Types of Sheet Metal Bending

Sheet metal is among the most widely used materials that can help you make weldments, assemblies, enclosures, housings, cabinets, and brackets quickly, accurately, and cost-effectively. Advanced technologies and modern equipment have made it possible to manipulate the material into specific geometries to meet your requirements. For instance, sheet metal bending shapes the material to a predetermined form by applying force, so it bends at an angle that forms the required geometry. Manufacturers may use a press brake tool to accomplish this.

Different types of bending techniques can shape sheet metal into your required geometry. The best one to use should depend on the material’s thickness and the relation to the end tool’s position. Here are some of the methods to know.

Air bending

This is the most preferred technique of sheet metal bending, and it works by forcing or punching the material into a U, V, or any other custom shape using a strong, working tool. Tools may vary in die shoulders and tips to form the final shape of the workpiece. However, the material won’t touch the die’s walls during bending, so surface damage rarely occurs. However, it is not the best for acute angles below 45 degrees because of its low bend accuracy.

Bottoming or bending

Bottoming is similar to air bending as it uses a press brake to punch the surface of the metal and force it into a precise shape. However, the workpiece touches the die’s wall during bending. It works on all shapes with any angle because of the adjustable bend accuracy. However, it may leave tooling marks on the surface while requiring more pressure.


This sheet metal bending technique is the same one for making coins. The process forces the material into bottom dies with a maximum of 30 times more pressure, resulting in permanent deformation to your required shape. The workpiece can take the form engraved on the bottom die’s surface when necessary.


Sheet metal folding bends the workpiece at a precise angle. The metal is held and positioned with a clamping beam tool, which swings it around a pivot point to make it fold. This sheet metal bending technique can achieve a maximum fold of either 45 or 90 degrees, depending on material thickness.


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