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The fabrication of foil bearings is challenging due to the dependence on sheet metal forming to produce the compliant structure. This paper is an attempt to shed light into the foil bearing manufacturing know-how. Design of experiments techniques are used to quantify the effects of the different manufacturing parameters, as well as defining an optimum manufacturing procedure. The effect of manufacturing noise on the static performance of foil bearings is quantified using a Monte Carlo simulation of a bump foil stiffness model. A non-intrusive optical measurement technique which has been developed to measure the formed bump foils is also presented. An uncertainty quantification was performed for the produced foils, showing large uncertainty in the bump dimensions, which significantly affect both nominal bearing clearance and compliance. Finite element simulations are used to model the bump foil forming process that would present potential problems during fabrication, suggesting sharp bends in the bump foil as the main driver for manufacturing deviations. Based on this outcome an improved design for the compliant bump foil with reduced curvature is proposed, manufactured and measured. The novel design allows to reduce springback error by 69% compared to classical bump foils and thus offers an equivalent yet more robust foil bearing design.