How to Calculate the Force to Bend Metal

Properly bending metal is an art.
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Metal is bent to make various products, fixtures and machinery. In fact, industrial and factory machinery often incorporate metal bending processes as a function of manufacturing. This bending and shaping is done according to designs and specifications where the machinery doing the bending must be programmed to apply the correct bending force. Calculating and determining the correct force involves factors and considerations such as the width and thickness of the metal and the diameter of the bending machinery.

    Determine the tensile strength of the metal sheet, or "T," in units of pounds per square inch. Refer to the metal documentation or specifications. As a example, assume T is 20 pounds per square inch.

    Determine the width of the metal sheet, or "W," in inches. Refer to metal documentation or specifications. As an example, assume W is 60 inches.

    Find the thickness, or "t," of the metal sheet in units of inches. Refer to metal documentation or specifications. As an example, assume 1.5 inch thick.

    Find the diameter of the die, or "D," used to punch the metal sheet doing the bending process in units of inches. Think of a standard V-shape bend, where a metal die strikes the middle of the metal to bend it in a V-shape. Refer to the documentation associated with the machinery used to do the bending. As an example, assume is D is 2 inches.

    Calculate bending force, or "F," using the formula: F = KTWt^2/D in pounds. The variable K is 1.33 for V-shape bending. The bending force will be in units of pounds. Using the example numbers above:

    F = KTWt^2/D = [(1.33)(20)(60)(1.5)(1.5)]/2 = 1,795.5 pounds

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