Improving Your Small-Sized Channel Forming Processes

Posted on: 9 August 2018


Metal is one of the most versatile materials in use today. Sheet metal can be manipulated into a variety of different shapes, making it a popular option for manufacturing processes.

Metal fabrication often requires that a piece of flat sheet metal be bent into a channel. Larger channels don't pose a problem, but small-sized channels can bring fabrication to a halt if not approached with caution.

Repeat Jobs

The first thing you need to do when approaching the fabrication of small-sized channels is determine whether you will be making multiple channels or a single channel. For repeat jobs, it can be wise to invest in a specialized gooseneck forming die.

These dies are bent at an angle to prevent damage during fabrication. The problem with a straight die is that the leg formed first will crash into the side of the die before the second leg has a chance to form a 90 degree angle. The angular design of a gooseneck die eliminates the contact point between the formed leg and the die, allowing you to create small-sized channels with ease.

Specialized gooseneck dies can be quite costly, which is why these dies provide a viable solution only for fabricators who create small-sized channels on an ongoing basis.

Single Jobs

If you aren't creating small-sized channels on a daily basis, the cost of a specialized gooseneck die might not make sense. To create small-sized channels for a single job, you can utilize a technique known as back-bending to eliminate contact between the formed legs of the channel and the die.

Back-bending is a process whereby a piece of sheet metal is folded into a slight V. With the point of the V facing upward, the channeling die will form the legs of the channel and turn the metal into a W-shape. Once both legs have been formed, the indentation in the middle of the channel can be smoothed  out with a flattening die.

Back-bending is a great solution when only a few parts need small-sized channels. Just be sure that the customer is alright with a line running down the middle of the channel where the crease was flattened.

Finding ways to improve and expand your fabrication processes is important. Don't be afraid to offer small-sized channels to your customers. Invest in gooseneck dies for repeat jobs, and master the art of back-bending for the occasional creation of functional small-sized channels.