Folding Steel Plate


For metal construction and possibly repairs various steel plates have to be shaped before being assembled. That is what this skill is about.

First we will look at the equipment and machinery that the craftsmen use for this and in the second part we will explain the successive operations for doing this on the basis of an example.

Tools, machinery and equipment that the craftsmen use for folding steel plate.

This example is based on a repair. A ship has had a collision and part of the skin needs to be replaced.

A number of easily to bend round iron sheets and rods. These are used to make a template that reflects the ultimate shape of the repair.

Angle grinder
The angle grinder is used to cut the iron rods to length.


What are the successive steps that the shipbuilders take to form the correct curvature in the steel plate

  • The photographs on the right show the side of a ship where a steel plate has to be replaced. The plate shall have to be curved in order for it to be fixed to the frames.

  • The easy to bend steel rods are bent into the shape of the ship’s skin. The frames can be used for shaping the rods. Once they have been bent, the rods are welded together, thus creating the shape that the skin plate shall have to adopt. A template has therefore been made.

  • If the steel plate only needs to be folded in one direction then a folding machine is used. In the example chosen, the steel plate also has to be given a spherical shape. This requires a more specialised hydraulic press.

  • The folding lines are marked on the steel plate using chalk. Force will be applied to these lines in order to achieve the required curvature.

  • End result - The steel plate is positioned under the press and after a number of presses on the positions marked with the chalk the work piece is compared with the template.
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Tools Required

  • Angle grinder
  • Hydraulic press
  • Rod

Materials Required

None applicable

Training Instruction

 Click to download training lesson plan:

Folding a Steel Plate

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