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Eight considerations for sheet metal processing design

sheet metal processing

Sheet metal processing, also called sheet metal processing, is an important process to ensure the formation of sheet metal products. For any sheet metal product, there is a certain processing process, which is the so-called process flow. The main processes of sheet metal processing include cutting,

bending, bending, welding, riveting, etc. These process flows are what sheet metal designers need to be familiar with, and be able to flexibly apply them in actual work to design and process sheet metal parts.
Sheet metal processing is widely used in machinery manufacturing, automobile manufacturing, home appliance manufacturing, architectural decoration and other fields.

Sheet metal process is a versatile and widely-used manufacturing process that involves shaping metal sheets into a variety of components. To ensure the production of high-quality parts that meet design specifications and standards, it’s essential to consider several key design features.

Material selection

Before proceeding with sheet metal processingprocessing, appropriate materials need to be selected. The selection of materials should be determined based on factors such as the use, structure, and size of the sheet metal parts. For example, for sheet metal parts that need to withstand greater pressure, materials with higher strength should be selected; for sheet metal parts that need to be beautiful, materials with beautiful appearance should be selected.

Structural Design

Before proceeding with sheet metal manufacturing, structural design is required. Structural design should consider the strength, stiffness, stability and other factors of sheet metal parts. For example, sheet metal parts that need to withstand greater pressure should be designed into structures with stronger strength and stiffness.

Achieving Uniform Wall Thickness

One of the critical design aspects in sheet metal processing is achieving uniform wall thickness. Irregular wall thickness can lead to alignment and orientation issues, resulting in inaccurate parts and increased production times.

When designing sheet metal parts, aim for simplicity in geometries. Avoid complex shapes that require different thicknesses of sheet metal in a single part. Such complexity can lead to manufacturing challenges, making it essential to carefully consider geometry and material thickness to ensure the final product’s accuracy.

Maintaining Bend Radius

The internal bend radius of a sheet metal component is a crucial factor to consider during design. To prevent distortion and debris in the final part, it’s important to maintain a bend radius that is at least equal to the thickness of the material.

Consistency in bend radius throughout the part not only helps avoid distortion but also contributes to cost-effectiveness. When the bend radius is consistent, it simplifies the fabrication process and ensures that the part aligns with the intended design.

Bend Allowances and Deductions

Understanding bend allowances and deductions is vital for creating accurate flat patterns during sheet metal processing.

  • Bend Allowances : Bend allowances represent the material that needs to be added to the actual length of a part to facilitate the creation of a flat pattern. These allowances vary based on the angle and radius of the bend.
  • Bend Deductions : Conversely, bend deductions involve removing material from the length of the flange to achieve a flat pattern. Accurate calculations of bend deductions are crucial for ensuring precise sheet metal processing.
Eight considerations for sheet metal processing design
sheet metal process

The Significance of K-Factor

The K-factor is a fundamental parameter in sheet metal processing, determining the ratio of the neutral axis to the material thickness.

It’s important to note that the K-factor is not a constant value but can vary based on the physical properties and thickness of the materials used in the manufacturing process. Understanding the K-factor and its variations is essential to achieving accurate sheet metal bends.

Hole and Slot Orientation

The orientation of holes and slots in your sheet metal design is a critical consideration to ensure proper manufacturing.

  • Sizing and Spacing :Holes and slots should have diameters at least as large as the thickness of the metal plate. Additionally, they should be reasonably spaced to avoid weakening the material. Ensuring proper spacing is crucial for structural integrity.
  • Avoiding Edges:Holes and slots should never be too close to the edge of the material. Placing them near the edge can weaken the part and result in unexpected failures during the fabrication process.

Additional Features

In addition to the core design considerations mentioned above, there are several other features to contemplate in sheet metal process:

  1. Hems :Hems are used to create a folded edge on a sheet metal part, providing strength and safety. Consider hemming when necessary for added durability.
  2. Notches and Tabs :Notches and tabs can be incorporated for joining parts or providing precise alignments during assembly. They play a significant role in the ease of fabrication and assembly.
  3. Rolled Edges :Rolled edges are employed to create rounded or curved sections in a sheet metal part. They can enhance the aesthetics of the design and provide safety benefits.
  4. Fillets:Fillets are rounded interior corners that improve the part’s durability and reduce stress concentrations. They are essential in designs where structural integrity is critical.
  5. Countersunk Holes :Countersunk holes are designed to accommodate screws or bolts flush with the surface. Properly designed countersinking can enhance the appearance of the final part.


Design is a very important step before proceeding with sheet metal processing. The rationality of the design directly affects the accuracy and efficiency of sheet metal manufacturing.

Successful sheet metal process begins with meticulous design considerations. Achieving uniform wall thickness, maintaining bend radius, understanding bend allowances and deductions, and grasping the significance of the K-factor are crucial elements. Additionally, hole and slot orientation, as well as the incorporation of features like hems, notches, tabs, rolled edges, fillets, and countersunk holes, contribute to the overall quality and functionality of the final part. By carefully considering these design aspects, you can streamline the fabrication process, save costs, and ensure the creation of high-quality sheet metal components that meet your design specifications and standards.