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Laser cut sheet metal work

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Laser cut sheet metal work

Laser cut stainless steel blanks

Laser cut stainless steel blanks

Laser cut stainless steel blanks

Here’s a nice little example of using laser cutting techniques to produce a stainless steel blank. This blank will be bent up into quite a complex bracket which will hold a light fitting in place on a ceiling. The stainless steel blank was being produced by CNC punching which produced the desired shape but needed a lot of hand deburring to clean up all the outer profile. Moving the part from our CNC punch presses not only produce a neater part but removed all the deburring operation and speeded up delivery of the part for our customer. Changing the CNC program from the CNC punch press to our Trumpf 3030 fibre laser took only a matter of minutes as the CAD symbol is held within the Radan CAD/CAM software independent of the machine type giving maximum flexibility to production schedules. Having both CNC punching and laser cutting allows us to select the best production method for whatever sheet metal work project our customers need.

Laser cut mild steel nest

Laser cut mild steel nest

Laser cut mild steel steel nest

If you click on the laser cut sheet nest you can see a pattern of complex mild steel components. These parts as with the stainless steel parts above were once produced on our Trumpf CNC punch presses but now have found a home on our laser cutter due to the reduction in cleaning up, better sheet utilisation and a cleaner finished product for our customer. These mild steel parts have been cut with oxygen as the assist gas which although it cuts with an oxide edge is not a problem as these parts will be zinc plated and clear passivated removing all traces of the cutting oxide.

Laser cut aluminium mounting plates

Laser cut aluminium mounting plates

Laser cut aluminium mounting plates

Having included examples of laser cutting stainless steel and mild steel I thought no blog post would be compete without the inclusion of laser cutting aluminium. These 1.5mm thick aluminium mounting plates have been laser cut and folded without the need for edge deburring. This is a new sheet metal work project and we decided to put it straight onto our laser cutter as some of the cut outs you can see here we didn’t have standard tooling for and the volume was 200 off so it fitted perfectly into the range of work for our laser.

If you have a sheet metal work project whether in stainless steel, mild steel or aluminium sheet and you want a free quote to produce it then please give us a call or email us your drawings and we will be happy to help in any way we can.


CNC punching sheet metal

Friday, August 15th, 2014

CNC punching sheet metal

Here’s a great example of CNC punching sheet metal in the form of pre-anodised reflector material used for light fittings.


Fast Tube by Casper

For more information on CNC punching please take a look at Trumpf 200/3000R CNC punch

General information on CNC punching and tooling can be found on What is cnc punching?

If you have a sheet metal project that needs CNC punching and you want to see which tooling to define without any costs please take a look at Trumpf standard 2D tooling


Welded aluminium fabrications

Wednesday, August 6th, 2014

Aluminium welded covers

Aluminium welded covers

Welded aluminium brackets

Welded aluminium brackets

Typical examples of aluminium sheet metal components that have been welded and cleaned up in our factory in Fareham, Hampshire

Aluminium is an easy sheet metal to work with due to it’s malleability. It’s ideal for CNC punching and nice and quiet when being pierced, it’s also easy to form, depending on the grade. Tig and Mig welding needs more skill than mild or stainless steel but cleaning up is easier due to its softness. We produce many different aluminium fabrications some with simple corner tack or seam welds, complete welded enclosures like these curved covers right up to welded aluminium enclosure assemblies.

For more examples of welded components manufactured by V and F Sheet Metal please follow the link.


Sheet metal work folded components

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Sheet metal work folded components

Copper angle brackets

Copper angle brackets

Small copper angle brackets which have been CNC punched out from 1.5mm copper sheet and folded into right angles on our Trumpf 7036 CNC press brakes. The angle brackets have been barrel de-burred to remove all sharp edges after CNC punching. These copper angle brackets were manufactured for one of our customers in Hampshire who produce electrical switch gear components and needed 2000 angles in a hurry. The ease with which we could respond to their request with a quote, CNC program and manufacture the angle brackets won us the order. Although the brackets look dull and stained here they were then acid dipped to bring out the full clean shine of the copper before being used by the customer in their products.

