Of the many different types of metal fabrication, the best one for your project will depend on what it needs, what kinds of materials you’re using, and the thickness of those materials. Here, we’ll discuss three common types of fabrication you’re likely to encounter in your project planning.
First, What Is Fabrication, and How Is It Different Than Manufacturing?
Manufacturing refers to the production of parts or products using raw materials or components. It is an umbrella term that encompasses more specific production processes.
Fabrication is a subset of manufacturing, which can include laser cutting, welding, bending, and assembly. We specialize in the metal fabrication process, meaning that we focus exclusively on producing 2D and 3D metal parts for industrial businesses.
3 Common Types of Metal Fabrication
- CNC Forming – CNC (computer numerical control) forming shapes metal from a 2D to a 3D form using a press brake or, if using tubes, bending them precisely to fabrication requirements.
- Laser Cutting – Laser cutting is the process of using automation/software on a CNC machine and a high-power laser to vaporize, burn, or melt sheet metals like steel, aluminum, and stainless steel. The laser also can interact with a jet of gas such that it produces a finished edge. Lasers typically are used to create 2D parts. Laser cutting produces consistently precise results across projects, including those with complex details and tight tolerances, due to the process leaving little room to introduce human error. Metals are less prone to warping under a laser cut — meaning wasting materials and energy is less likely, leading to lower costs per project. CNC laser machining creates 2D prototypes or finalized parts in both low and high quantities. We specifically group batches of parts together to maximize customers’ raw materials and production speed.
- Welding – Welding uses pressure and/or heat to fuse two or more metal, plastic, or wood parts (the parent material) together using additional material (called either a consumable or filler). The kinds of welding used vary depending on project needs and industry. However, with metal, arc welding is the most common. Our welders use metal inert gas (MIG) and tungsten inert gas (TIG) to weld stainless steel, carbon steel, and aluminum across a range of material thickness and customer production needs. The best welds are smooth, secure, and nearly seamless and only use high-quality materials, like American steel.
Technology & Skill Makes a Difference
Quality metal fabrication requires the right technology and a dedication to detail, precision, timeliness, and getting the job done right the first time. Understanding the basics of common fabrication processes will help you collaborate with your fabricator and set realistic expectations for every project.
Ready to start a steel fabrication project? Contact us today.