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Big effort from a small CNC press brake

Friday, February 5th, 2016

Bending up to 1M long

Folding sheet metal work

Just because we use our two Trumpf 7036 CNC press brakes for bending small parts doesn’t mean they cannot help out when folding larger sections. Right up to 1M long is no problem for these great little machines and with 36 tons force they have more than enough force to fold up these zintec chassis sections. This image clearly shows the 1M tooling across the top and bottom of the press with plenty of room to access the machine for quick production bending speeds.

3D graphics and a touch sensitive screen allows the shop floor machine setters to write CNC programs really quickly, store them away on our company server and recall them for repeat batches of work whenever needed. These machines are a big part of what we do here at V and F Sheet Metal with the majority of our bending work being under 1M long but when parts are over 1M long we have our new Safan e-Brake 3M 100 ton machine to take over. This new machine can obviously bend items under 1M as well to offer a great bending service to our customers. Along with a 2.5M long CNC press brake and 2 smaller 600mm machines we have all sheet metal bending needs covered under one roof.

Sheet metal blanks ready for bending

Sheet metal blanks ready for bending

The sheet metal blanks in this case have been manufactured by CNC punching but they could just as easily have been laser cut and they would have bent up just the same. Having the ability to provide the machine with accurate blanks batch after batch is vital to not only ensure the accuracy of the final folded parts but in enabling quick set up of the machine tools with minimal adjustments needed before production bending can start.

Whether you have a sheet metal working project than is just a few mm across or up to 3M long we can help you here at V and F Sheet Metal, please give us a call at 0.1489 57786.

Sheet metal fabrication location ideas

Thursday, February 4th, 2016

Welding production aids CNC punched into components

Location tags for welding fabrications

When we are welding just a few parts for a sheet metal project it’s easy to hold parts together either by hand or with a range of clamps. This is perfect and can produce more than acceptable results and dimensional accuracy. Similarly if the parts to be welded are quite complex or many different parts are being welded together to create a fabricated assembly we might make up a bespoke welding jig with positions of different parts fixed and allowance for shrinkage built into the weld jig. Sometimes the parts are in sufficient volumes to mean we do not want someone helping the welder but a full welding jig would be over the top, this is when the idea of building in location tags is perfect. The tags can be at the edge of a component such as the one shown above or tags into slots when more than one component are being welded together.

The advantages of using built in tags in the sheet metal parts for production are many. The accuracy can be guaranteed by the CNC punch or CNC laser program using programs like Radan sheet metal design software, the design can be such that parts cannot be assembled the wrong way round by off set tag positions and tag sizes and the tags can be puddle welded to remove any sign that they have been used by us in production so the customer only receives a part to drawing with production assembly witnesses.

Perhaps you have a sheet metal welding project that might need TiG or MiG welding in ferrous or non-ferrous metal, please call us on 01489 577786 or send us your design ideas to and our engineering team will be happy to take a look and suggest methods to save time and money in production where possible.

CNC punched aluminum sheet metal

Monday, February 1st, 2016

CNC punched sheet nest

CNC punching aluminium sheet metal

So what is CNC punching?

Here’s a perfect example of the flexibility in CNC punching that can be achieved when using a Trumpf machine. These aluminium housings and covers were CNC punched from the same sheet of material and used together to create an enclosure for a light fitting gear box. The ability to be able to mix and match components together on a single sheet of material is very useful when running production to keep batches together and ensure that the same material with bending properties is used on mating parts. Once the CNC press brakes have been set up to run a housing such as these they can go straight into the covers without a tooling change of more test samples needed for trying out the bend dimensions.

If you look carefully you can see that the housing blanks share a common slit line in both the X and Y axis. This techniques helps us save time in CNC punching and materials across the whole sheet. You can also see that we have used a corner radius tool on the covers to the left of the photo to produce a clean R5 corner in a single hit and used a knife tool to produce the holding tag for the part in the CNC nest. Both the housing and the covers where simply shaken and they then fell out of the sheet with 0.1mm corners tags, a quick de-burr and they were ready for bending.

Looking for someone to manufacture your aluminium sheet metal work by either CNC punching or laser cutting? Please give us a call on 01489 577786 or send us you drawings (DXF, DWG, STEP, SAT or PDF) to and we will be happy to help you and produce some prices for different batch sizes.

Folded sheet metal work with CNC press brakes

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

Trumpf 7036 CNC press brake used to create folded sheet metal brackets

Complex folded sheet metal components

Whenever we have a complex bracket or chassis component that needs multiple folds we tend to put it on our Trumpf 7036 CNC press brakes. If they are under 1M long these are the perfect machines to produce folded sheet metal work but if they are over 1M long such as structural sections, channels and angles then our Safan e-Brake 3M CNC press brake machine is just the thing to get the job done. With all machines using the same tooling it enables us to move parts under 1M long between all 3 machines enabling panic orders to be dealt with alongside repeat batch order bending work.

As well as all the folds you can see here that have been bent into these sheet metal components with hard V top and bottom tooling there are also a line of obround slots that have been laser cut into the component which will be used as an “easy bend” line, therefore a deliberate weak line that can be folded by hand rather than by machine tooling. In this instance we used the “easy bend” line to finish off bends on the chassis as the tooling couldn’t access the part with the other bends that were already in place. The idea of an “easy bend” can sometimes be used by the customer in their assembly of the parts if components have to be fixed in place first.

If you have a sheet metal component that needs folding then please feel free to send us your drawings to or call if you need some advice on 01489 577786.

Laser cutting copper sheet metal

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Laser cutting copper sheet with a fibre laser machine

Laser cut copper sheet metal

Laser cutting copper sheet metal has always been a problem for conventional CO2 laser cutting machines. With a fibre laser cutter this isn’t a problem and we have just the machine to deal with copper and brass up to 6mm thick. Our Trumpf 3030 3KW fibre laser is more than able to cut straight through thin copper sheet such as this flower. For this sheet metal project our customer needed a quick turn around. We quoted for the work, programmed it, laser cut it and sent it out in 2 days, more than meeting our customer’s expectations. The “flower” was a blank for some jewellery project and we defined the shape in Radan sheet metal software and fed a drawing back to our customer to match her simple hand sketch and verbal instructions. Now we have the design on our system server we can produce the copper “flower” again and again without any variance from batch to batch.

Perhaps you have a sheet metal manufacturing project which needs making from copper or brass sheet and haven’t been able to get it laser cut up to now, please give us a call on 01489 577786 and we will be happy to talk through your options and how we can save you money with our fibre laser cutting system.