Sheet Metal Fabrication

Sheet Metal Stamping
Sheet Metal Stamping

Sheet metal fabrication is a process of creating volume from flat sheet material for limitless application. It usually involves cutting, forming, rolling, or pressing the sheet metal using special tools to design specifications so that they can be assembled with other components to create finished products. Some of the common industrial and commercial items produced by sheet metal fabrication include:

  • Electronics housings
  • Hand tools (shovels, rakes, post hole diggers)
  • Cans
  • Automotive body panels
  • Mounting bracketry
  • Construction Equipment
  • Exercise equipment
Depending on the requirements of the design and application, there are numerous sheet metal fabrication techniques available, including forming, stamping, punching, rolling, laser cutting, and shearing.

Sheet Metal Forming

Sheet metal forming is an effective method for producing sheet metal parts in complex three-dimensional shapes using minimal material. The desired shape is achieved through plastic deformation, without the need for machining. There are two major categories of sheet metal forming: hot and cold forming. Hot forming is when the raw material is manipulated into shape while in a partially liquefied state, this can be achieved through localized heat from a torch, heated tooling, or specialized ovens. This becomes more necessary with thicker materials and more complex shapes. Cold forming is when metal is formed at/near room temperature through use of high tonnage presses and standardized tooling. This is more applicable to thinner materials and less organic shapes.As is the case in many industries, robotics have been applied to sheet metal forming as a way to increase overall productivity but also to cut down on some of the upfront tooling costs seen in other fabrication methods such as stamping.

Sheet Metal Stamping

Sheet metal stamping is a forming process that creates three-dimensional shapes through permanent deformation. It employs a mechanical or hydraulic press and a custom designed punch and die set to create stamped parts and is suitable for producing large quantities of high precision metal parts at low costs. However, initial set up costs are often very high and tooling life and maintenance can often lead to hidden costs.Sheet metal stamping is often used to create metal parts used in the automotive, household appliances, and medical industries.

Sheet Metal Punching

Similar to stamping, sheet metal punching uses heavy machinery and a punch and die assembly to put holes or indents into pieces of sheet metal. As the machine forces the punch component through the metal, it causes the metal underneath the punch to be separated from the rest of the sheet. The cut metal is then collected in a container and saved for future use or recycling. Punching was the primary method for CNC sheet metal cutting for many years before the development of water and laser cutting tools and still specializes in high speed hole application and low-consumable production costs.It can be used to create specific shapes and designs in finished parts and components, such as vent openings.

Sheet Metal Rolling

Sheet metal rolling passes the metal through three rollers to shorten one face of the material and elongate the opposite face causing a progressive curvature in the sheet. This can be done to create complete tubes or to roll to a specific profile. More advanced rolling machines are able to form extremely complex tangential profiles with precision and repeatability.Some products that can be made using this process include lock-seam pipes, welded pipes, and open-butt-joint pipes.

Sheet Metal Laser Cutting

Laser cutting directs a high-powered laser through optical components to cut sheet metal into custom shapes and designs for industrial and commercial applications. Compared to similar processes, such as plasma cutting, it is more precise and uses less energy, and is suitable for cutting and engraving a variety of metals, including aluminum, copper, and steel.For thicker material you may need to utilize water jet cutting as most laser cutters are not suitable above 1” thick material.

Sheet Metal Shearing

Shearing employs a set of upper and lower straight-edge blades to cut flat metal stock—such as aluminum, brass, bronze, and stainless steel—into separate pieces. The blades are typically offset from each other with the upper blade angled to facilitate the cutting operation. This process is usually used to cut sheet metal into smaller sizes to prepare it for further processing, rapid prototyping of very simple parts, or commonly in A/C duct manufacturing.

Conclusion

There are many different techniques used in sheet metal fabrication, including stamping, punching, rolling, and shearing. Each technique has a distinct purpose and is used to create different shapes and components, which often require additional finishing and treatment processes following fabrication.Pro-Type Industries, Inc. has been committed to providing customers with precision sheet metal fabrication services since 1969. Our team has the experience and expertise needed to get your job done properly and promptly. These qualities, combined with some of the most advanced metal fabrication equipment around, allow us to provide you with exceptional quality at low prices. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your fabrication needs or request a quote.Since 1969, Pro-Type Industries, Incorporated has been committed to providing precision sheet metal fabrication services that set the standard in the DC Metro for quality and value. Our staff of industry professionals are skilled craftsmen with decades of broad-based metal fabrication experience. When combined with some of the most advanced metal fabrication equipment available, we can offer unmatched process flexibility and value. From forming and shearing to punching, rolling, stamping, and laser cutting, we have the capabilities to accommodate the most stringent requirements. Our facility is equipped with CNC punches with 4’ x 12’ capacity featuring in-turret forming and live tooling. Our shear can cut material up to ¼” in thickness and up to 10’ in length, and we can roll sheets up to 5’ in width and ¼” in thickness. We also operate a number of high precision CNC brakes that allow us to provide high accuracy forming regardless of quantity or geometric complexity up to 10’ in length.

