Step-by-Step Basic Guide to Sheet Metal Fabrication

Stacks of bent metal sheet stacks sit in a sheet metal fabrication shop.Sheet metal is everywhere, even if you don’t think about it too much. Sheet metal makes up many electronics, heating and cooling systems, and parts in just about every field. The way to get these materials is through a process called sheet metal fabrication. 

Through sheet metal fabrication, raw materials transform into useful equipment that techs in many fields need for their daily work. There are many techniques to get exactly what a client needs from a component, but there are some common steps that just about all fabrication follows. Keep reading to learn the common steps in the sheet metal fabrication process. 

1. Design

First comes the planning. We design a final product before ever touching a sheet of metal. The client will provide the design or at least an estimate of what they want. Other times, we will create a blueprint first. Then that blueprint gets used to create a rough draft for the final design. Once everyone agrees on the plan, the next step begins. 

2. Blank-Cutting

Sheet metal comes in big coils of materials. We take these coils and cut them into the lengths our client needs. We cut a flat sheet of metal out of a larger sheet - a process called blank-cutting. We cut the blank to match the final product. We do the cutting with shearing machines or through laser, plasma, or water jet cutting. 

3. Punching

Now that the sheet metal is in its final size, it is time to punch some holes. The process of punching makes holes in shapes or patterns in the sheet metal. The client and our team create the holes based on the type and specifications in the design plan. 

4. Bending

Sheet metal can safely bend, under the right conditions. We make the bends in an specific order so as not to interfere with the next bend in the sequence. The standard tool for bending is the Press Break. 

5. Assembly

Now to put it all together. Once we have all the parts, we assemble them into a final form. This step is when we weld, rivet, and bond parts into place. We can use CO2 or spot welding to join or alter parts. 

6. Finishing

Now for the finishing touches. Finishing may include cleaning, coating, painting, galvanizing, or other last steps. In other cases, additional heat treatment is necessary to bring the project to completion. 

7. Quality Control

Now the product is done! But we aren’t done. Before sending the product off, we thoroughly check it, comparing the final product to the design requirements. If anything does not meet the design, we send it back for correcting. Then we recheck before clearing the product for delivery.

JML Sheet Metal - Professional Sheet Metal Fabricators

There you have it, the basic steps of sheet metal fabrication. These are the steps we take every day to give our clients exactly what they need. JML Sheet Metal creates fabricated sheet metal products for commercial and residential clients. We are here as a resource, a supplier, and an installer of sheet metal. 

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