What Is Metal Fabrication?
- by Karl
Metal fabrication is complicated and encompasses a wide range of processes. Whether you would like something made as a once off, or you would like something mass produced, it is important that you to understand fabrication and the various processes that go into it.
Below is an outline of the three main fabrication processes that are used for metal. You will find details about how these processes work and some of their primary uses. In addition to this, there is a brief description of finishing touches and protective coatings that can be applied to fabricated metal products. This is a guide based on the practices of professional operators and should not be used as instructions for DIY jobs.
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Just as the name suggests, this fabrication process relies on cutting. It sounds heavy handed, yet it is actually one of the more technical and accurate processes available.
The first variant of cutting techniques is the physical shearing or sawing of metal, generally done by large machines, but it is also possible to do manually. In addition to this, it is also possible to cut metal using Oxyacetylene or plasma torches to manually cut using heat.
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The above methods have their place, however the most common method of cutting metals during fabrication is with CNC machining. These machines can use manual tools, laser cutting, or water jets. The desired design is programmed into the CNC machine and the metal is shaped by one of the aforementioned tools, into the shape specified by the computer design. As you can imagine, this method is particularly useful for intricate, or highly detailed projects.
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This is one of the more commonly used methods of fabrication. Fabrication processes that fall under the broad category of ‘joining’ include welding, riveting or bonding with adhesives. If you look around you right now, you should be able to spot one or more items constructed using these processes.
Welding, as you may already know, is joining two pieces of metal together using heat and a filler material. Riveting also joins two pieces of metal together, but with a metal rivet – no heat required. For some items, it is also possible to use an adhesive glue to join different components. Each of these methods have their own strengths and weaknesses, so depending on the task, a fabrication plant will recommend one of these methods over the others.
Bending, as the name suggests, is a fabrication process that involves bending metal into the desired shape. While it is possible to do this manually, modern machinery has largely replaced the more traditional manual bending methods. The absence of joints can make items made by bending much tougher and more durable.
The final touches to any fabricated product are applied once all the joining, cutting or welding has been completed. This can range from paint applied purely for aesthetic reasons, to protective coatings such as powder coating or sandblasting. In consultation with the manufacturer, you should be able to find a coating that is appropriate for your purpose and budget.
Jackrabbit Fabrication LLC
34956 E Davis Ranch Rd Marana, AZ 85658
Metal fabrication is complicated and encompasses a wide range of processes. Whether you would like something made as a once off, or you would like something mass produced, it is important that you to understand fabrication and the various processes that go into it. Below is an outline of the three main fabrication processes that…