Are You Using the Right Bend Radius for Your Precision Sheet Metal Formed Part? (Updated for 2024)

Last updated on January 2nd, 2024 at 10:23 am

When you need precision sheet metal parts fast, standard Design for Manufacturing (DFM) tips are your best friend. DFM advice like bend radius best practices helps to ensure that part designs are optimized for quick, accurate, and cost-effective sheet metal fabrication services.

Approved Sheet Metal published a free eBook filled with helpful DFM best practices, and today we're sharing our expert insights on bends and bend radii. (Download the eBook for the rest of our tips!)

Common Bend Radius Design Mistakes

Customers tend to make two common mistakes when designing the bend radius in a formed part:

Mistake #1. Listing 0.100" as the bend radius. Many customers design parts with a bend radius of 0.100”—the default measurement for bend radii in SOLIDWORKS. The problem is that standard tooling can’t create a bend radius of 0.100". We would have to make custom tooling, which could cost thousands of dollars and extend the project’s lead time.

Mistake #2. Making the inside bend radius measurement the same as the material thickness. Matching the inside bend radius measurement with the material thickness may seem like a reasonable solution, but it often poses problems. For example, if you're using common materials such as 0.100" aluminum or 0.104" stainless steel, the inside bend radius would become 0.100”, which brings us back to the tooling issue.

Sheet Metal Part Design for Manufacturing Tip


When designing sheet metal parts in SOLIDWORKS, the parts must be drawn as sheet metal. This ensures that the part unfolds and will flag any errors in the design. If the part doesn't unfold there is typically an error somewhere in the design. Drawing a radius manually to denote bends is fine as long as this simple rule is followed.

How to implement the industry standard sheet metal bend radius

Your best bet when designing formed parts is to use the industry standard bend radius of 0.030”. This measurement ensures consistent, high-quality parts with solid structural integrity.

We use 0.030" for all material thicknesses up to 0.125" (⅛") and increase the bend radius for thicker materials.

Using 0.030" for bend radii saves you the time, money, and hassle of having to invest in custom tooling. If your design calls for a 0.030" bend radius, our machines are ready to run your job through our shop quickly and cost-effectively.

Sometimes customers worry that flange length will change if we adjust their bend radius to 0.030”. Rest assured, this is not the case. We keep the range of change as narrow as possible and, in almost all situations, redesigning the bend radius does not affect part functionality.

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Your Partner in Precision Sheet Metal Design

If we notice that your design doesn’t have an optimal bend radius, we’ll adjust for you and be fully transparent about what we’re doing and why so that you’re never in the dark. We're always happy to make design changes for you to expedite your order.

Do you have questions about bend radii or other design features? Simply ask our team of experts!

Let’s work together on your next precision sheet metal fabrication project. Request a quote today to get started!

Sheet Metal Part Design for Manufacturing Tip


Bending sheet metal parts is a process that is completed by utilizing press brakes and our very skilled press brake operators. At Approved Sheet Metal, we can hold tolerances of +/- 1 degree on most bend angles. The ideal bend radius on formed parts is 0.030 in., this ensures that you can get consistent, quality parts that will maintain solid structural integrity.


Applying a Sheet Metal Bend Radius FAQ

One common mistake is listing 0.100" as the bend radius, which is not achievable with standard tooling and may require costly custom tooling.

No, it is not recommended. Matching the inside bend radius with the material thickness can pose problems as it may result in tooling issues.

The industry standard bend radius is 0.030", which ensures consistent, high-quality parts with solid structural integrity.

No, in most situations, redesigning the bend radius does not affect part functionality or change the flange length significantly.

Yes, the sheet metal fabrication team can make adjustments to the bend radius for you and will be transparent about the changes made to expedite your order. Simply ask our team of experts for assistance.

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