If you’ve never heard of sheet metal fabrication, you’ve likely just never heard the term. But many industries use sheet metal, making fabrication an essential part of today’s world.
Sheet metal fabrication is a multi-step process that takes the sheet metal from its original shape to the final product. Let’s break down the process further and explore its many applications.
What Is Sheet Metal Fabrication?
Many different materials make sheet metal like steel, aluminum, copper, tin, and more. It’s preferable over other materials due to its lower cost and complete usability. No waste when cutting sheet metal- the entire sheet is fair game!
The fabrication process can vary based on what the sheet metal will be used to make, but we can break it down into three steps. First, we have the cutting process. Depending on the type of material and intended outcome, fabricators can use various cutting techniques. Some of these techniques include mechanical cutting, laser cutting, and more.
The second step is forming, which bends the metal into different shapes to help take the form of the final product. Next is the joining process, where the fabricator joins the metal together. You may be familiar with welding or hardware fasteners- these are joining tools that help assemble the product’s final shape.
The fabrication process is far more complicated than we could describe, so make sure to research a professional to help you out. Here are some questions to ask before hiring a sheet metal fabricator.
Sheet Metal Fabrication Techniques
Shearing used to be the main technique for cutting sheet metal. But, developments in fabrication have made for quicker and more precise methods. A punch press, for example, is one machine used to cut metal. A punch press is sometimes used with laser cutting techniques to create complex cutting patterns.
Presses and press brakes aid in the metal bending process. Bending doesn’t only mean creating beautiful curved metal. It can also involve making sharp corners, depending on the product.
The final step, forming, is also called hemming. Hemming is the final reinforcement of the sheet metal to create a stronger edge and cuts any sharp edges if necessary.
Some fabrication products will need additional techniques like shrinking and stretching. And of course, all sheet metals need finishing. A lot of these techniques nowadays have become easier through the use of machinery.
So now that you know the process, what is sheet metal fabrication actually used for?
Sheet Metal Applications
Sheet metal is a versatile material that dates as far back as the ancient Egyptians. The Industrial Revolution caused a huge spike in sheet metal use. But today you can find sheet metal in almost every appliance and piece of hardware.
Most structural, shipping, and other manufacturing sectors use sheet metal. Thus making the manufacturing industry the biggest consumer of fabricated sheet metal!
If you think of everyday hardware you can find in your home, it is likely made of sheet metal. For example, think of hardware like computers or hand tools. Don’t forget equipment used in the construction, HVAC, aerospace, and especially the agricultural industry.
In Need of Sheet Metal Fabrication?
As you can see, sheet metal fabrication makes many parts of modern life possible! No matter your need for sheet metal fabrication, make sure to contact a professional fabricator to get the job done.
Click around our blog for more articles on home improvement, equipment, and more!