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Get a complete guide to sheet metal fabrication from the basics of cutting, bending and beyond.

Get a complete guide to sheet metal fabrication from the basics of cutting, bending and beyond.

Sheets of metal are formed and joined with tools according to a process which is used in many industries and sectors.

Sheet metal fabrication is the process of turning sheet metal into functional parts. In this guide, we have divided the processes into three separate categories: cutting, deformation, and assembly.

Sheet metals include different types of metals with varying thicknesses. Thinner gauges are more malleable while thicker ones may be better for heavy-duty parts with strenuous applications.

Sheet metal fabrication is a cost-effective alternative to processes like casting, machining and multiple casting. The process is also quick and produces minimal material wastage.

The fabrication of sheet metal parts has been extremely important throughout history, and in industries like automotive, aerospace, energy, and robotics.

There are hundreds of specialized manufacturing processes, including a variety of cutting services.

When you see sheet metal fabrication, it can be defined as a subtractive manufacturing process in which usable parts are made by cutting sections of material.

Metal fabricators can use a variety of different machines to cut metal, from intricate pieces that are really only found in this industry.

One of the key tools used in cutting sheet metal is a laser cutter. This tool uses a powerful laser with a lens or mirror. It is accurate and energy-efficient and works well on thin or medium gauges of sheet metal but might struggle on harder metals.

laser cutting pictureAnother sheet metal fabrication method is water jet cutting. Water jet cutting uses a high-pressure, mixed with an abrasive substance, water to cut through metal efficiently and quickly. Water cutters are useful for making cuts with low melting point metals because of the lack of structural deformation caused by heat.

Water jet cutting, a third of the cost and accuracy wise, is the best means of metal cutting when precision is not of primary concern. A plasma cutter creates an electrical channel of ionized gas which forms a jet of hot plasma that easily penetrates even thick gauges of sheet metal. Although less accurate than laser or water jet cutters, plasma cutters are fast, powerful, and low in cost to set up.

Sheet metal alloys are produced from these three types of materials: 600-Mild Steel, CM201, and Chrome Molybdenum. 3D printing is often used for metal fabrication because of the layer-by-layer adding and removal of the material.

Punching is a metalworking process used to create holes that can also be used as new workpieces. In the process, punched circular pieces of metal are removed, turning them into scrap. These pieces can also be used to create new workpieces; this is called blanking.

If you're looking to get the holes you want, we have a lot of options for you. We can use similar equipment to create perforations in sheet metal.

Sheet metal fabrication: Deformations Best Rapid Prototype Sheet Metal Manufacturing Service

Sheet metal fabrication processes can be divided into two categories: shaping and cutting. Deforming is one category that belongs to the latter. The various ways of altering a sheet metal surface without cutting it is astonishing when you look more closely.

One of the main types of metal-forming processes is bending. Sheet metal companies usually bend sheet metal into V shapes, U shapes, and channels to an angle of up to 120 degrees. Thinner gauges of sheet metal are easier to bend, while thicker gauges can be decamberd by using a process called decambering.

Stamping is another deformation process. It can also be considered a subcategory of its own. It involves the use of a hydraulic or mechanical stamping press that uses tools and dies to create various shapes with one tool, such as a punch. Being similar to punching, the material needs to be detached from the shape. Stamping can be used for specific purposes like curling, drawing, embossing, flanging, or hemming.

A process similar to CNC turning or pottery spinning, the spinning process involves rotating sheet metal as it's pressed against a specialized tool. While this technique is used for creating rounded objects like cones, cylinders and more, it can also be adapted for more complex forms.