From Laser Cutting to Press Brake Forming & Folding

Blog | March 9th, 2023

Various equipment and methods are available for cutting sheet metal, ranging from small manual shears known as tin snips to enormous powered shears. As technology has advanced, sheet metal cutting has shifted its focus to computers to achieve more precise cutting. The computer numerically controlled (CNC) laser cutting or the multi-tool CNC punch press are two of the most common tools for cutting sheet metal.

How it Works

A press or a laser CNC machine can cut a blank sheet of metal into a standard component (for example, the side of a computer case) with high precision in less than 15 seconds. The component may be the side of a computer case.

The edge may have a quality similar to a mirror, and it is possible to attain an accuracy of around 0.1 mm (0.0039 in). It is possible to achieve cutting rates of up to 25 metres (82 feet) per minute while working with thin sheets measuring 1.2 millimetres (0.047 inches) in thickness. A large number of laser cutting systems utilise a laser source that is based on CO2 and has a wavelength of around 10 m. More contemporary laser cutting systems use a YAG-based laser with a wavelength of approximately 1 m.

The CNC laser process involves moving a lens assembly across the surface of the metal while simultaneously moving a beam of laser light. The same nozzle from which the laser beam emerges is also used to feed oxygen, nitrogen, or air into the system. The metal is first burned with a laser beam and then heated up, which results in the sheet of metal being sliced.

Folding and Forming Using a Press Brake

Hammering, either manually or with an electric hammer, press brakes, and other similar instruments are used to bend metal. Modern metal fabricators use press brakes to either coin or air-bend flat metal sheets into the desired shape. This bending form is used to create components out of sheet metal that is long and thin. A press brake is the name of the piece of machinery that rotates the metal. The V-shaped groove known as the die may be found in the lowest half of the press. The upper part of the media consists of a punch that forces the sheet metal down into the V-shaped die, which causes it to bend. This piece of the media is called the media head.

Folding & Forming Techniques

Several techniques may be employed, but “air bending” is perhaps the most popular revolutionary method today. In this instance, the die has an angle that is more acute than the required bend (usually 85 degrees for a 90-degree curve), and the top tool’s stroke is precisely regulated to force the metal down the volume necessary to bend it through 90 degrees.

A machine designed for general use typically has a bending force of around 25 tonnes per metre of length that is available for use. In most cases, the opening width of the lower die is eight to ten times more than the thickness of the metal that is to be bent (for example, 5 mm material could be deformed in a 40 mm die). The width of the bottom die, rather than the top tool’s working range, determines the inner radius of the bend that is created in the metal. In most cases, the inner radius corresponds to one-sixth of the V-width employed throughout the forming process.

Machine Specifications

The press will typically have some back gauge location along the workpiece that measures the depth of the bend. The back gauge might be controlled by a computer, enabling the operator to obtain a sequence of bends in a component with an extremely high degree of precision. Simple machines regulate the backstop, whereas more complex machines handle the location and angle of the stop, its height and the height of the two reference pegs used to identify the material. The machine is also able to record the precise location and pressure that is necessary for each bending operation, which enables the operator to achieve a flawless 90-degree bend throughout a variety of procedures that are performed on the part.

Contact us today for all your folding and forming needs. We are here to help.

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