From Artificial Intelligence to Handcrafting: A Manufacturing Blog

4 Sheet Metal Fabrication Steps that Make a Finished Product

by Jennifer Jones

Aluminium and steel are some of the most popular metals used to fabricate all manner of household, construction and industrial equipment. However, very few people wonder about the process used to covert the sheets of the manufactured metal into a complete product. All metal starts as either huge slabs or long sheets that come out of the manufacturing process that begins with metal ore. The sheet metal fabricators follow these four steps to make a complete product from metal sheets. 

Cutting the Metal

The first way to make smaller bits from large sheets of metal is through cutting. The shearing machine has scissors that cut through the sheet metal and divide it into smaller rectangles, squares, or other shapes. Some manufacturers prefer using a laser cutting machine because it offers more precise cuts. At times, the manufacturers might choose punching over shearing and cutting. And in this case, the fabricators use a punching machine to make holes on the surface of the sheet metal. They can also use a combination of cutting techniques. For example, the rectangular sheets that come out of the large shears might also need some holes punched into them.

The Bending Process

Bending is a second popular way that fabricators make finished products from sheet metal. This step of the process involves using a press brake machine. The operator places the sheet in such a way that the bend line is above a V-shaped channel. The tool comes down on the sheet metal and bends it into a V-shape. When the machine moves back up, the straight piece of metal will have acquired a new orientation. The only challenge with this metal forming process is spring backs, where the metal fails to bend and snaps back to its original position. Professionals know the ideal sheet metal and bending skills to use to avoid spring backs and also cracking.

The Assembly

The third step is assembly. The fabricators use clamps to hold every piece in position as they put them together. After assembly, they might also need to weld the parts together to join them permanently. 

The Finishing

Finishing is the last part of the process. It involves polishing the completed product to have a beautiful and blemish-free surface. The fabricators can also paint or powder-coat the surface to create the perfect finish. 

These are the simple steps followed to make a finished product with sheet metal fabrication. You should engage the manufacturer to handle the process from the start to the end. Professionals will help you get maximum value for your money.