5 Common Methods Of Custom Metal Fabrication
Any process where the metal workpiece needs to be machined and changed to achieve the final product can be called metal fabrication. While a useful tool, the conventional method of processing metal might not work in cases where high specialization is required. To remedy that, custom metal fabrication is used, mostly to make prototypes in smaller quantities. Although it involves a high degree of customization, the processes used to machine the parts are similar to general fabrication.
Thus, manufacturers often opt for these 5 methods of custom metal fabrication:
One of the oldest forms of metal fabrication, cutting simply involves removing a part of the workpiece to achieve the final product. There are manual and automated ways to achieve this, ranging from sawing and power tools to more sophisticated technology such as laser cutting, waterjet cutting, plasma arc cutting, and more.
While the basic principle of machining is similar to cutting, the way manufacturers go about it is very different. Metal fabricators often opt for drilling, milling, or turning to achieve the finished product. In drilling, the drill bit or the cutting tool moves in a rotary motion to machine the workpiece. When it comes to turning, the piece is rotated in a lathe, whereas the cutting tool moves in a linear direction. Finally, for milling, a rotating cutting tool is used that has multiple cutting points.
Not all fabrication processes involve removing parts of the raw material. In welding, two or more parts are fused together with the help of a welding torch, which uses extremely high temperatures to fuse the metals together. The 4 common types of welding processes are Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Metal Inert Gas Welding (MIG), Tungsten Inert Gas Welding (TIG), and Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW).
In this method, the machine punches a hole through the workpiece to create the final product. The material with holes can be the final product or even the parts of the metal that were removed via punching can be the end product, which is known as blanking. In the case of custom metal fabrication, design-specific punch dies need to be manufactured to carry out this operation.
Shearing is carried out by removing a metal piece in a linear fashion. Basically, two blades are mounted onto the workpiece, one at the top and one at the bottom. As pressure is applied, the material starts breaking and the top blade continuously removes parts of the workpiece in a straight line. Although a convenient fabrication method, parts machined like this produce burrs and requires extensive finishing.
To conclude, these are the 5 common methods used in custom metal fabrication, although this list is not exhaustive by any means.
With over 3 decades of experience, Metal Tronics has emerged as one of the leading custom metal fabrication companies in Toronto. Keeping with the times, we have made a major transition to further computerize and automate our state-of-the-art machinery. Apart from delivering quality results, we are also a pioneer in molding young minds as we closely work with students who will be the next leaders and innovators of the metal fabrication industry. To know more about our services and exciting future endeavours, contact us today.