Does anybody know of a relatively simple way to calculate a minimum bend radius for a given thickness of sheet metal?
There is really no such thing as a minimum bend radius. Material can be bent using whatever radius is desired. Material thickness, type, and bend features will determine what bend radius one would want to use. I have noticed that many engineers like to use a bend radius that equals the material thickness. This is fine until you start dealing with short flange lengths using thicker material. Our shop pretty much uses a .032 bend radius for everything unless specified by the customer.
Thank you very much this is perfect,
I'm currently thinking about working with 1/16 thick (1.5875mm) piece and had designed for a 1mm bend radius but wasn't sure if I should equal the material thickness or not. If your shop uses 0.032 (0.8mm) then I feel confident it should work, it was a default option on Solidworks but I wasn't sure how accurate that is to standards
Technically minimum bend radius is derived mostly from the tensile strength of the material in relation to the thickness, you bend high tensile strength material with too tight of a radius it will crack and break, softer the material the tighter you can bend it.
Without disregard for the previous responses I have for many years bent 16 ga CRS (.056 thick) with a .008 radius top die and have coined sharp bends in up to 13 ga CRS and stainless. Design for what you want and see what your vendor will do. The variety of shops out there may be able to produce what you need but let them set your minimum. There are air bend (lager radius) and coining shops out there.
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