The changing dynamics of industrial and manufacturing company requirements call for accurate optimization through laser cutting and sheet metals fabrication. The industries and the producers must equip themselves with suitable technology and top-notch machinery. However, it is equally important to attain a great deal of knowledge and experience. To ensure efficient utilization of your resources, you must follow some of the best practices as a guide.

As a designer and producer, these tips will help you ace your profession and seek customer’s pleasure. You may be able to deliver a high-quality product with efficiency. On the other hand, as a client, you will have an idea about the working of the designs to customize accordingly. You may also get your job done quickly at a cost-friendly rate. These best practices will ensure smooth designing and fabrication of sheet metals and custom laser cutting.

What you will learn:

Key Factors affecting metal fabrication:

Various factors influence the sheet fabrication process. Before diving into the best practices involved in laser cutting jobs and sheet metal fabrication, it is essential to know some factors influencing the process. So without further ado, let’s begin with the key factors that affect the sheet metal fabrication process.

While designing a custom sheet metal, you should pay attention towards:

Wall thickness:

It is essential to maintain a regular and constant wall thickness throughout the design during the sheet metal fabrication process.

According to the recommendation of experts, the wall thickness should range between 0.5-10 mm for laser cutting and 0.5-6 mm for the bending process. Regardless of the wall thickness, it is crucial to maintain a uniform thickness.

Fabrication tolerance:

Since the bends in the metal can cause the
material to stretch, sheet metal fabrication tolerances are relatively more prominent than the CNC machine tolerance.

It is noteworthy that if a metal undergoes multiple processes and bends, it becomes challenging to obtain tight tolerance. Hence, it would be best to look for the tolerance that generally suits the pattern of all the industries. Moreover, you might achieve a high tolerance at the expense of the complexity of the process and the costs.

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Best practices for laser cutting and sheets metal fabrication:

Now let’s delve into the details of best practices to ensure a smooth laser cutting and sheet metal fabrication process.

Smooth Filling for smooth handling:

It is vital to add fillets to the sheet metals to create a smooth filling. The sheet metals have incredibly sharp corners that can be dangerous while handling. Therefore, taking precautionary measures and adding fillets is essential to avoid accidents and catastrophes during handling and fabrication.

Cutting kerf:

A heuristic guideline for the laser cutting process would be to cut the kerf. Removal of a minute amount of material is called a cutting kerf. During laser cutting, the minimum kerf is produced at 0.3 mm. However, the precise quantity of the material depends upon the type of the material and laser beam width.

It’s a critical practice, especially if you are designing the parts so that they need to be fit into each other while arranging them. A general rule is to combine half of the kerf with the inner object and remove the other part of the kerf from the outer side of the thing.

Keep the diameter of the hole large:

It’s also necessary to keep the diameter of the holes more prominent than the thickness of the sheet metal. Holes are having a lower diameter than the thickness of the metal. It may cause deformation and inaccuracy due to the intrusion of the kerf caused by a laser beam or other contortion.

You may cut smaller holes using the laser beam. But if you want to stay on the safe side, it would be best to cut holes of the same size or larger size than the thickness of the sheet.

Keep holes apart:

Another excellent practice to follow while forming and bending the sheets would be to keep the holes a minimum of 2 times apart from each other. If the gaps are too close, they would eventually lead to deformation or becoming damaged.

Another pro tip would be not to place the holes too close to the edge. It also leads to damage and deformation.

Include bend relief:

If there’s material deposition on both sides of the bend, stress can build up and increase. As a result, the sheet metal can deform. Bend cuts and relief cuts can help reduce the stress and increase the stiffness of the material. As a result, bend reliefs and scrapes can help to prevent tearing.

Bend radius:

While configuring a custom sheet metal part, a vital tip would be that a small bend radius will create a high strain for the workpiece.

Hence, the inside radius of any bend must equal the thickness of the sheet metal. It is imperative in case you are using ductile metals like stainless steel. Brittle metals have an advantage of a relatively more significant bend.

Bend orientation:

One of the most popular techniques of forming and customizing sheet metal designs is bending. Bending involves brakes bending sheet metals into the preferred designs or geometry. We highly recommend ensuring that all the bends have the same orientation.

In this way, you also make sure that there is no need for reorientation of any part. This practice reduces the overall costs and time consumption in the process.

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