Sheet metal forming is a manufacturing process that fabricates metal parts from thin metal sheets. It is commonly used in everything from aluminum soda cans to aircraft components.

This article looks at the sheet metal forming process, how it works, where it is used, and its benefits and drawbacks. We also take a look at the sub-processes used to fabricate parts from the metal sheets.

What Is Sheet Metal Forming?

Sheet metal forming, or sheet metal fabrication is the process of using metal sheets to form sheet metal components. This is achieved by forming and cutting sheets into the required shapes and forms using a variety of processes such as: bending, punching, shearing, and hydroforming among others.

Sheet metal forming is extremely common in manufacturing, and sheet metal parts can be found in a wide range of applications, such as: the automotive industry, aerospace industry, consumer goods, and household appliances.

What Is the Purpose of Sheet Metal Forming?

The purpose of sheet metal forming is to create parts made from thin sheet metal for use in a wide range of applications. Sheet metal forming is an extremely versatile process that takes advantage of the strength and malleability of sheet metal to create durable parts that are lower in cost than comparable manufacturing processes such as forging.

How Does Sheet Metal Forming Work?

Sheet metal forming makes use of a number of processes to transform a flat sheet of metal into metal parts that are durable and lightweight. Bending, shearing, punching, and hydroforming are all examples of processes that are used to form or cut metal sheets into the desired shape.

The tools for these processes will be set up according to the needs of the design, after which the sheet will undergo processing. Finally, a number of finishing steps will be applied. This might include: deburring, surface treatments, or welding.

What Thickness of Metal Is Suitable for Sheet Metal Forming?

Sheet metal forming is suitable for metal thicknesses of 0.6 mm to 6.35 mm. This is a general guideline, and the actual suitable thickness will change depending on the type of metal used, the manufacturer’s capabilities, and the complexity of the metal part to be fabricated.

What Equipment Is Used in Sheet Metal Forming?

Sheet metal forming makes use of a wide range of equipment depending on the design of the part and the process being applied. The following list highlights some of the equipment used in sheet metal forming:

  1. Punches and dies are commonly used for shearing and cutting operations whenever specific shaped holes are required.
  2. Bending machines are used for bending operations.
  3. Rollers are used for shaping sheets into conical or cylindrical shapes.
  4. Shearing tools are used for shearing in a straight line.

What Are the Sheet Metal Forming Processes?

1. Curling

2. Laser Cutting
3. Bending

4. Ironing

5. Hydroforming

6. Deep Drawing

7. Shearing

8. Punching


This article presented sheet metal forming, explained it, and discussed how it works and its processes. To learn more about sheet metal forming, PROTO MFG

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