What is a Bevel (Beveling) in Engineering and Manufacturing?

what is a bevel

The beveling is an important manufacturing procedure. It is performed on the mating edge of mechanical components to facilitate convenient assembly and enhance performance. This article discusses the beveling process in detail by addressing the question of what is a bevel, the types of bevel cuts, and its various practicalities.

What is Beveling (a Bevel)?

Let us begin with the main question at hand: what is beveling? In easy terms, the beveling definition is that it is a manufacturing process where the mating edge of a workpiece is prepared in a specific configuration (angle, shape). This bevel facilitates its assembly with a corresponding mating component, which is one of the most common aspects of a design for manufacturing analysis

bevels in engineering design

Advantages of Bevels in Engineering Design

Now that we have an established bevel definition and purpose, we can talk about its advantages in mechanical assembly. There are several reasons why the beveling is a core engineering design feature.

Ease of Assembly

Beveling is a useful way of ensuring that mating parts fit well together in the correct configuration. For example, machinists create complex joints by crafting bevels on their workpieces. Without the proper form of the bevel, assembling such joints is impossible.

Improve Welding Quality

Welding edge preparation is a specialized application of the beveling process. With the proper bevel geometry, engineers can guarantee a deeper weld penetration by allowing ample space for welders to deposit filler into the weld zone. Moreover, the geometry of a beveled edge can also expedite heat transfer and dissipation, which contributes to the consistency and strength of the weldment.


One of the primary advantages of the beveling process is its contribution towards enhanced user safety. Sharp edges in products may cause injuries. Therefore, when such a hazard is present, designers prefer adding a beveled edge to ensure their designs are safe to use. Examples of this include bevels on metallic enclosures, car rims, etc.

Stress Distribution

Sharp edges are highly susceptible to failures like wear and tear, cracking, and chipping due to their stress-prone geometry. Since they do not offer a lot of surface area to distribute stress across, even a small force can damage them.

Therefore, a core reason for beveling edges is to have an edge geometry that has lower stress concentration due to its larger surface area.


A beveled edge can oftentimes enhance the visual appeal of a product. For example, a car panel with bevel edges looks far more eye-catching than its sharp-cornered counterpart.

Similarly, imagine a smartphone body with very sharp edges instead of rounds. Not only would it be unsafe and difficult to use, but it would also not look that good either.

Types of Bevels

A beveled cut can take many forms and sizes, each having its specific applications and considerations. In this section, we will discuss the different types of bevels.

V bevel

Plain Bevel/V Bevel

A plain bevel, or V bevel, is the most common type of beveled cut. It is a simple slanted edge with a constant angle and oftentimes, a constant face width. Although very basic in its geometric form, it serves an important role in many engineering applications.

For example, the slant angle of plain bevel provides a deep enough space for good weld penetration. Furthermore, it is also quite common to have it for safety and aesthetic purposes.

What’s more, the straight face of a plain bevel is quite easy to manufacture and due to this, it is also very accurately machinable. This is an important feature as a smooth bevel face can reduce stress buildup, spalling, and crack formation.

J bevel

J Bevel

J bevels have an edge that resembles the letter ‘J’, hence, the name J bevel. Its edge has a composite profile with both straight and rounded sections.

It is a more heavy-duty type of bevel geometry as it allows a larger surface area for welding joints with deeper penetrations. The J bevel is preferred for butt welds since its straight face provides a good assemblage reference and the rounded portion allows easy access to the welding edge with ample space for the weld pool to form.

compound bevel

Compound Bevel

A compound beveled edge features a more complex form, with at least two unique profiles. Typically, it comprises two straight bevels on the same edge, each at a different angle and width. However, any number of combinations are possible. In addition, compound bevel is one of the most versatile types of bevel edges, having utility in carpentry, metalworking, and pipe assembly.

While its functionality for weld edge preparation is limited owing to better, the compound bevel is sometimes useful for advanced welding applications. For example, in certain cases, non-uniform weld strength may be required across the edge to provide additional support to one end. A compound bevel can be useful in such a case.

Knife Edge Bevel

A knife-edge bevel is a special kind of bevel geometry with a very sharp, point-edge preparation. It is useful in products where a sharp edge is required. For example, knives, surgical instruments, woodworking equipment like chisels, and cutting tools.

Radiused Bevel

A radiused bevel is characterized by its rounded, bullnose profile at its pointy edge. Its applications include adding safety features to products like automotive panels, metal frames, etc.

Additionally, its round edge also reduces stress concentration at the beveled edges. For example, cutting tool edges have a slight roundness to avoid unwanted chipping.

Beveling Tools and Equipment

The beveling process is not remarkably different from the majority of machining procedures, it is still quite specialized in terms of equipment and tooling.

Manual Tools

In many workshops, machinists use manual tools like hand files and handheld grinders for the beveling process. They need their skills and knowledge to create bevel edges in small to medium-sized projects.

The application of these tools is limited to simpler bevel geometries, though, as producing complex bevel profiles is not possible on a large scale with manual tools.

Power Tools

One step ahead of manual tools are power tools like angle grinders and routers. This option offers reasonable accuracy, speed, and versatility in terms of bevel geometry. Therefore, power tools for beveling are very common to find in most machine shops.

flame cutting bevel

Flame Cutting

Flame cutting is another popular choice for beveling. It works by using a flame torch to heat the material up to its melting temperature, at which point it separates from the main workpiece edge, leaving behind a bevel.

The process of flame cutting is mainly useful in applications like pipe beveling and thin workpieces. However, the flame cannot fully penetrate through thicker workpieces, it generally requires finish operations to remove excess molten material.

bevel on stainless steel part

CNC Machines

CNC machining centers are the go-to option for manufacturers when they want to perform a beveling process requiring high accuracy, complex geometry, and productivity.

