The custom sheet metal fabrication services is an ideal process for making durable parts, suitable everything from a single prototype to high-volume production. It is also a low-cost and high efficient method of manufacturing precision mechanical parts. However, since sheet metal parts are made from a flat sheet, it needs to consider some other design factors compared to other manufacturing processes.
To assist you reduce time and cost, following are 5 tips you can refer to for your next sheet metal parts project!
Material cost is one of the most important element of the part cost. Be sure to choose materials carefully and use stock sizes. If it is rapid prototyping, consider aluminum 5052 vs. 304 stainless steel or other less expensive materials.
When designing parts, remember to use standard sheet metal gauges. The thickness of a sheet metal part depends primarily on the geometry of the part, and thicker metal may limit the achievable bending of your part.
In general, the more complex the part, the higher the cost. In order to reduce costs, design simple elbows with radius ≥ sheet thickness. Small bends on large, thick parts can easily become inaccurate and should be avoided if possible.
Usually a part has only a few features that are critical to its function. The more features which have tight tolerance in a design (such as radius, hole diameter, and distance), the more expensive the part will be to manufacture. To eliminate unnecessary costs, assigning tolerances only to mission-critical features and surfaces is vital.
Bending in the same plane should be designed in the same direction to avoid part reorientation, which will save cost and time. Maintaining a consistent bend radius will also make the part more cost-effective.