Sheet metal is the most basic form of metal from which many applications come from it through metalworking processes: bending, cutting, shearing and forming are just some examples.
There are a number of manual and power tools and equipment that are used to perform these fabrication methods, and we have listed the most common ones below alongside the specific metalworking process.
The bending process uses tools to bend the metal whilst keeping its volume constant. Some of the most important equipment to bend sheet metal are:
A press brake works by clamping the sheet metal between a punch and a die and bending it. Even though it is a large piece of equipment, it is one of the most effective ways of bending sheet metal.
Bracket makers are specifically designed for bending and creating angles in thicker pieces of metal in order to produce neat brackets for a variety of mechanical applications.
Cutting is also a self-explanatory process that can be done using many sawing or chiselling manual or power tools. You are able to make straight line or angled cuts by using these common tools:
Laser CNC Cutters
Computer Numerical Computer (CNC) cutters use an intense laser beam to cut a programmed pattern or line into the sheet metal. They are chosen for their extreme precision and accuracy.
Metal nibblers are a manual tool used for cutting shapes in sheet metal, which can also be used as a drill attachment or an air nibbler.
A process that is similar to cutting, also known as die cutting, shearing cuts metal without forming chips. Throatless shears are the most common tools used for shearing, and they come in two different types:
Throatless Hand Shears
Throatless hand shears have a heavy steel frame and a tall handle which give you the necessary leverage to cut sheet metal, whether it be straight, curved or irregular cuts. The trio of holes allows simple mounting and the arched top blade gives you the ability to cut effortlessly.
Throatless Rotary Shears
With a similar structure as throatless hand shears, throatless rotary shears have an alternative adjustable cutter and a ratcheting head which means there is more flexibility when it comes to cutting shapes.
Sheet metal forming is a process where the sheet metal is stressed and deformed using force, without losing any material. Important tools for forming are:
Shrinker stretchers are used to create smooth inside radius curves, by shrinking the metal on one side, without the need of heating, cutting or welding.
The tools that we have mentioned above are just some of the most important pieces of equipment that are commonly used in sheet metalworking. At AW Precision, we manufacture a wide variety of tooling accessories for machining; take a look here today or contact us for more information.