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Article

January 14, 2010
Reclaiming the disappearing press brake knowledge in your shop
Quite a bit can be said for state-of-the-art press brakes; a lot can be said for the tried-and-true too. Getting the most from your press brake, however, is not about the type of machine, method of forming, or tooling—it's about... Read more...

Article

June 12, 2007
The tao of forming order
The Emperor's guard was patrolling the river near the base of the Great Falls when the scout came running back down the bank. He was short of breath, too excited to speak. The Captain of the Guard's attention was drawn to the excitement.... Read more...

Article

March 7, 2006
Taking the danger out of bottom bending
Liability! It's more than just a word. It is the single reason that manufacturers of press brakes and press brake tooling maintain that you cannot bottom bend with their tooling or machines. It is all too easy to ruin a tool or upset a ram if... Read more...

Article

August 9, 2005
Oversized V dies: the effects on bottom bending
Figure 1 Why are so many press brake and tooling manufacturers adamant that you cannot bottom-bend with their products? One word: Liability! It's so easy to upset* a ram or blow tooling if bottom bending is done... Read more...

Article

May 10, 2005
It's all about tool selection -- or is it?
Figure 1 The radius gauge fits squarely into the bend. Air forming, bottom bending, and coining are different forming methods that can be used to create various bends—sharp, radius, and profound-radius. Throw in a... Read more...

Article

February 8, 2005
Safety faux pas
Figure 1 No Triggering Device Protection In the more than 25 years that I've been in the precision sheet metal trade, I have seen many examples of safety faux pas. Most were mistakes and oversights committed because... Read more...

Article

September 14, 2004
Skilled workers make new press brake technology even more valuable
This article grew out of an FMA discussion board posting about new press brake controllers and software in which someone asked, "Do I really need all of these bells and whistles?" A profound fact of today's technology-intensive world is that... Read more...

Article

May 4, 2004
Air forming and V-die selection
Air forming, bottom bending, and coining are metal forming methods. Air forming, the most common, is a three-point operation. The actual inside radius produced is based on a percentage of the V-die width, regardless of the sharp–radius... Read more...

Article

March 25, 2004
Building the perfect tool cabinet
Figure 1 Deciding What Works Best All too often tooling is thrown on a shelf, pallet, or table – one tool piled on top of another ( Figure 1 ). Operators dig through the pile, looking for a specific tool and... Read more...

Article

January 29, 2004
Why should you care about inside bend radii?
Photo courtesy of TRUMPF Inc. A minimum bend radius is a function of the material and has little or nothing to do with the press brake punch tip. A minimum bend radius for one material thickness is not the same for... Read more...

Article

September 10, 2003
John Henry's last challenge or a Rube Goldberg device?
Both original equipment and after market manufacturers have made available machines with world class crowning and yaw compensation, and the newest controllers are inspired. But, how much is too much and how much is not enough?... Read more...

Article

July 24, 2003
Die width selection
Most designers and engineers usually place very little importance on achieving the correct inside radius of a formed part. Why? Because the functionality of the part is unaffected if the specified inside radius is 0.062 in. and actual measured... Read more...

Article

June 26, 2003
Managers are not necessarily leaders
There are business leaders and there are business managers. And while some leaders are managers and some managers are leaders, many times leaders and managers are very different animals. All too often we fail to recognize these differences in our... Read more...

Article

May 29, 2003
Making your own punch and dies
Speaking from 30 years of experience, I'd say this situation probably is a fact of life for 99 percent of us. Whether we are doing some in-house engineering and design or working at the press brake, the thought is the same. An End to the... Read more...

Article

March 27, 2003
Gauging difficult parts at the press brake
Even with the advancements in computer design systems, parts layout still can still be a very difficult process, particularly when ease of forming is a major concern. But when is ease of forming not an issue at some time in almost every shop?... Read more...

Article

February 13, 2003
How air forming works
In one form or another, air forming always has been a part of the forming process on a press brake. This was true even when coining and bottom bending were the dominant methods of forming. Without the use of custom-made tools, all bends other... Read more...

Article

December 12, 2002
But we have always done it this way
Some of the following story may seem somewhat strange for an article about precision sheet metal and press brake operation, but my hope is that by reading this article, you will find that history can shed some light into a few of the darker... Read more...

Article

October 24, 2002
What the? This can't be done!
"What the ...? This can't be done!" How many times have you heard that expression? Or seen someone scratching his head in bewilderment when trying to decide which flange to form first or last, not unlike the operator pictured in the lead... Read more...

Article

July 11, 2002
Can I form a box that deep?
One of the more common questions asked in day-to-day press brake operations is "Can I form a box that deep?" If you select the wrong tool, the side of the box will crash into the ram. This can produce the wrong bend angle or prevent the... Read more...

Article

May 30, 2002
Using benchmarking for bend deductions
Benchmarking is using measurement or evaluation to judge similar processes, parts, charts, and methods. The term benchmark is believed to come from medieval times—more specifically, form the stonemasons who built the great cathedrals of... Read more...

Article

May 30, 2002
Bumping up large-radius bends
Figure 1 It often is impractical to buy or build a custom tool just for large-radius bends. Perhaps it is a one-of-a-kind part, or the radius that needs to be produced is too large to be done practically in a single... Read more...

Article

April 15, 2002
Reviewing bottom bending and nested parts
Hey, it's a brave new world—a world in which the reality of precision sheet metal manufacturing has to include optimizing the number of parts that can be punched or laser-cut from a single sheet of material. To get the most from a... Read more...

Article

January 31, 2002
Press Brakes and (much) More
I was looking into information about feng shui (pronounced fung SHWAY) in an effort to apply it to my home when I realized that the principals of balance, harmony, and an uncluttered path could apply easily to precision sheet metal manufacturing... Read more...

Article

November 29, 2001
Mobilizing equipment-saving time and talent
Think about the increased production that would be possible if one operator could manage two machines simultaneously. You could make it work simply by varying access to different pieces of equipment as needed anywhere in your facility. Of... Read more...

Article

September 17, 2001
Fighting springback in profound radius bends
Figure 1: With a profound-radius bend, springback increases dramatically. Under normal press brake bending conditions, an inside bend radius that falls between 63 percent of the material thickness and 10... Read more...

Article

July 26, 2001
Bend deduction charts
In reviewing a couple dozen bend deduction charts from a variety of sources, I couldn't find any that agreed with another, with the exception of a single number here and there. For the most part, they varied widely. Figure 1 shows data from... Read more...

Article

May 30, 2001
Discovering the limits of press brake tooling
One of the most important aspects of press brake forming is tooling selection. What are the tools capable of? What kinds of loads can they withstand? Figure 1: A standard straight press brake punch withstands more tonnage... Read more...

Article

February 19, 2001
Brake Line: Press Brakes and More: Planning to cut corners on safety?
Plainly put, press brake safety is a common sense issue. Most accidents are caused by operator inattentiveness or lack of training. Two major categories of press brake safety are machine setup and operational safety. Along with proper... Read more...