Thursday, Sep 21, 2023

Designing Sheet Metal Parts: Mistakes to Avoid

When designing sheet metal parts, it is crucial to follow specific guidelines so that the end product turns out right. It will help save time, money, and effort in the long run.

Placing features like holes, tabs, and notches too close to bends is a standard error that sheet metal design engineers make. It can lead to a deformed product that will not function properly.

Failing to Consider Material Characteristics

Sheet metal comes in various materials, each with its properties and strengths. Understanding these qualities early in the design process will help you choose a material that can meet the specific needs of your project.

One common mistake that sheet metal designers make is failing to consider the grain structure of their material. Cutting on three sides and bending in or out is essential when creating lugs or tabs.

If a designer does not consider the metal’s grain structure, they can easily cause cracks to form in part. It is because lugs formed parallel to the metal’s grain tend to break.

Failing to Consider Tolerances

Tolerances are vital to ensuring sheet metal parts’ proper fit and function. Designers also provide that the details are consistent during the manufacturing of sheet metal structure design Columbus OH.

A tolerance is a numerical range of measurements assigned to a part’s dimensions that indicate how much a manufacturing team can drift from the nominal size.

Whether you are designing a simple or complex product, it is essential to consider tolerances before starting the production process.

The manufacturer typically determines tolerances but defining them as you design the part is wise. It will ensure the production process is smooth and smooth and save you time and money.

Failing to Consider Bend Radius

When it comes to bending sheet metal, it’s essential to consider the bend radius. This metric ensures that all parts are created with similar bends, resulting in smoother tooling setups and reduced cost.

In addition, a consistent bend radius is essential for avoiding quality losses caused by stretching and compression. If the outer edge of the bend cracks, it can damage the workpiece and affect the final product’s quality.

To avoid this issue, use relief cuts on parts where the bend extends over an edge. These cuts should be at least the material’s thickness in width and no more profound than the bend’s radius.

Failing to Consider U-Channel Strength

U-Channels are a common form of the channel used to create a variety of exciting and valuable items. They can be made of plastic or aluminum and shaped by cold roll forming.

A U-channel is an excellent design that requires the best material strength. If the channel is too weak, it could easily bend or break under pressure.

Another common sheet metal part mistake is locating features like tabs and holes too close to the bend line. It can cause awkward deformation that will save materials, time and money. To prevent this, implement the 4T rule into your CAD designs. This rule states that all features should be at least 4x the material’s thickness away from bend lines.

Failing to Consider a Hem

The sheet metal design benefits greatly from the hexagon, despite its underappreciation. Considering this crucial moment will benefit your design team and your bottom line. A smoother and more durable part will result from starting with this essential design component. It will ensure the long-term success of your project. It also prevents the need for a design review at the project’s onset. The benefits of this strategy are that you will be rewarded with a finished product that meets your exacting standards and, more often than not, your budgetary expectations.

Failing to Consider Bend Relief

Bend relief is one of the most important things to consider when designing sheet metal parts. Without it, the part may rip or tear during bending, resulting in poor quality and potential damage to the tooling.

Bend relief allows the part to fall closer to the design intent and prevents “overhangs” or tearing that can occur when the edge is not perpendicular to the bend. It also relieves material stress.

The width of the bend relief should be equal to at least one material’s thickness in width, and it must be longer than the inside bend radius. It should also be positioned so that its outer perimeter touches the intersection of the inside bend tangent lines.