What is Sheet Metal Fabrication?

September 12, 2022

You’ve probably heard about sheet metal fabrication, but you might not know exactly how it works or why manufacturers use it. We’ll tell you all you need to know — including the most common metals involved, how sheet metal is cut, formed, and joined and how it is used in various industries and products.

Which Metals Are Used in Sheet Metal Fabrication?

Fabricators choose the right metal by looking at factors like its intended use and whether it’s the best choice for specific manufacturing processes. Some of the most popular metals for sheet metal fabrication are:

  • Aluminum: This material offers a useful combination of strength and light weight.
  • Brass: Brass is lightweight, easy to work with and resistant to corrosion.
  • Bronze: This metal has high ductility, meaning it’s less likely to crack or break while you’re working with it.
  • Copper: Copper is a great conductor of heat and electricity.
  • Steel: Steel is very strong, has high ductility and is resistant to corrosion. Fabricators can choose stainless, tool, alloy or carbon steel depending on the project.

What Are the Advantages of Sheet Metal Fabrication?

Sheet metal’s versatility is a big part of its appeal. It can take many different shapes, and surface finishes like painting or powder coating further tailor the metal for specific uses. These characteristics help sheet metal fabricators meet detailed specifications.

Sheet metal fabrication is also convenient and cost-effective. It’s an affordable way to design and mass-produce high-quality products. And because of their light weight, sheet metal products are easier and less expensive to transport and install.

Another advantage is durability. The right metal with the right finish won’t crack or deteriorate in harsh weather or melt even when exposed to extreme heat.

How Are Sheet Metals Cut, Formed and Joined?

Skilled fabricators can transform sheet metal in several ways, including:

  • Cutting: There are several methods for cutting sheet metal into specific shapes. Mechanical cutting includes techniques like punching, which is useful for repeatedly creating the same shape, and shearing. When precision is critical, laser cutting can be used in place of shearing.
  • Forming: As the name suggests, forming involves shaping metal into specific configurations. This method can be done by stamping the metal with a press. Bending is the process of using machinery to form metal into curved or V shapes. With stretch forming, the metal can be pulled and bent into complex shapes.
  • Joining: Welding joins two pieces of metal by melting the edges so they fuse together as they cool. Metal can also be joined by inserting rivets or using adhesives.

What Are the Applications of Sheet Metals?

The advantages of sheet metal translate into its use in a wide range of products. It forms everything from cookware to street signs to airplane engine components. Specific metals lend themselves to specific uses — copper, for example, is used extensively in electrical equipment because of its effectiveness as a conductor.

Contact Fairlawn Tool for Your Sheet Metal Fabrication Needs

Whenever you require sheet metal fabrication services for a project, you can rely on us. At Fairlawn Tool, we have the experience and expertise to handle large and complex sheet metal fabrication projects. Contact us today to learn more.

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