What is Sheet Metal Fabrication?

Sheet metal fabrication is a classification of manufacturing processes that shape a piece of sheet metal into the desired part through material removal and/or material deformation.Sheet metal fabrication is a subtractive manufacturing process that forms parts from thin metal sheets. Engineers often choose sheet metal parts for their high precision and durability, especially for end-use applications like chassis, enclosures, and brackets.

ASTEORD’s sheet metal fabrication services provide a fast and cost-effective solution for any parts that need to be made from 3D CAD files or engineering drawings.

Common Applications

Rapid Tooling
Series Production
End-Use Production

Sheet metal bending

How Does it Work?

ASTEORD’s metal fabrication services utilize the top sheet metal fabricators. Sheet metal fabricators first convert CAD and drawing data into machine code. A laser cutting, waterjet, or plasma cutting machine will then precisely remove sheet metal material. The raw material is formed into angular bends and features using brakes, punches, and dies. If any assembly or post-processing is required, our sheet metal manufacturers will weld, add inserts, or finish the part.

Our Sheet Metal Fabrication Capabilities

Types of Sheet Metal Fabrication

During punching, components are manufactured from a sheet metal using a press and a corresponding cutting tool. This tool consists of a die and a punch, which produces the internal shape of the components. The sheet metal is placed between the die and the punch for punching; the press presses the two parts together and thus punches the workpiece out of the sheet metal. Punching is considered to be an extremely fast, inexpensive process, but primarily for series production. For each punched component, a separate tool must be produced, which significantly increases the price for single parts or small series. Short throughput times and high precision of the stamped parts are also among the advantages of the process. In addition to the high tool costs, the burr caused by the punching process and uneven cutting surfaces, which make post-processing necessary, can also be considered disadvantageous.
Nibbling is another process for sheet metal processing and is closely related to punching. In nibbling, the workpiece is punched out of the sheet metal piece by piece through a repeated up and down movement of the tool open on one side and with uniform feed. Cut-outs from the sheet metal can be produced without distortion by nibbling, but the cutting track punched out of the sheet metal results in greater waste compared to other processes. Nibbling makes it possible to produce even yet complexly shaped workpieces. Nibbling also produces a burr on the parts, which must be removed after production.
Computer numerically controlled (CNC) bending is a manufacturing process that is carried out by CNC press brakes (also known as CNC brake presses). These machines can bend sheet metal work from just a few mm across to sections many metres long on the largest industrial machines. CNC press brakes either have a fixed bottom bed with the V block tooling clamped in place and a top beam which travels under force with the V blade tools this is known as down forming. The opposite is an up forming machine with the bottom bend moving and the top beam fixed. Both process methods will produce the same sheet metal components and there are no restrictions to the design of your component to suit either machine.

Benefits Of Sheet Metal Fabrication

Sheet Metals are strong, can tolerate high pressures and are malleable. They can be transformed into any shape i.e. they are suitable for innovative architects and designers to work. The finishing of sheet metal is done to create a durable surface which makes sheet metal resistant to sun, corrosion and moisture. Thus making sheet metal forming suitable for projects that involve products that need to be exposed to various weathers and climates.
Sheet metals can be easily inspected, and any damage can be found easily. Damage can usually be easily repaired in a straightforward way. You have to remove the damaged metal sheet from the structure, repair it and then replace it without dismantling the whole structure.
Using the latest CAD/CAM, CNC technology, and manufacturing equipment, the process of sheet metal forming is efficient and accurate. Many companies employ CNC punch press machines which are programmed for the movement and positioning of metal sheets quickly along with punching the holes within a 0.05mm tolerance. Metal sheets can also be formed using CNC hydraulic and electronic presses. This process is suitable for repeat batch work.

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Sheet Metal Fabrication Materials

Aluminum is a pure metal that is easily alloyed with small amounts of other materials like copper, manganese, silicone, or magnesium. It is not magnetic or combustible and is a good conductor of electricity. Aluminum offers good corrosion resistance and is generally easy to form and process. It comes in several different grades and is often used because of its weight. It weighs about 1/3 of other materials like iron, steel, copper, and brass. It conducts heat well and is non-toxic making it a good choice in a variety of applications. AL1060 is a wrought alloy with high electrical conductivity, corrosion resistance, and workability but somewhat low mechanical strength. It’s commonly used in electrical and chemical industries. AL6063 is most often used for architectural applications or trimming. It has high tensile properties and offers good finish options. It also offers high corrosion resistance and is a good option for anodized applications. AL 6061 is the most flexible heat-treated alloy with excellent workability. It’s well suited to most processes and has good corrosion resistance. AL 5052 is the highest strength non-heat-treated aluminum alloy and offers very good fatigue resistance. Highly workable, AL 5052 can be formed into complex shapes and offers good saltwater corrosion resistance.
Stainless steel includes a variety of sheet metals which contain at least 10.5% chromium. There are many different grade available, offering corrosion resistant and a commercially familiar appearance. Standard or austenitic stainless steel (300 series steels) is very common and does not require heat during the manufacturing process. They offer good corrosion resistance, formability, and weldability. SS301 has high work hardening and is commonly used for trailer bodies and fasteners. SS304 has low carbon, is an economical grade but is not seawater resistant. SS316 has higher molybdenum content that improves its resistance to seawater corrosion. A lower carbon version(SS316L) is available for better corrosion resistance after welding.
Hot rolled steel is produced when steel is processed by a series of roll presses at temperatures over 1700°F. The process creates a steel that is easily formed or shaped into large pieces and is best used where tolerances aren’t as important. Q235 and Q345 are 16 Mn steel grade with good formability and weldability properties. It’s commonly used for structural applications and parts for a variety of industries. Q345 offers better performance at low temperatures and offers better steel strength.
Cold rolled steel (CRS) is essentially hot rolled steel that has gone through an additional rolling process at room temperature. This additional processing produces a steel with closer tolerances and a broader range of finishes. The result is an increase in strength by as much as 20% compared to hot rolled steel. SPCC is commonly used for automotive parts and some construction applications. SPCC can be used for galvanized products, appliances, containers, and other products. SAPH440 is commonly used for automotive frames, wheels, and other parts. It has very good tensile strength making it a good choice for load bearing or structural uses.
Cold galvanized steel has a zinc coating painted to the steel surface to protect if from corrosion. The coating will provide both a barrier protection and a galvanic protection to help extend the life of the product. It can be applied with brushes, rollers, sprayers, or through electrogalvanizing. The paint includes special binders so it will mechanically bond to the steel. SGCCis a galvanized steel with good weldability and formability. It can have a pure zinc coating or have a Zn/Fe alloy coating.
CNC Milling Materials
sheet metal fabrication

Available Surface Finishes

Polishing, Grinding, Sandblasting, Glass bead blasting etc.
Hardening, Quenching and Tempering, Case hardening, Gas nitriding, Plasma nitriding etc.
Anodizing, Hard anodizing, Black finishing, Passivating, Phosphate conversion coating, Nickel plating, Galvanizing (zinc plating) etc.

Quality Assurance

  • Manufacturing Partner performance tracking on lead time and quality
  • Inspection report included in every order. Full dimensional inspection reports on request.
  • Material certifications and test reports available on request
  • Quality Guaranteed.

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