Forming Decorated Metals

Any design pattern finish will look twice as good when formed. Curved surfaces such as columns, soffits or similar acquire added reflectivity and brilliance. Forming is a cost effective technique; specifiers therefore should consider making use of its multiple possibilities.

PLAIN METALS

EDGE BENDING

Except for aluminum, all decorated sheet metal alloys in Stainless Steel and Brass/Copper can easily be bent to at least 90 degrees without noticeable loss to the decorated finish on the edge. If a sharp, almost pointed, 90 degree angle is necessary, the metal sheet needs to be V grooved in the back before bending. In this case there is no distortion of a pattern.

DEEP FORMING

If any decorated design patterns, especially symmetric drawings, are deeply “drawn,” severe distortion of the design will result with all metals. In such cases, the designer should specify free form, random type pattern or texture which will not show the effects from forming. In some cases, the effect of distortion is desirable as long as it is controllable at fabrication.

COLUMN COVER FORMING

Most column covers are roll or press brake formed. Because such radii are generally not tight, no visible deformation of the decorated surfaces will result.

BENDING/FORMING OF CLEAR COATED SHEET METAL

90 degree edge bending, deep forming or even some roll-forming of previously clear lacquer epoxy or urethane coating can cause the coating to crack or even to de-laminate in the bent/formed areas:

COPPER ALLOYS: The micro cracks resulting from above should be resealed after bending/forming to avoid tarnishing of the edge or formed area.

ALUMINUM: The resulting cracks in the edge or formed areas are much less of a problem since oxidation of aluminum which is mostly used in indoor applications, is very slow and insignificant in relation to the probable life cycle of the application.
Most aluminum alloys and hardness graduated types are relatively brittle and cannot easily be formed without cracking and without developing an ugly stretching of the surface called “orange peel.” If this condition is severe, it will affect the decorative finish.