Sheet metal fabrication makes producing a broad range of products or structures, quick, cheap, and easy. From small component parts to cars and planes, sheet metal fabrication services can get the job done.
If you’re in the aerospace, HVAC, robotics, or construction industries you should consider using sheet metal. Modern fabrication techniques make prototypes and finished products accurate. You’ll get quality products built to your demanding specifications.
If you’re in the Tulsa, Oklahoma, region, we’ve got your sheet metal needs covered. To help you understand what you need to know about sheet metal fabrication, we’ve put together a short guide.
Check out this list of seven aspects of sheet metal fabrication and get started on your next project with all the information you need.
1. What Is Sheet Metal Fabrication?
Sheet metal fabrication is when a manufacturer creates structures or products from flat sheets of metal. The metal is usually steel or aluminum.
Sheet metal is used in car and truck manufacturing. It is used for airplanes, medical equipment, and buildings.
The structures or products are built by folding, cutting, and punching the metal sheets. The sheet metal is also bent into shape, or cut. It can also be stretched and can be made into almost any shape by a skilled sheet metal fabrication service.
2. How Is It Done?
Sheet metal is created from aluminum, tin, nickel, steel, copper, titanium, and brass. The sheets are produced to standardized thicknesses and tolerances.
Fabrication services use a variety of methods to do the job. To start with, they use 3D Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to tell a machine how to cut and form the sheet.
The machines use tools such as brakes, dies, and punches. They bend and cut the sheets. Welding is also used to join sheets together.
3. Techniques For Sheet Metal Fabrication?
Sheet metal fabrication uses specialized tools and techniques. One of these tools is a press brake. A press brake clamps the sheet between a punch and die.
The punch and die on a press brake squeeze the sheet. As it squeezes, the sheet is formed into a new shape through the bend it gets.
Press brakes can create sharp angles and bends without damaging the integrity of the metal.
4. Special Tools?
Other tools used by sheet metal fabrication services include band saws and chop saws. These tools cut the sheet metal in uniform ways. They ensure an even and precise cut.
Cutting torches are also used. These torches use a waterjet, a laser, or a plasma torch. The type of cutting torch used depends on the metal being formed and the type of cut that is needed.
When large areas of sheet metal must be cut a cutting torch is often the preferred tool for the job. They are quick and efficient.
5. Welding Sheet Metal
Welding sheet metal is an important part of the fabrication process. Many sheet metal jobs require multiple sheets to be joined together. Welding allows fabrication services to join the cut and bent sheets together into much larger products and structures.
There are a number of different welding techniques used for sheet metal. These include MIG welding, resistance welding, laser welding, projection welding, and TIG welding. Robots sometimes perform welding tasks.
TIG and MIG welding use an electric arc to heat and melt a wire to the sheet metal. When the metal wire melts it bonds the two pieces of sheet metal together.
Resistance welding does not use a melted wire to join the sheets. Instead, it uses pressure and current. This process joins the sheets together without needed another material to form the bond between the two sheets.
No matter what technique is used to weld sheet metal, it is a crucial part of the process in building larger structures.
6. Sheet Metal Prototyping
One of the most common things a good sheet metal fabrication service does is build prototypes. A sheet metal prototype is a scaled-down model of the client’s finished product. Building a prototype out of sheet metal is an important step because clients get to see exactly how the larger finished product will look.
The benefits of using a sheet metal prototype rather than a 3D printer version are that you see how the bends, cuts, and welds will look in the actual metal used. A 3D printer can only provide a visual guide. The sheet metal prototype is the real thing but smaller.
Sheet metal prototypes can also be tested for tolerances and performance in the actual task they will do.
7. Putting On A Finish
Once the sheet metal has been cut, bent, and welded into the shape required, a finish is applied. The product is blasted. Then it is primed and painted.
The finishing process eliminates sharp or rough edges. It gets rid of imperfections on the surface, too. The priming and painting make sure the product looks great for the customer.
Depending on what type of metal the sheet is made from, different blasting techniques can be applied. The chosen technique also depends on what kind of finish is needed by the customer.
Different types of blasting used on sheet metal include sandblasting, wet abrasive blasting, bead blasting, and bristle blasting.
Know The Basics Of Sheet Metal Fabrication
Now that you know what’s what in sheet metal fabrication, it’s time to partner up and start work on your next project.
Whether you need a prototype or new HVAC built, sheet metal should be your go-to manufacturing technique now.
In the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area, we’re the sheet metal specialists you need to talk to. Our expert and skilled team will work with you to make your sheet metal project a reality. Buildings and HVAC are our specialities, but we’re happy to talk to you about your project.
Give us a call today to talk to one of our wonderful team.