Making It: A Processing and Manufacturing Website

Two Phases of Sheet Metal Fabrication

Metal is a versatile material that is used in many different industries across the globe. Sheet metal starts its journey as a flat sheet of hardened metal which then undergoes a fabrication process that transforms the sheet into its final form.

Sheet metal fabrication can be broken down into two distinct phases: cutting and forming. Each category plays an important role in creating the consumer goods that the public has come to rely on.

1. Cutting Techniques

Cutting is the first phase of the fabrication process for products made from sheet metal. Large sheets of thin metal must be cut to size before undergoing additional manipulation.

Cutting can be accomplished through a variety of different techniques. Each of these techniques relies on shearing. Shearing is the process by which force is applied to sheet metal until the metal fails. Shaving, punching, perforating, and trimming are all common cutting techniques used by manufacturing facilities as part of the sheet metal fabrication process.

2. Forming Techniques

Once a larger piece of sheet metal has been reduced in size, the forming phase of the fabrication process can begin. Forming techniques allow manufacturers to create the exact dimensions needed for a sheet metal product to perform its assigned tasks properly.

Curling and bending are two of the most common forming techniques in use today. Curling removes the sharp burrs that can be left behind on the edges of sheet metal after cutting. Bending occurs when a brake press or other type of press creates a bend in the sheet metal.

If the final product features a lot of unique curves and surfaces, technicians may use hydroforming. The cut sheet metal is draped over a die and stretched until it takes the shape of the die. Other forming techniques include punching, ironing, and laser cutting. These forming techniques are important when it comes to finishing the sheet metal fabrication process.

3. Working with Sheet Metal Fabrication Companies

With so many components and products being made from sheet metal, a basic knowledge of the two categories within the fabrication process can be beneficial. Both cutting and forming play critical roles in the overall design and function of sheet metal products. Each must be carefully planned and executed to ensure the quality and consistency of products made from sheet metal.

Talk with sheet metal fabrication companies about any cutting and forming techniques that can be used to help you create the sheet metal products that you need.