Bending aluminum flat bars using various techniques is common in the metalworking industry for creating various shapes and structures. One way to bend aluminum flat bars is by using a 3-roll profile bending machine, a brake press, and a bending jig.
Before exploring the different methods for bending aluminum flat bars, it is important to understand the specifications of the material. Aluminum is ductile and malleable – it can be bent and molded without cracking or breaking. Additionally, aluminum is lightweight and easy to work with, making it a popular choice for many metalworking applications.
The aluminum flat bar is an incredibly versatile material and can be used for a wide range of applications. One of its most popular uses is in metal fabrication, where it can be bent and curved into a variety of shapes.
Ideally, part designers should know that when it comes to aluminum flat bar grades, 3003 and 5052 will bend, and 6061 will not. This is generalizing, of course, as there are ways to form 6061. The aluminum flat bar series’ ability to bend tends to decrease as you move down the list of tempers, from annealed to T4 and T6. Bending these tempered alloys is not impossible, but it is very difficult and will most likely require large bend radii to avoid cracking on the outside of the bend. If you’re not careful, you can completely fracture the bend line.
General Advice on Aluminum
When bending aluminum, know that the smaller your inside bend radius, the larger the chance that cracking will occur in the part. Also know that, for the best results and fewer cracks on the outside of the bend, the bend line should go across or diagonal to the material grain when and where possible.
Two methods to bend the aluminum flat bars
There are two main types of bending aluminum flat bars — cold bending and hot bending. Cold bending involves using pressure to bend the bending aluminum flat bars without heat, while hot bending involves heating the bending aluminum flat bars until it is malleable enough to be reshaped. Read More: Cold Bending And Hot Bending
Use the Machine to Bending the Aluminum Flat Bar
BIT series aluminum bending machine can cold bend aluminum bars, aluminum structural shapes, aluminum pipe, and aluminum tubing to match your exact specifications.
Aluminum flat bar can be tricky to bend, especially to tight radii, but we has the skills and experience to deliver precision bent aluminum profiles of all shapes and sizes.
How to Bend Aluminum Flat Bar of 6061-T6?
The 6061-T6 aluminum flat bar is tempered and is notoriously not easy to bend, but it can still be bent under proper technology. From a bending perspective, it’s always best to bend these aluminum flat bars in an annealed state and then temper them to the correct condition. That’s the ideal, anyway, but the reality is that many parts arrive at the press brake in a less-than-ideal state.
Top 3 Methods for Bending Aluminum Flat Bars
Methods 1#: Bending with a 3 Roll Profile Bending Machine
A 3 roll profile bending machine is a tool used to bend tubing, pipes, and profiles of various shapes and sizes using three rollers. These machines are designed with hardened steel rollers that move independently to bend the aluminum profile around a fixed radius. This method of bending aluminum flat bars provides accurate and precise angles forming, radius, and allows for the creation of various shapes and curves.
Methods 2#: Bending with a Brake Press
A brake press is another common tool used in metalworking applications that applies force to bend metal. This machine allows you to create a V-shaped groove on the surface of the aluminum flat bar and then clamp it using the press brake tool. The press brake tool applies force on the sides of the V-shaped groove to bend the flat bar at the desired angle. This method of bending is ideal when you need to create sharp bends on the aluminum flat bar.
Methods 3#: Bending with a Bending Jig
A bending jig is a tool that helps to control and shape the metal during the bending process. The jig is made up of two components: the bending die and the clamping die. The bending die creates the angle or radius for the bend while the clamping die holds the metal in place during the bending process. This method is suitable when creating bends with a larger radius or sharp angles.
Preparing the Aluminum Flat Bar for Bending
Before using any of the bending tools, it is critical to prepare the aluminum flat bar to prevent deformation or damage.
- Cleaning the Surface
Cleaning the surface of the aluminum flat bar removes any debris, rust, or dirt that may have accumulated. You can use a wire brush, sandpaper, or a solvent-based cleaner to clean the surface.
- Measuring and Marking the Flat Bar
Measuring and marking the flat bar is crucial for determining the radius and angle of the bend. Use a tape measure or caliper to ensure accurate measurements before cutting the aluminum. You can then mark the aluminum using a marking pen or scribe.
- Cutting the Flat Bar
Cutting the aluminum flat bar to the desired length is essential before bending. You can use a hacksaw, circular saw, or band saw to make the cut based on the required length.
Bending the Aluminum Flat Bar
Using a 3 Roll Profile Bending Machine
- Set up the machine: Before using a 3 roll profile bending machine, you will need to prepare the machine by choosing the appropriate rollers (based on the required radius of the bend) and set the machine’s roller gap and pressure.
- Insert the aluminum flat bar: Insert the aluminum flat bar into the 3 roll profile bending machine, making sure it’s centered between the rollers and properly aligned with the markings.
- Start rolling: Start the machine and carefully roll the flat bar, making sure to apply the correct level of pressure and moving at a steady pace to avoid any deformities.
- Check the bend: After rolling, check the aluminum flat bar to ensure it meets the required angle and radius.
Using a Brake Press
- Set up the brake press: Before using a brake press, set up the tool by selecting the appropriate die and bending tool. Choose a die that matches the required bend radius, then insert it into the brake press. Make sure the die and bending tool are properly aligned.
- Clamp the aluminum flat bar in place: Place the aluminum flat bar against the bending tool and clamp it in place using the brake press clamps. Adjust the clamps to ensure that the aluminum flat bar is held firmly and will not move during the bending process.
- Apply pressure: Activate the brake press using the push-button, foot pedal, or hand lever, depending on the type of brake press you’re using. Be careful not to overapply pressure as it may lead to cracking or damage to the material.
- Release the clamp: After bending the aluminum flat bar, release the clamp and remove it from the bending tool.
Using a Bending Jig
- Set up the bending jig: Set up the bending jig by choosing a suitable bending die based on the required bend radius, ensuring it is securely attached to the jig.
- Place the aluminum flat bar in the clamping die: Insert the aluminum flat bar into the clamping die of the bending jig and adjust its position to ensure the correct bending angle and radius.
- Bend the aluminum flat bar: Using a bending tool, apply pressure to the aluminum flat bar slowly to ensure an even bend. You can perform multiple passes to achieve a sharper bend, adjusting the pressure to suit your requirements.
- Check the bend: After bending, check the aluminum flat bar to ensure it meets the required angle and radius.
Finishing the Aluminum Flat Bar
After bending, remove any burrs, sharp edges, or any other irregularities. You can use a deburring tool, sandpaper, or a file to achieve a uniform finish. Finally, clean the aluminum flat bar to remove any debris or dust that may have accumulated during the bending process.
Bending aluminum flat bar using a 3 roll profile bending machine, brake press, and bending jig are all viable methods for creating various shapes and structures. Proper preparation, such as measuring, cutting, and cleaning, is crucial to ensure successful bending. When using a 3 roll profile bending machine, carefully select the appropriate rollers, insert the flat bar, and start rolling. For a brake press, choose a suitable die, clamp the aluminum flat bar, and apply the correct amount of pressure. Finally, when using a bending jig, ensure that the bending die and clamping die are aligned, insert the aluminum flat bar, and apply pressure evenly. By following these guidelines, you can successfully bend aluminum flat bars, a crucial metalworking technique for creating various shapes and structures.
Works Cited: Bending aluminum 101: How to bend 6061-T6 aluminum