Sheet metal is industrial metal that has been formed or pressed into flat, thin pieces. These sheets are then formed into parts and components using a variety of metal fabrication techniques such as welding, shearing, cutting, bending, assembling, and stamping. These fabrication processes use unique combinations of heat and pressure to manipulate the metal into the desired shape.
Sheet Metal Fabrication Processes
Sheet metal fabrication encompasses a wide range of manufacturing methods used to form sheet metal into useful parts. US Metal Crafters uses specialized equipment and techniques to produce quality crafted components for a variety of applications.
Cutting involves the removal of parts of the sheet metal to create the desired shape. During the cutting process, metal can be cut, sawed, sheared or chiseled using a variety of manual or computer numeric controlled (CNC) tools, including mills, saws, cutters, lasers, and torches.
Bending involves the use of powerful hammers and presses to form the metal without removing material. Specially designed presses with CNC controlled gauges and stops help to ensure that the sheet metal is bent to the correct specifications.
Assembling of sheet metal components can be performed using a variety of connecting processes, including welds, adhesives, threaded fasteners, and rivets. Components can also be joined together by bending the material into a crimped seam.
Welding uses heat and pressure to join two or more component parts together. Common welding techniques include arc welding, resistance welding, gas welding, and laser welding.
Shearing is a subtractive forming process that is used to cut precisely straight lines into flat sheets of metal using an upper and lower blade. The process removes excess material from the base sheet in order to create the desired shape.
Metal stamping uses pressure to force metal into pre-cut dies, thereby creating the desired shape. The process uses specially designed stamping presses and a series of pre-cut dies to progressively shape the material.
Various Metals Used for Sheet Metal Fabrication
Sheet metal fabrication can be used to create custom components from a wide range of metals and alloys, from durable stainless and galvanized steel to softer aluminum.
Stainless Steel Metal Fabrication
Stainless steel is an iron-based alloy with at least 11% chromium. The chromium in the metal interacts with the oxygen in the atmosphere, creating an oxidized surface layer of chromium that protects the lower steel layers from rust and corrosion. Stainless steel exhibits high tensile strength and temperature resistance in addition to its resistance to corrosion. This makes it particularly useful for kitchen appliances and cookware, medical and dental instruments, industrial equipment, automotive components, and food processing facilities. Although stainless steel is extremely hard, it is still sufficiently formable for bending, stamping, machining, and welding fabrication processes.
Galvanized Steel Metal Fabrication
Galvanized steel is steel which has been dipped in zinc to create a non-corrosive protective layer. It is less expensive to manufacture than stainless steel, but does not contain chromium, so it is not as strong. Galvanized steel is used often as an inexpensive construction material for structures such as balconies, walkways, plumbing, ductwork, fences, and building frames. Galvanized steel exhibits many of the same properties as stainless steel and can be formed into components using the same fabrication processes, including bending, stamping, machining, and welding.
Aluminum Sheet Metal Fabrication
Aluminum is a softer and more malleable material than steel. It is lightweight, conductive, durable, and naturally corrosion resistant, which makes it ideal for use in aerospace and automotive applications that require lightweight components to withstand harsh conditions. Aluminum is highly ductile and can be easily formed into components using nearly any fabrication method.
Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication by US Metal Crafters
For more than 30 years, US Metal Crafters has been a leading provider of sheet metal fabrication services in North Carolina and around the world. We offer low-cost sheet metal fabrication for customers in telecommunications, transportation, industrial, and agriculture industries, among many others. Our experienced and knowledgeable engineers and specialists will work with you to design and manufacture custom sheet metal components to meet even the most stringent specifications. To learn more about our custom metal forming and fabrication capabilities, contact us today.