Bending Aluminium to a Template

Bending Aluminium Extrusions to a Template


In the past we’ve discussed what references we bend to. Today we will discuss in detail the benefits and drawbacks of bending aluminium to a template. Including ways to improve your template to ensure the best possible results.


Benefits of using a Template when Bending Aluminium



Templates are a simple way to plot out what shape a bend needs to take. It is quite easy to cut out a shape to fit the required space without the need for specialist plotting software.


  • Quick and Easy
    • This means that templates can be very easy to quickly assemble with little to no hassle.
  • Reusable
    • Depending on the material, be used to multiple times and stored to be used many times over without much risk of damage or wear over time.
  • Great for when measurements are not known
    • Especially useful during refurbishing as the spaces for replacement aluminium windows, doors and more are not always symmetrical or exact. In these cases a template can correctly reflect the abnormal shape required without the need to complex calculations or measurements.
  • Useful as Checkers
    • Templates also function as their own checking tools. This means additional checkers often wont need to be produced as the final product can be checked with the template.


Template Drawbacks


  • Accuracy is limited
    • When hand making templates it is quite easy to make mistakes and create a ragged shape where a smooth curve is required. This can be corrected for but means that inaccuracies in the template can easily spill over to to the final product. This means that when creating a template a certain care must be taken to ensure that the shape is made as accurately as possible. This is not an issue when working to drawings as the measurements on drawings are often exact.
  • Bend difficulty can be overlooked
    • When enquiring on a job that is to be produced to a template is can be easy to overlook key areas of difficulty that may have been more quickly noticed when working to a drawing.
  • Freeform shapes are more difficult
    • Certain shapes requiring tight radius corners cannot always be produced with certain profiles and when discussing a shape or template these problem areas might not be brought up until the profile is delivered for work.


  • The material used for the template can also have an impact on its accuracy
    • Metal templates are usually the best option as they are less likely to deform.
    • MDF of Wooden templates are a fair option but come with risks on the edges where sections may splinter off and affect the shape. This reduces the overall accuracy of the template.
    • Paper templates are the cheapest option but comes with the most draw backs. Accuracy, durability and effectiveness are all lowered when using a paper template. These are usually fine for smaller run projects but larger batches will simply wear down the paper. Laminating the template is not always an option but can help prolong the lifespan.


How we use a Template



Bending to a template alone requires a more hands on approach to bending than if we had a full drawing. This is still very possible to do but it means we need to use the template in specific ways.

  • Bend to the Inside Edge
    • When bending to a template we will always bend to the inside edge of the template unless otherwise instructed. This leads to more consistent checking of completed parts.
  • Work to a Smooth Curve
    • Unless otherwise requested, we will work to a smooth curve over ragged edges. We will do this to the best of our ability but it does mean that the template will not match at every point. This is done to compensate for damaged or inaccurate template edges.