Precision Sheet Metal; the Basics

Metal Fabrication: The building of metal structures by bending, cutting and / or assembling processes.

The goal of metal fabrication is to create a product comprised of metal that has been modified from its raw or original form. This is often done in a machine shop setting. The metals used are processed using a range of temperature which can be classified as cold, warm or hot.

Precision sheet metal fabrication refers to the many processes that are used to create finished products from sheet metal. These products are used in a variety of industries for any number of applications. Examples of products created using this type of fabrication technology often include:

  • Machinery
  • Paper clips
  • Computers
  • Nails
  • Automotive parts

What factors influence the fabrication process?

A number of external factors will influence the fabrication process, these include the rate of production, the desired geometry, and the physical requirements of the finished design. Every precision metal fabrication process will undergo the same three basic parameters:

1. Forming

2. Cutting

3. Finishing

Forming is the process of altering the shape of the metal from its original flat sheet metal form. Forming is done using a number of different methods, such as bending, annealing, cold rolling, forging, drawing, press forming, roll forming, mechanical working and welding. After the forming has been completed, a metal sheet is cut to the specifications required.

Cutting involves processes like shearing, stamping, sawing, drilling, punching and blanking with the goal of shaping the design.

Finishing is the last and final stage of the process. During this process, the cut material goes through various finishing techniques like sanding, painting, and vibrations in order to create a look that is aesthetically pleasing and a product that is function. Some of the most common finishing techniques include laser cutting, water jet cutting, electro discharge machining, wire cut EDM and CNC machining or boring.

What are the most common products created in sheet metal fabrication?

While it is true that you can fabricate almost anything from metal, the most common objects created include:

  • Enclosures
  • Exhaust systems
  • Hoods
  • Metal cabinets
  • Prototypes and tanks
  • Ventilation Shafts

Metal fabrication is used in nearly every industry, including:

  • Manufacturing
  • Food and restaurant supplies
  • Communications
  • Automotive
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Residential
  • Construction

Precision Sheet Metal fabrication is one of the most commonly requested forms of metal fabrication. The methods used include annealing, bending, cold forming, cold rolling, drawing, extrusion and spinning.

Sams Fabrications is the UK’s leading steel fabrication shop. We offer a range of services, including precision sheet metal fabrication.

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