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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.


Sheet metal work projects, June 2014

Saturday, June 14th, 2014

CNC punched Zintec brackets

CNC punched Zintec brackets

CNC punching is so important to V and F Sheet Metal. Even though we have now installed a new Trumpf 3030 3KW fibre laser cutter we still process the majority of our sheet metal work through our Trumpf 200 and Trumpf 3000 CNC punch presses, these parts being typical of the small sheet metal brackets that we manufacture everyday of the week. The parts that need to be CNC punched may be thinner material, have a simple shape, need forms such as louvres, dimples, countersunk forms etc whereas the laser cut parts may be thicker or need more complex profiles that we don’t have a CNC tool for. There is however a great overlap on parts such as these zintec brackets shown here where they can be either CNC punched or laser cut and this gives us the flexibility to move jobs around in our factory to suit the loading on any machine on the day that the customer needs that order.

Aluminium light fitting chassis

Aluminium light fitting chassis

These aluminium alloy chassis components are used to support fibre optic light fittings in a small chandelier. They have been CNC punched out from 1.5mm thick aluminium alloy sheet metal with all the outer profiles de-burred to remove any sharp edges and then folded up on one of our Trumpf 7036 CNC press brakes using a program stored from the time before speeding up production. The batch of 30 off was the second time that we have manufactured these parts and as the design hadn’t changed we were able to go straight into manufacturing and the batch was completed in just 3 days.

3mm mild steel laser cut housings

3mm mild steel laser cut housings

Large mild steel wedge shaped housings manufactured from 2mm and 3mm thick sheet metal. These parts fit together to make a housing used on a new tram system. The customer only had 10 days to get these parts from the point of giving us the enquiry as a new supplier to them. We produced 3D models in our Radan sheet metal software, developed the blank forms, laser cut samples and bent them up to check out everything before running the production batch. The batch of 50 parts were made in 2 days once the samples had been approved and shipped overnight direct to their factory in Yorkshire.


Sheet metal welding fabrication

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Here’s a great example of the aluminium sheet metal welding that we have carried out on some projects in June 2014

These aluminium sheet metal fabrications shown are at various stages of completion with the housings on the right TiG welded, cleaned up and orbital sanded ready to go off to powder coating. The assemblies in the middle and on the left have been aluminium MiG welded. This process is not as controllable as TiG welding but much quicker and with our new aluminium MiG welding set we have been able to speed up the welding process on a number of fabrication projects.

If you want to see more examples of welding please take a look at our plant page welding fabrication proceesses


Bending sheet metal work with a CNC press brake

Thursday, May 29th, 2014

CNC press brake tooling for bending small sheet metal work

CNC (computer numerically controlled) bending is a technique using machines that can bend sheet metal work one bend at a time but in a sequence controlled by a computer program. The computer program can control the length, angle and number of bends in a sheet metal component and it can be saved away to be used on another occasion or changed if a component is altered. The machine control can move back stops in and out to define the length of a component bend and the top and bottom tools to define the bend angle.

The tools and machine set up shown here are for one of our Trumpf 7036 CNC press brakes that we use to bend up a lot of our small sheet metal work.

For more examples of sheet metal brackets and angles follow the link to or gallery page.


CNC punching symbols in sheet metal

Monday, May 26th, 2014

CNC punching alumnium sheet

CNC punching alumnium sheet

Once again I am writing a quick blog post on our Trumpf 200 CNC punch press. This machine seems to have so many features and tooling options to talk about that there is always something new to share. This time it’s using punch tooling to press in electrical earth symbols into an aluminium plate. Once we have a tool it’s a matter of moments to insert it into the tool rail on the machine and then it’s ready for use. We simply program the tool as we would say punching a hole but the tool just presses in whatever has been engraved onto it’s surface. The picture also shows a good efficient use of material and punching time with common line slit cutting in the x and y axis between each component.

CNC punched chassis plates

CNC punched chassis plates

As well as the earth symbol that has been featured in the post you can see that the aluminium plate was made up from a range of simple single hits with round, obround and rectangular hits, just the thing a CNC punch press is so good at. All the plates were tagged within our Radan sheet metal CAD/CAM software to have 0.1mm corners so that the components wouldn’t fall out of the sheet during punching but could easily be removed once the components had been completely punched.

CNC punched earth symbol

CNC punched earth symbol

You can see that this electrical earth symbol has been cut through the protective plastic peelable film and right into the aluminium surface by the top tool. The die used is a simple flat plate with no features. The symbols can be the other way around so that we can punch in symbols on either or even both sides of the plate at the same time within the CNC punching cycle. Once the plastic has been peeled off and the plate anodised the earth symbol is clearly visible and cannot be removed like a stick on label. This technique will save the customer time in production and costs, we can punch in an earth symbol in under 0.5 seconds so it’s virtually free compared to sticking on an earth symbol label. Other forms can be stamped in e.g. a company logo, product name, numbers and letter, the choice is yours.