Sheet metal electronics chassis 3D CAD model
Most of the sheet metal work projects that we get involved with here in Fareham, Hampshire start off with a 3D model or 3D assembly created in Radan CAD/CAM software. These models may come directly from our customer via a SAT or STEP file or we may generate them ourselves from their drawings, the model shown here was generated by V&F Sheet Metal from PDF files. It gives us a really good start in fully understanding the sheet metal work design and how we can best go about manufacturing it before we commit to CNC punching any materials in production. The 3D model also enables us to feedback design ideas directly to our customers as we put the virtual parts together and identify any problems or opportunities to save money in manufacturing.
Sheet metal chassis plate unfolded from 3D model
Once the 3D model is complete it can be used to produce a flat developed sheet metal blank. This is the correctly calculated shape and size of sheet metal needed to produce the final bent up part taking into account the material type, thickness (gauge) and bend radii. Any problems with sheet metal faces clashing can be spotted at this stage and referred back to the original design for amendment before proceeding further with any production.
CNC punched tooled sheet metal chassis plate
Once the developed blank has been cleaned up and any amendments made the CNC part can be tooled. This is an automatic operation with CNC tooling being applied to the component’s outer profile and any internal cut outs and holes. There is often the need to improve the automatic selection of CNC tools within the software to ensure the optimum CNC punching path to help reduce production time and tool wear. All these small improvements help to maintain a competitive sheet metal component price.
Layout of CNC punched chassis plates on a 2m x 1m sheet of aluminium
Once the single sheet metal component has been sucessfully CNC tooled it can be applied to a full sheet of metal. The sheet maybe a standard industry size for volumes or parts of sheets for small quantities. The best fit can be achieved using software tools to automatically try different orientations of the components with grain direction taken into account where necessary. As we use Trumpf CNC punch presses we are not contrained to the orientation of the parts on the sheet as we can rotate all the tools in the punch head enabling us to get the best use of material per part.
Sheet metal chassis plate with engraving produced on a Trumpf 3000 CNC punch press
This chassis plate needed to have the customer’s part number engraved into it for traceability, something that was easy to achieve with our Trumpf 3000R CNC punch press. The engraving is carried out with a hardened stylus which can be used to produce a continualy line if needed but in this case a simple number pattern was acceptable and more cost effective.
Finished black anodised sheet metal chassis with inserts
The final completed chassis plate with all the features CNC punched and CNC bent. The aluminium has been black anodised and has zinc plated bushes and captive thumb screws inserted ready for use by the customer.
This is just one of hundreds of different components we are manufacturing every month, if you have something you need manufacturing in sheet metal please give us a call or e-mail your drawings and we will be happy to help you.