process.

In conclusion, small sized metal forming is a difficult task so it is important that you hire an experience metal fabricator such as, a renowned sheet metal fabrication company, to accomplish the task. 

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