THE METAL FABRICATION PROCESS
Although most metal fabrication focuses on the shaping and cutting of metal, there are multiple steps involved in a successful fabricated project. The process starts with a design or rendering and ends with a finished, functional part.
Designing a metal fabrication project: The first step in any project is design. Some businesses come to us with a completed design. More commonly, businesses come to us with a prototype. We work with them to refine and test the design before starting a large run.
Today, many metal fabricators use Computer Aided Design (CAD) or Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM) during the manufacturing process. With CAD and CAM programs, we’re able to develop a 3-D prototype of an object before we begin the actual metalwork.
Because a project can include many components, this phase helps to ensure that the product will function as required. From the prototype or rending, we’ll determine the size and shape of each part required.
During the design process, we’ll also clarify the types of metal that will be used, and the finishing process that’s needed.
Fabricating the part: The actual building process is the second step of a metal fabrication job. During this phase, we’ll cut and shape each of the components from the design phase. The tools used to fabricate metal can include shears, mills, lathes, and nibblers.
We often use CNC tools, or Computerized Numerical Controls, to ensure that each piece is cut exactly to the specifications of the design. These tools extract a computer program of the exact commands and specifications used to create a piece. This program is then loaded into CNC machine.
Finishing and assembling the part: The last step in metal fabricationis finishing and assembling the pieces into the final product. These processes strengthen the product and ensure that it’s ready for use.
Finishing techniques like grinding and deburring ensure that materials function properly and have no excess material. Metals might also be heat treated to strengthen them, or plated with zinc or another finish.
We also make sure that products are marked and printed according to your specifications. This can include measurements, company logos, and other information. Finally, we assemble and package the materials.