Metal Bending and Forming Guidelines

We’ve covered everything you need to know about bending your laser-cut metal parts from SendCutSend. You should also check out our Designing for Metal Bending page.

Bending Services

Setup and Cost

Bending your metal parts adds a $19.00 minimum to your order, per design. Pricing starts at $5 per part, once you’ve met the minimum charge. See our handy chart below for examples.

# of Parts Total Cost The Math
1 $19 ($5 x 1 = $5 < $19)
2 $19 ($5 x 2 = $10 < $19)
5 $25 ($5 x 5 = $25 > $19)
10 $50 ($5 x 10 = $50 > $19)

Cost per additional (identical) part: $5 each up to 10 units. For the best pricing over 10 units, please request a custom quote.

For shipping, please allow for an additional 3-5 business days (100 pieces or more may require additional time). Most bent parts will ship ground as they will exceed 2″ in height when packed.

Service and Metal Limitations

Before you start dreaming up your next project, you’ll need to know some of the limitations to metal bending.

  • Maximum of 3 bends per part — Need more? Request a quote.
  • Maximum bend length of 30”
  • Maximum thickness of .250”

While we’re happy to bend your parts to your hearts’ desire, there are some bends we don’t offer:

  • No acute angles greater than 130°
  • No joggle/offset bends
  • No curl, bump, or roll forming
  • No coining
  • No window bends
  • No hemming

Materials Available for Bending

  • 5052 Aluminum
  • Mild Steel
  • 304 Stainless Steel
  • Chromoly
  • Copper
  • Brass

Material Limits

  • 0.030” – 0.250” thickness, custom quote required for thicknesses greater than .125″
  • Minimum flat size 1.5” x 1.5”
  • Max bend length 30” (Possibly less depending on material thickness)
  • No 6061 Aluminum
  • No Titanium
  • No AR400/AR500

File Setup

Here are the basics you’ll need to know before you send us your first file for bending. If you have any questions, feel free to contact support.

Files Accepted by Our Instant Quote System:

Adobe Illustrator .ai
AutoCAD .dxf
CorelDraw .eps
Fusion360 .dxf
Inkscape .eps
Solidworks .dxf

Please upload a “flat” .DXF, .AI or EPS as you normally would. We do not require a 3D file for bending, although you are encouraged to attach a 3D rendering to your order to help us understand your project. If you design your parts in non-CAD software, please send us the original (native) ai file. We’ll take care of the conversion on our end.

If you design your parts in non-CAD software (Adobe Illustrator), please send us the original (native) ai file. We’ll take care of the conversion on our end.

To learn more about design guidelines for laser-cutting, please see our Laser-Cutting Guidelines.

Flange and Base

Before we begin, some basic terms you’ll need to know are base and flange. The flange is the edge you will be bending.
Flange and base of a metal bend

Minimum and Maximum Flange Length

The flange length must be at least 1/2″ (.500″) or 4x the material thickness, whichever is greater (some materials and bend angles will require longer flange minimums).

In the example below the metal is .125″ thick. That means the minimum flange length will need to be .5″.

The maximum flange length we offer at SendCutSend is 24″.

  • Minimum flange to flange clearance 0.020”
  • Minimum flange width 0.250”

Maximum Flat Size

Maximum flat size is 30″. Flat size is the total of your base and flanges.

Bend Lines

We will use the flat DXF for cutting and bending, so please indicate your bend locations in your drawing using a different color than your cutting path. You will want to use a separate color for each bend direction. Using a dashed line for bends is also recommended. Do not use layers for bends. See the illustration below. The “up” bend is indicated using green and the “down” bend using orange.

Bend Deduction

Bend Deduction is used to counteract material stretch caused by forming. This is unique to each material type, thickness, and bend angle. We’ve created a calculator to help you make your measurements spot on.

Advanced-user note: All calculations should be for air bending not coining.

Once you have your new measurements from the bend calculator, you’ll want to adjust your file accordingly. You will be reducing the length of your base and flange to accommodate the length of the bend itself, aka the bend deduction. See the illustration below for an example. The green line indicates where the bends will occur.

Acute and Obtuse Bends

The bend angle is measured on the outside of the bend. In the illustration below, you will see that the acute bend is being called out as 130°.

C-Channel or U-Channel Bends

For these bends, the base must be at least 2 times wider than the flange length. For example, a 1” flange on two sides requires a minimum 2” base (base is the remaining material, or the “bottom of the U”). The base can be greater than 2:1. For example, a 5” base with 1” flanges is fine (that would be a 5:1 ratio).

Bend Relief Notches

If you want to reduce bulging at the ends of your metal laser-cut parts, include some small semi-circles for bend relief. Circles should be 50% of material thickness at 90 degrees. For example, .063” semi circles removed from your part would reduce bulging in .125” material.

Odd Flange Shape

While we do allow for irregular shapes for your flange, we will need a flat piece to bend. To do this, add tabs to make a flat surface parallel to the bend.

Take a look at the example below. The irregular shape is still attached to the flat area and will be removed upon receiving parts.

What to Expect

  • Simple, single bend parts will have a +/- 0.015” tolerance, bend to edge
  • Multi bend parts +/- 0.030” Bend to edge. Each bend adds at least .015” tolerance
  • +/- 2-degrees (or less) tolerance on all bend angles.
  • Marks from the bending process will be visible. These can become deeper and more noticeable depending on the material.
  • We do not offer special protection available for cosmetic parts at this time.
  • Some bulging at the ends of the bend will be expected .

You’re Ready to Bend

Nervous? Don’t be. Although metal forming is a deeply complex process, we here at SendCutSend aim to make part bending as easy as possible. Questions? Email us anytime:

Happy bending!

Pre-flight Checklist

Before you upload your design files, be sure to go through our pre-flight checklist:

Start your first SendCutSend project today!

Upload your CAD design (DXF, DWG, EPS, or AI file) and get a free instant quote on your custom laser cut parts, all delivered to your door in a matter of days.

View More Guidelines

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Laser Cutting Guidelines


CNC Machining Guidelines

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