have recently started using laser cut tube which is great. looking to make more use of what can be offered by the machine.looking to Produce a "Ready To cut" Box section length to be bent by the "notch bending" method. have seen it done in solid works but strugging my self. i would like to use in assembley method bent, but then need it straight for cutting.
I am also following this thread to hopefully see a clever solution. We have also started to make use of tube laser and I had the exact same question from one of our designers a week ago.
Is it really what people do bending?
Is it easy to bend after bending and laser processing like this?
I would like to apply it to our company.
It will be a very good way if it is not hard to bend.
Imics example is basically the process. Chances are you'll need to take a bigger cut, create the bend needed with approiate radius and then fill in gap. The cut edges treatment will typically need a "normal to surface" cut if you're using a 4-axis laser (head always stays perpendicular to material). I use a surface modeling process of creating the notches for all mating tubes then "add thickness" to the part, quickest process for my type of parts.
Below video shows me converting a conventional cut to "normal to surface".
We have been using this technique for a while now and it has yielded great results. For example, we had an assembly that was made from 5 tubes and one 4 mm thick metal plate, so a grand total of 6 different parts.
Now we make that same assembly with one long tube that has been laser cut and can be bent to the final shape, saving a LOT of work time. The seams are so neat and tight after bending, that we only have to weld the inside of every bend (compared to all four sides before).
We have outsourced the design process to the laser cutter. We send the completed assembly in an IGS-file and they design all the cuts and other stuff with a specified CAD program intended for such use. There are quite a lot of things you have to consider designing those cuts (lightening cuts on sharp angles so that the tube won't bulge outwards, microbridges that can be smashed open when bending the tube etc.), so we saw it more efficient to let those who are specialized in that do the designing.
And as @Craig_H mentioned, cuts have to be normal cuts when using 4-axis laser head, so take that into account especially when designing with round tubes.