Sheet metal fabrication is a manufacturing process that involves reshaping any type of sheet metal into the desired part through deforming and removing of unnecessary materials. This process is used in virtually any manufacturing field, such as a computer, appliances, electronics and medical fields. Although its thickness is not clearly defined, the sheet metal that is used as a workpiece in the metal fabrication is one of the most common forms of raw material stock. Usually, the sheet metal is between 0.15 to 6.35 mm thick.
The process of precision sheet metal fabrication involves several processes for creating an end product: cutting, forming and finishing. The sheet material can be of many different materials, including brass, steel, stainless steel, aluminum, bronze, zinc, titanium, tin, magnesium and copper. These materials can be cut, bent, stretched and what not, into any possible shape so they can reach the expected requirements.
Here are the three most important processes for the precision sheet metal fabrication.
The Cutting Process
The first and most important step of this process is cutting. This process involves many different ways of cutting the piece of metal into smaller pieces in order to remove the excess metal. The small pieces of metal can be then molded and formed into a final product. The process of cutting a large piece of sheet metal into smaller pieces using a cutting machine is known as shearing. Another widely used process of cutting is the Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM). This cutting process melts the metal with an electrode spark, surrounded by iodized water. For abrasive cutting through sheet metals, saws and grinders are required.
The Forming Process
Once the sheet metal has been cut into rough dimensions, it needs to be formed into the required shape before the finishing process. There are a variety of forming techniques. Rolling is a must-do forming method and it is usually used for shaping flat pieces of sheet metal by using roll stands. Bending and forming is also a common technique, which manipulates the sheet metal by hand in order to form the desired shape. Stamping is yet another efficient forming method and it uses tools and dies to stamp a design into the piece of metal. Welding is used to connect two or more pieces of sheet metal and create a bond between them.
The Finishing Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication Process
After the cutting and forming processes of the sheet metal are performed, the product must go through the finishing process. This process sharps the metal, so it can be as best as possible for its desired purpose. The piece of sheet metal needs to be sharpened so its rough spots will be eliminated and polished, as well as the edges. Once the finishing process is completed, the fabrication is completed and the final product is ready for its purpose.