Another productivity enhancing resource is our brand new 6000W Mitsubishi Fiber Laser. This state of the art cutting system utilizes flying optics, can accommodate material up to 5’ x 10’, and provides clean cuts, narrow kerfs, at high speed on material from .01” up to 1” in thickness. Equipped with an automatic pallet changer, it is suited for log runs as well as single part production. All of our CNC systems are supported by CAD/CAM capabilities, which allow for faster set ups with enhanced productivity. As an ISO 9001:2015 registered organization, quality is part of our culture; our team is dedicated to upholding quality and maintaining low-cost production.

For more information about Pro-Type sheet metal fabrication, see the table below or contact us directly.

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Sheet Metal Fabrication Specifications

Fabrication Process
Forming
Laser Cutting
Punching
Rolling
Shearing
Stamping
Automation Capabilities
CNC
Manual
Robotic Load/Unload
Laser Cutting
CO2 (Gaseous)
Fiber
Laser Configuration
Flying Optics
5’ x 10’ Capacity
Thickness: .01” to 1”
Punch Configuration
4’ x 12’ Capacity
In-turret Forming
Live Tooling
Cutting Axis
2-Axis
Materials
Aluminum
Steel
Stainless Steel (303, 304, 316, 15-5 and 17-4)
Acetal / Delrin
Nylon
Composites (G-10, etc.)
Alloy Steels
Aluminum
Brass
Bronze Alloys
Carbide
Carbon Steel
Cobalt
Copper
Iron
Nickel
Stainless Steel
Tin
Titanium
Acetal
Acrylic
Fiberglass Reinforced Plastics
Polycarbonate
Raw Material Forms
Sheet
Maximum Sheet Metal Dimensions
5’ x 10’
Tolerance (+/-)
Hole: .002”
Bend: .005” to .015”
Additional Services Provided
Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication
Precision Machine Work
Welding MIG, TIG & Spot Welding
Painting, Assembly & Hardware
Equipment List
CO2 Laser
Fiber Laser
Electric Turret Punch
10’ Press Brake
10’ Sheer
5’ Sheet Roll
Manual Forming
Production Volume
Prototype
Low Volume
High Volume
Blanket Orders
Lead Times
Quoted on job by job basis
Expedited Services Available

Additional Information

Industries Focus
Aerospace
Electronic
Architectural
Chemical
Dental
Marine
Medical
Military
Industry Standards
ANSI
American National Standards Institute
ASME
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
ASTM
American Society for Testing and Materials
AWS
American Welding Society
Calibrated/Certified Inspection Tools and Equipment
ISO 9001:2015 (FM 96437)
International Organization for Standardization
Iridite / Chem Film Per MIL-C-5541 F
Mil-Spec
Military Specifications
  • MIL-SPEC 1595
  • MIL-SPEC W68581
RoHS
Restriction Of Hazardous Substances (Compliant)
File Formats
AutoCAD (DWG, DWZ)
BMP
Bit Mapped Graphics
Catia (CATDrawing, CATPart)
DXF
Drawing Interchange Format, or Drawing Exchange Format
GIF
Graphics Interchange Format
IGES
Initial Graphics Exchang, ANSI file format.
Inventor (IDW, IPT)
JPG or JPEG
Joint Photographic Experts Group
Merry Mech
MasterCam (MDX, MC8, MC9, SET, MX7)
PDES
Product Data Exchange using STEP, Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data. A standard format for exchanging data between
advanced CAD and CAM programs.
PDF
Portable Document Format
Pro-E or Pro/Engineer (DRW, PRT, XPR)
SAT
3D ACIS Model File
SolidEdge (DFT)
SolidWorks (SLDPRT, SLDDRW, SLDDRT)
STEP
Standard for the Exchange of Product Model Data
TIFF
Tagged Image File Format
Unigraphics (PRT)
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