Bending metal - what methods are there?

Bending metal is a type of metal forming. Various bending and folding processes are used for this. What can be used in which cases and which factors play a role will be explained in more detail in the following article.

Metal forming

In most cases, metal is formed in the form of sheet metal. Sheets are flat pieces of metal with a layer thickness of several millimeters. Bending is also called folding. The angle of the fold can be of any size, a 180 ° angle is then no longer a fold, but an envelope. However, metal profiles and pipes can also be formed. In some cases, different devices are used here than with sheet metal. Metals can be bent by hand, but this always depends on the type of metal and its surface treatment. In some cases, metals can crack when bent. Additional problems arise when bending both pipes and hollow profiles.

  • Read also - Bending Sheet Metal
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  • Read also - Bending Stainless Steel Pipes

Relevant factors for folding or bending

  • Type of metal or alloy
  • Workpiece shape (sheet metal or profile)
  • Folding or round bending or bending of pipes or bending of profiles or hollow profiles
  • Surface treatment of the metal

Forming processes in industry

Various forming processes are used in the field of industrial production.

Swivel bending process

During swivel bending, the sheet metal is held in a stop system; an upper beam presses the sheet metal against a specially shaped lower beam. An angle is then pressed into the sheet metal using an additional bending beam.

Roll bending

Roll bending works in the same way as swivel bending, but the bending beam moves away from the sheet metal.

Die bending

In die bending, the sheet metal is pressed into a die by a punch and takes on the shape of the die. Other machines are used for tubes and profiles. These are mainly bending presses and manual bending presses, and bending springs also transfer the bending moment to the metal tube or profile.

Hot and cold bending

Some metals and alloys have to be heated before they can be formed. This is called hot bending. The heating can take place in different ways. The temperatures depend on the respective alloy. In cold bending, the metal is reshaped or folded while it is cold. Most metals allow such processing without any problems.


So-called matrices are used to maintain a certain radius when bending. These are preformed parts whose outer shape and diameter correspond exactly to the desired inner radius of the bend. You can either make matrices yourself, or use ready-made matrices according to inches. Matrices are used in particular when bending pipes or profiles.

Tips & Tricks Metalworking shops can usually bend tubes or profiles professionally because they have the tools they need. More difficult tasks and processing of sheet metal or other metal workpieces, on the other hand, are only formed by companies that specialize in bending.