Metal Fabrication

What is Metal Fabrication?

Metal fabrication is a term that refers to any type of process cutting, shaping, or molding metal into an end product. It is called fabrication because the final product is not assembled from components; instead, it is made from scratch using raw materials.

Usually, when using steel media, it is normal to use stainless steel shot abrasive to leave the final item mirror bright and clean.

Read more about stainless steel shot abrasive

What are the Metals Used?

Metal fabrication accepts a range of common metals and alloys. The most popular metal types are aluminum, copper, brass, iron, gold, silver, nickel, titanium, tin, magnesium, and several grades of steel.

Fabrication usually starts with stock metal components, such as sheet goods, rods, billets, and bars.

How does a Metal Fabrication Shop Work?

Metal fabricators, or fab shops, are usually hired by a contractor, an equipment manufacturer, or even a reseller. They send to project to a fabricator. It is also common for fab shops to actively submit their drawings for larger contracts.

Once both parties agree, it is time to plan the work. Fabricators will now order the materials required.

It is becoming more common for them to have an in-house manufacturing engineer who will program a CNC machine for the project.

Parts of the work may or may not be subcontracted, but that depends on the complexity of the project and the fabricator specialization.

Once the work has been completed, it is time to finish it: deburr, polish, coat, and paint. Finishing is a separate process because it is considered a treatment to the final product exterior, instead of shaping the parts to create it.

What is Metal Casting?

Casting is when fabricators pour molten metal into a mold and allow it to cool and harden into a shape. It is often used when creating identical products.

Die-casting is a similar process, but the liquid metal is forced into a die and pressuring it until hardening it. It is a faster process, ideal for faster production lines.

What is Metal Extrusion?

It is when the machine forces a work piece (a metal slug or cylinder) through a die, reducing it to the shape of such die. This is usually used to produce wiring or piping.

Impact extrusion, or cold extrusion, occurs at room temperature. It increases the strength of the fabricated part, effectively stronger than the initial material. It is usually used with steel fabrication.

What is Metal Machining?

Machining is when the fabricator uses a bigger chunk of raw material and removes unwanted material, shaping it as necessary. Most of metal machining is made on a lathe by turning it or drilling it, however machining also makes use of milling metal in order to shape it.

CNC machining is used when precision is required. It is a great way to make identical parts.

What is Metal Stamping?

Stamping is when a press indents the metal, raising some parts of it. It can be used to create shapes, letters, or even images. It can be mechanical or hydraulic.

Metal coining is a similar process used to create coins, cutting and stamping their value in a single step.