Thursday, July 22, 2021

What is Sheet Metal Fabrication?

piles of formed metal parts made from sheet metal

We depend on metal - and our world is full of it. Just take a look at all the things around you -

everywhere you go, metal has been used. It is used in the building and creation of large construction

projects and heavy machinery down to small household appliances and kids’ toys. 


How that metal transforms from big, flat sheets to tiny parts and components is all part of the sheet

metal fabrication process. Let’s take a closer look. 

Sheet Metal Fabrication: Defined

To fabricate something means to invent or manufacture it. Sheet metal fabrication, therefore, means

taking sheets of metal and creating a finished, usable product. It starts with a design and works its

way through a process that turns that design into a reality. 

Developing an Idea

The first step in sheet metal fabrication is developing an idea. What are you trying to create? What will

it look like? What will be required? Your design needs to be realistic and contain the ideas for any

metal components. Addressing the needs of the component, such as its thickness, ways it will bend,

markings and holes, etc. will be done within the initial idea. 

Creating the Blueprints

To put the sheet metal fabrication into motion, an engineer puts together certified drawings that act as

a roadmap for the manufacturer. These blueprints state all the details and specifications of sheet

metal required for the fabrication. 


Once the drawings are complete, they will be reviewed by the manufacturer to ensure that the design

can be manufactured. 

Developing the Prototype

Manufacturing companies will develop a prototype using different methods of sheet metal fabrication.

Finding the right method to obtain the desired outcome - including functionality and aesthetics - comes

with developing the prototype. 

Production Mode

Once the prototype has been tested and meets the requirements of the design, it will be sent into full

production mode. 

Sheet Metal Fabrication Techniques

Not all sheet metal fabrication methods are the same. Different techniques yield different results - and

the desired method will be based on the design. Sometimes when developing prototypes, more than

one technique may be used to find the best result. 


Below are five of the most common sheet metal fabrication techniques used. 

Cutting

Most sheet metal comes in a large, rectangular-shaped piece. So to get it down to the desired size

listed in the blueprints, it needs to be cut. There are many different tools and ways in which this cutting

happens.

Bending

As its name suggests, bending sheet metal means just that - bending it. Some designs will require

simple bends while others may be complex. This process in sheet metal fabrication can be rather

difficult due to the metal's determination to return to its flat state. Bending takes skill. 

Welding

There is a high chance with all sheet metal fabrication processes that two pieces of metal, or two ends

of the same piece of metal, will have to come together. Welding joins metal together using heat. 

Stamping

Stamping is a method that creates shapes and designs and textures on flat sheet metal. Using

pressure and various techniques, this stage will vary greatly from one project to the next based on

design. 

Punching

Punching holes in the metal or indenting it may be a part of the blueprints. If so, force is used to

perforate the metal to create the hole. 

The Finished Product

Sheet metal fabrication doesn’t end with the formation of the metal. For instance, there are different

surface finishes and design styles that can be used based on what you are seeking. 


Metal is one of the most widely-used products due to its ability to be fabricated into nearly anything -

as long as the right skill is involved. 


Atlas Bronze for Your Metal Needs

Though we do not supply sheet metal, we understand how important sheet metal fabrication is to the

world around us. Atlas Bronze is a local brass bronze metal supplier that manufactures made-to-order

forgings, plates, and castings. 


At Atlas Bronze, we have great pricing, quality, fast delivery, and over 25 years of excellence! If you would like to discuss your metal needs, contact us today. 


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