Multi-axis machining capabilities allow for effortless machining of complex bevel profiles. Moreover, since CNC technology is very precise and can use very small cutting tools, it is perfectly capable of accurately creating small bevel edges.

Another advantage of using CNC machines for beveling is that it requires almost no post-processing. There are minimal burrs, the surface finish is fine, and there is no noticeable thermal damage.

Specialized Beveling Machines

Workshops with regular beveling jobs often choose to invest in a dedicated beveling tool. These machines are quite similar to CNC machines in terms of accuracy and speed but are custom-designed to support beveling operations on a variety of geometries including plates, pipes, and angle irons.

Moreover, they also support specialized beveling processes using custom milling bits.

How to Measure Bevels?

A beveled edge can be quite complex in shape, which involves the chance of machining errors and inaccuracies. Therefore, having a strict quality control procedure is necessary for ensuring dimensional accuracy.

bevel protractor

In this section, we provide a list of the tools experts use to measure bevels.

  • Universal Vernier Bevel Protractor: These are special tools for measuring bevel angles and lengths, two of the most important dimensions of a bevel cut.
  • Bevel Protractor with Spirit Level: It is a combination device to measure the angle of a bevel along with ensuring that the measurement is level with a flat surface.
  • Laser Angle Measurement: Laser measurements offer incredible accuracy in angle measurements and are common in high-precision projects.
  • Coordinate Measurement Machines (CMMs): CMMs are the advanced measuring equipment when it comes to high-precision measurements. They help guarantee tight dimensional tolerances on bevel edges with strict quality requirements.

Expert Tips for Beveling

The beveling process, while seemingly simple, has its fair share of challenges. While preparing a beveled edge, operators need to keep some considerations in mind to ensure an efficient process with ideal results.

types of bevels

Here are a few tips that experts give to maximize beveling quality:

Consistency is Key

The effectiveness of a bevel lies in how uniform its geometry is. If the bevel is to be cut at a specific angle, the entire bevel face (bevel land) should be at that angle. Thus, operators need to practice beveling with the goal of geometric consistency in mind.

Avoid Heating the Workpiece

While heating a workpiece is surely tempting as it gets easier to cut, it is not suitable for the beveling process. The reason is that a beveled edge is generally prepared for welding, where the uniformity of the material characteristics of both workpieces matters a lot. By heating the metal, its material properties may change, leading to potential problems down the line.

Edge Preparation

Edge preparation is an important pre-beveling procedure with direct effects on its quality. Make sure that the edge is clean and free from rust or debris to avoid uneven bevels and excessive tool wear.

Consider Coolants

The workpiece can get considerably hot during beveling due to friction. The use of lubricants and coolants must be considered when beveling hard-to-cut materials like steels or titanium alloys.

Compare Bevel vs. Chamfer vs. Fillet

It is common confusion in design engineering to use the words bevel, chamfer, and fillet interchangeably, all three of which are edge operations. In this section, we address the confusion between bevel, fillet and chamfer.

A beveled edge, as discussed, is an edge operation between two surfaces. The surface can be at any angle, the bevel can have a variety of angles, and the bevel profile can consist of any number of straight, round, or curved surfaces.

bevel vs chamfer

A chamfer, on the other hand, is much restricted in what it can be. It is generally between two flat surfaces at 90° junctions and has one flat surface rather than a complicated profile. A chamfer is like a subset of the beveling process.

Finally, a fillet is another edge operation, but it has a single, round profile that connects two faces. It is generally useful in reducing stress concentrations, and safety hazards, and enhancing aesthetics.

Use of Bevels in Engineering Applications

Bevels have innumerable applications in a diverse range of industries. It is a very common design feature that can be present in almost any product. Some of its main engineering applications are as follows:

beveling process

  • Weld Preparation: Welding edge preparation is undeniably the most common application of the beveling process. High-quality beveling improves welding penetration, weldment strength, and resistance to failure.
  • Pipe and Tube Beveling: Pipes are universal products with various uses. Joining two pipes/tubes together is impossible with proper edge beveling.
  • Cutting Tools: Cutting requires sharp edges with the proper, intricate edge geometry. Beveling is a common method to give the cutting edges of cutting tools their proper shape so they can easily cut through hard materials.
  • Industry Applications: Several components in aerospace/automotive products feature edge bevels. For example, airplane external profiles seldom feature sharp corners to minimize air resistance and improve fuel efficiency.
  • Architecture/Home Decoration: The aesthetic appeal of a beveled edge is unignorable. Everything in homes from tabletops, tiles, furniture, and appliances features bevel cuts for visual appeal and user safety.


The beveling process is among the common operations in the manufacturing industry, with widespread applications. Bevels contribute to part performance, safety, and aesthetics, and they come in numerous design configurations.

WayKen Rapid Manufacturing specializes in custom manufacturing solutions. Our machining services include a detailed design for manufacturing analysis, including optimizing bevel geometry and offering effective machining solutions for you.


What are some common defects in bevels?

Bevels are susceptible to several kinds of defects. Some of the common ones are inconsistent bevel angles, rough edges, edge burning, chipping, and cracking of the edges. All of these can be prevented by adopting professional manufacturing practices and process parameters.

What are the most important parameters in beveling?

The most important beveling parameters are bevel angle, bevel width, federate, and speed.

What is the purpose of bevel edge preparation?

Bevel edge preparation is an important part of the beveling process. It ensures smooth and clean edges, helps achieve machining accuracy, and improves tool life.

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