The Most Common Metal Fabrication Processes

July 11, 2019 4:10 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Metal fabrication is the general process of turning raw metal into certain shapes that can be used to assemble larger structures and items. Of course, there are many different types of processes that fall under the umbrella of metal fabrication. But what are these processes, and what are they used for?

Here’s a quick overview of some of the most common parts of the metal fabrication process in Umatilla County, OR:

  • Machining: Machining is the use of a machine to remove sections of a metal piece. Usually the process is performed with a lathe, which rotates the metal against cutting tools that trim off edges and corners to get the piece into a specific shape or set of dimensions. However, it’s also common for machining processes to involve sets of holes drilled through the surface of the metal material.
  • Welding: This is one of the most common metal fabrication processes you’ll encounter, and there are many people who even get enough experience with welding to perform some simple welds from their home shops. Welding is used to join two separate metal parts together, whether they are shaped already or exist as sheets, bars or panels. The joinery occurs as a result of applying a significant amount of heat (using a welder) along the area where the pieces will be joined.
  • Cutting: This is probably the most commonly used metal fabrication process. It’s exactly what it sounds like: cutting out metal to create specific shapes or dimensions. In many cases, it’s done to split metal sheets into sections for further fabrication. Typically, the metal being cut has not yet been shaped into anything—this is simply a “first step” in fabrication that gets the metal down into more manageable pieces at the proper dimensions.
  • Folding: Folding is slightly more complex than other forms of metal fabrication. With this process, metal gets manipulated to a shape at a certain angle. It requires some high-tech equipment, and generally it’s not quite as practical as welding or other types of fabrication, but this really depends on the end goal for the project.
  • Shearing: Shearing is a sort of cutting, but it involves particularly long cuts. A sheet of metal will get fed horizontally through a cutter, or it could be placed over an open cutter with a blade lowered down on top of it.
  • Punching: In situations in which holes must be made in a metal, punching is one of the best options. The material gets placed under a die and punched through by a drill, which slides through the die.
  • Stamping: Another metal fabrication application that utilizes a die, stamping is not used to punch holes in the metal, but rather to raise certain parts of the metal to create unique shapes, letters or images based on a “stamp” or stencil. It’s very similar to relief carving, which is often performed in marble and wood. Metal stamping gives you the imagery seen on coins, for example.

These are just a few examples of some of the most common approaches used in the metal fabrication process in Umatilla County, OR. If you have any questions about any of these processes, we encourage you to contact NW Metal Fabricators Inc. today.

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