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Is 6061 Aluminum Good for Bending?

Aluminum, with its myriad alloys, has long been a staple in various industries owing to its exceptional properties. Among these, the 6061 aluminum alloy stands out for its versatility, strength, and weldability. However, a crucial question arises: is 6061 aluminum suitable for aluminum bending applications? Exploring its bendability characteristics is crucial for engineers, manufacturers, and designers seeking optimal materials for their projects.

Overview of 6061 Aluminum Alloy

6061 aluminum alloy is a precipitation-hardened aluminum, renowned for its outstanding mechanical properties and corrosion resistance. Comprised primarily of magnesium and silicon, it offers excellent machinability and weldability, making it a popular choice across industries from aerospace to automotive manufacturing.

Is 6061 Aluminum Good for Bending?
In November 2023, BIT’s aluminum bending machine was commissioned for aluminum extrusion bending at the Thailand factory.

Properties of 6061 Aluminum:

  1. Strength: Exhibits high tensile strength, making it suitable for structural applications.
  2. Machinability: Allows for ease of machining and shaping, enhancing its usability.
  3. Corrosion Resistance: Provides resistance to corrosion, ensuring durability in various environments.
  4. Weldability: Facilitates welding without compromising structural integrity.

Bendability of 6061 Aluminum

Bending aluminum requires careful consideration of its mechanical properties. 6061 aluminum, while strong and versatile, also demonstrates good formability, allowing it to be bent to various angles without sacrificing its structural integrity. The alloy’s bendability is influenced by factors like:

  • Temper Condition: Different tempers (T4, T6, etc.) exhibit varying degrees of bendability due to their unique microstructures and hardness levels.
  • Thickness: Thinner sheets are easier to bend than thicker ones due to reduced resistance to deformation.
  • Bending Radius: Larger bending radii reduce the risk of cracking or fracturing during the bending process.

Bendability Analysis

A comprehensive analysis of 6061 aluminum’s bendability showcases its adaptability across different bending processes, including:

Applications of Bending 6061 Aluminum

  • Aerospace Components: Forming aircraft structures and components requiring precise bending.
  • Automotive Parts: Creating curved components in vehicle bodies and chassis.
  • Architectural Uses: Shaping aluminum for aesthetic purposes in buildings and structures.

Bend Radii for 6061 Aluminum (for Different Thicknesses)

Thickness (inches)Minimum Bend Radius (inches)

How to Bneding 6061 Aluminum

Roll bending, also known as pyramid rolling or three-roll bending, is a method used to curve or form 6061 aluminum into cylindrical shapes or arcs.


  • Select the Right Aluminum Alloy: Ensure that the 6061 aluminum alloy selected is suitable for roll bending. Different tempers may affect the bendability of the material.
  • Prepare the Aluminum Piece: Cut the aluminum sheet or piece to the appropriate size based on the desired diameter or arc length of the curved component.

Measure and Mark

  • Determine Bend Specifications: Calculate or determine the required diameter or arc length of the bend.
  • Mark the Bending Points: Use a marker or scriber to mark the points along the edge of the aluminum where the bend needs to start and end.

Set up the Roll Bending Machine

  • Prepare the Machine: Ensure the three-roll bending machine is set up and adjusted according to the thickness and width of the aluminum piece.
  • Secure the Aluminum: Place the aluminum piece between the three rolls of the machine, positioning it accurately based on the marked bending points.
PBA series full automatic aluminum bending machine

PBA series full automatic aluminum bending machine: Supports USB import of DXF files and STEP files, directly generates aluminum bending process date, and automatically assigns addresses; Bending process data can be adjusted (Compensating for spring back caused by small differences in aluminum extrusion profile formulations) and can be exported via USB; the interface displays 3D simulation stereo Arc shape, and synchronized color change to display the processing process; the simulated arc profile can be opened, scaled and rotated. Each arc displays a different color.

Perform the Roll Bending

  • Start Rolling: Activate the roll bending machine to initiate the bending process. The machine’s rollers will apply pressure and gradually curve the aluminum around them.
  • Adjust Rolling Speed and Pressure: Adjust the rolling speed and pressure based on the material’s thickness and bend radius required. Slow and controlled rolling helps prevent material damage.

Monitor and Adjust

  • Monitor the Bend Progress: Continuously monitor the aluminum as it rolls through the machine, ensuring it follows the desired curvature without deformation or cracking.
  • Make Adjustments if Needed: If the bend is not progressing as desired, adjust the machine settings, rolling speed, or pressure to achieve the desired curvature gradually.

Release and Inspect

  • Complete the Bend: Once the desired curvature is achieved, release the aluminum from the roll bending machine.
  • Inspect the Bent Aluminum: Carefully inspect the bent aluminum for any irregularities, cracks, or imperfections. Ensure the curvature meets the specifications required.

Tips for Successful Roll Bending:

  • Ensure Proper Alignment: Precisely align the aluminum piece with the machine’s rolls to achieve a consistent and accurate bend.
  • Use Lubrication if Necessary: Apply appropriate lubrication to the rolls or aluminum surface to reduce friction and prevent surface imperfections during bending.
  • Work Gradually and Carefully: Avoid excessive force or speed during the roll bending process to prevent damage to the aluminum.
  • Practice and Test: Experiment with scrap pieces to understand the behavior of 6061 aluminum in roll bending before working on the final piece.


6061 aluminum alloy, with its commendable blend of strength, machinability, and corrosion resistance, emerges as a favorable material for bending applications. Its ability to accommodate various bending processes while retaining structural integrity positions it as a top choice for industries seeking versatile and durable materials.

Understanding the nuances of 6061 aluminum’s bendability equips engineers and manufacturers with the knowledge to harness its potential effectively. As with any material, optimal results in bending rely on appropriate processes, tooling, and adherence to recommended bending guidelines based on thickness, temper, and bending radius.