Metal-fabricated products have an abundance of applications across numerous industries. Examples include agriculture, automotive and manufacturing.
Metal fabrication may be ideal for individuals who enjoy working with their hands and creating products to improve people’s lives. Most metal fabrication careers only require high school diploma and provide on-the-job training programs.
Welding is a high-heat process that uses melting base metal and adding filler material to form a strong bond between materials. There are different welding techniques, including MIG and TIG welding, that may be employed during fabrication projects; MIG uses wire feed and electric arc welding while TIG employs non-consumable tungsten electrodes and spot welds.
Corner and edge joints are two common forms of welding used in fabrication. Corner welds occur when two pieces of metal meet at right angles to form an “L”, while edge welds connect adjacent edges on one piece of metal to each other.
Plasma cutting, which utilizes a high-temperature torch to cut steel sections, is another method for fabricating metal parts that can be utilized during fabrication. Plasma cutting helps prepare metals for welding by eliminating impurities from its surface while creating an ideal environment for creating strong welds.
As with soldering, brazing allows you to create strong connections between similar or dissimilar metals without melting their base pieces. But unlike welding, it utilizes lower temperatures and keeps filler metal under its melting point (something which sets it apart from soldering).
As with other forms of fabrication, brazing requires employing appropriate safety practices, especially when using a gas torch. Butane, propane and acetylene gasses can be dangerous substances to work with safely – make sure you know their proper usage to stay safe!
Before brazing, a flux should be applied — this may take the form of paste, disc or wire depending on what kind of brazing is necessary – to help protect against oxidation and ensure stronger joints. Once done brazing, use a pickle to clean off any residue left by areas not protected by flux – this will ensure optimal bonds.
Soldering is a metal fabrication technique used to form permanent yet reversible connections between different types of metals. This involves melting filler metal (usually composed of tin and lead), with the aid of a hot iron, before cooling it to create the soldered joint. Soldering can be found commonly used to connect copper pipes in plumbing systems as well as sheet metal work such as food cans, roof flashings and automotive radiators.
Soldering requires using a non-contaminating flux brush designed to prevent steel ions from migrating onto your workpiece and cause corrosion or rust, available at most hardware stores.
Desoldering is also essential; this involves taking steps to separate components or wires by removing solder from joints in an assembly, so as to disconnect components or wires and facilitate replacement or design changes. Learning this skill could come in handy should components need replacing or you want to change designs of what you are building.
Metal fabrication employs cutting techniques such as shearing, punching and stamping to assemble raw materials into finished products that may either be end products themselves or parts used to form them.
Metal fabrication can provide construction projects with components like staircases and catwalks for staircase construction projects as well as appliances like oven enclosures and dishwasher bases, and also create components for aerospace industries, like aircraft wings and fuselages, plumbing fixtures such as sinks and faucets, as well as sinks and faucets.
Forming is the art of shaping raw metals to a desired form without altering their volume, through techniques such as bending, shrinking or stretching with fabrication equipment like metal brakes and professional stretchers. Other forming processes include milling, turning and extrusion – these utilize rotating cutters or lathes respectively to cut material in multiple directions, with milling employing rotating cutters for multiple-directional cuts while turning employs lathes that use holes or rotating shapes into materials to form holes or rotational shapes in material forming processes as opposed to changing its volume during manufacturing processes.
Bending is one of the core principles and standard techniques of metal fabrication, turning flat sheets into bent profiles. It is less costly and time-consuming than milling V, U, and channel shapes from solid stock, casting it or welding two flat pieces together; yet this delicate process still requires expertise and equipment.
Deliberate flat patterns can be challenging, given how bending distorts the material and moves its neutral line or axis out of position. Therefore, it’s essential to calculate an estimated neutral axis and bend allowance using the k factor before beginning work on any job.
Another crucial issue when fabricating metal products is springback. After being bent, metal tends to return back toward its original form depending on material thickness and bending angle; this may result in gaps between bent profiles and original flat patterns; therefore a good fabricator always conducts testing prior to production.
Finishing techniques that can enhance the appearance and durability of metal products include polishing, anodising, galvanising and powder coating. All these processes also reduce corrosion while helping the finished product maintain its structural integrity.
Your finishing technique choice should depend on the overall quality requirements for your project, taking into account appearance, function and environment as well as budget constraints.
Industrial metal fabrication is an intricate manufacturing process involving cutting and bending sheet or tubular metal to form unique geometrical forms for products used across many industries, from transportation and material handling to material storage and handling. Industrial fabricated metal products can range from small brackets to steel structures and support pilings – and you may come across these in commercial buildings or factories.