Galvanised steel folded chassis plates

Galvanised steel folded chassis plates

Here we have a typical batch of sheet metal components that we have CNC punched and CNC bent up using our Trumpf equipment. The parts were programmed on our Radan sheet metal CAD/CAM software using 3D models to help develop the correct blank sizes ready for CNC punching. Galvanised mild steel and Zintec coated mild steel are very popular for sheet metal components used in the lighting industry. If you click on the photo you will see that we have included plunge formed extrusions for some of the holes (produced in the CNC punch press), these are used to give more material for self tapping screws to bite into. A simple but cost effective way of helping get more from a sheet metal component when assembly work is needed.

Ask us for more information on forms that can be used for self tapping screw.

Formed mild steel brackets

Formed mild steel brackets

A customer of ours needed a clamping bracket and couldn’t find anything standard that they could buy from a brochure. They approached us with a simple drawing of the component they wanted which would need a special fly press tool to form up the U shaped section. We manufactured a form tool within a few days and tested it out on a few mild steel strips to ensure it would produce the form needed for the job. Once satisfied that the tool would produce the right form we knew the cut size we needed to use to produce the correct sheet metal blank. We then CNC punched out all the parts needed for the batch and formed them up. The job has repeated several times and the fly press tooling has proven to be very helpful.

Need a special form producing, give us a call and we will be happy to help investigate it for you, perhaps we already have that shape in our existing tool library.


Bending sheet metal brackets

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Here’s a nice example of using custom made CNC bend tooling to form bends that would be too small with normal air bending V dies.

Sheet metal bracket blanks produced by CNC punching

This small bracket has a couple of features that are of interest before we even consider the processes needed to bend it up. A bracket like this can be made with press tooling but the volumes need to be high enough to justify the initial cost of the hard tooling. The volumes and repeat period for these brackets perfectly suited CNC punching and CNC bending. When considering CNC punching these brackets we were able to use a standard circle and square from our Trumpf punch press tool library, so at no cost to our customer. The U shaped feature is created using 2 hits with a L shaped tool, this helps to make a stronger die and was suggested by the tooling department at Trumpf who we are always happy to work closely with. The complete outer profile for the blank was punched down one die on the CNC punch press allowing us to produce a clean part with 4 corner rads and very quickly.

Double bend CNC press brake tooling

Once we have a CNC punched blank part we can form in 3 small bends that are too close to each other for us to bend with normal standard library tooling. The distance between each bend was only a couple of mm so had to be formed in and coined up in one go. Again we worked with Trumpf’s tooling department giving them accurate CAD data of the final part wanted and free issued them with a number of blanks from the correct material and gauge so that they could experiment and fine tune the final results from the press brake tooling before hardening it.

The tool was supplied from Trumpf with all the tool data needed to load it straight onto our 7036 press brake and register it’s form within the tool library ready for CNC programming.

As an aside you can see the rear back stops with the corner ears cut out. This is a feature on both of the back stops that allows us to fit in tricky shapes at time when a plain flat back stop wouldn’t be possible. You can also see a red cross shape, this is the red light from the laser guard hitting the side of the tool while we set up the machine. The laser guards allow us to get in much closer to the machine than older light guards allowing a quicker operation of the machine and a more comfortable position for the operator to be in, which is so important on longer runs of parts.

Standard CNC bending tooling

Standard CNC bending tooling

Once the sheet metal punched blanks had the triple form feature pressed in and another standard 90 degree bend on the Trumpf 7036 we had to transfer them to one of our Guifil CNC press brakes for the final tight bend. We have some press brake tooling that we had specially machined back for another job in the past and this was perfect for forming this tight double bend. If you click on the image you will see how thin the end of the tooling is but very little tonnage is needed to form over the thin gauge zintec so it was quite acceptable. You can also see that we separated the 2 bottom V blocks to produce a gap that the small U shaped tag would protrude into while being bent up. This was necessary else the tag would have been bent as well. It’s amazing how many different machines, tools and techniques are needed to manufacture what looks like a simple sheet metal bracket.

Finished sheet metal brackets

Finished sheet metal brackets

Well here we are with the finished brackets. They will be used to help support LED light fittings into a ceiling grid on a refit program on a number of sites.

If you have a sheet metal bracket that needs manufacturing and you are not exactly sure what can be achieved with sheet metal please give us a call or send your initial design ideas and we will be happy to help you refine your designs and produce a quote for you.