What is Sheet Metal Fabrication?
Sheet metal fabrication is the umbrella term for many processing methods used to transform flat and thin sheets of metals into high-quality end-use parts. Sheet metals refer to thin sheets of metal stocks that are no more than 0.25 inches thick.
The process begins with a CAD file – a digital copy of the final design intended for the part. Depending on the fabrication process, the sheet metals may be cut with a laser cutting machine that uses pre-programmed instructions to direct the cutting tool paths. Alternatively, the parts are fabricated through one or a combination of laser cutting, milling, forming, bending, punching, cutting, or stamping processes. Sheet metal parts can have simple or complex geometries. The affordability, scalability, and range of material selection make sheet metal fabrication popular across several industries. It is popularly used in making part enclosures, brackets, and chassis.
At Premium Parts, our sheet metal fabrication can be used for quick prototyping, low-volume production, and mass production.
Our Sheet Metal Fabrication Processes
There are several forming processes for making sheet metal parts. The fabrication method usually depends on the size of the part, the complexity of the design, and the finish type. At Premium Parts, we offer the most popular metal fabrication operations covering cutting, forming, and joining processes. Some of our techniques include:
• Metal deformation
Contouring of sheet metals into several shapes with hand or brake press
Use of two dies to press and “stamp” the metal till the desired shape is achieved
Rotation of sheet metal at high speed by lathing machine to form an axially symmetric part
• Metal forming/assembly
Using rivets or weld to assemble and put sheet metal parts together as one final component
o Roll forming
Processing of flat sheet metals into a coil with the use of rolls
Infusion of two or more sheet metal parts with a special flame that melts parts together in the presence of a filler.
Joining of two metal sheets together by embedding small metal parts through the sheets.
Infusion of two or more sheet metal parts with a special flame that melts the filler to join the pieces.
• Material removal
o Laser cutting
Laser-focused light beam for precision cuts into sheet metals.
A hole-forming process achieved using a punch and a die to force a hole into a metal sheet sandwiched between. The size and shape of the hole depending on the die.
Use of CNC machines, tool paths, and cutting tools to make highly accurate and precise cuts until the sheet metal is formed into the desired path. CNC milling and spinning are popular for sheet metal applications.
High-speed, heat-compressed plasma directed at sheet metal for cutting operations.
High-velocity concentrated water streams for cutting sheet metals.
Advantages of Sheet Metal
1. Strength/Weight Ratio
Sheet metal parts made from steel, aluminum, and copper have excellent strength-to-weight ratios. This makes them ideal for applications where both high strength and lightweight are vital.
Sheet metal fabrication can make high-quality parts independent of volume. With sheet metal fabrication, you can expect the same quality on ten parts to be consistent with one thousand pieces. This is excellent for rapid prototyping and low-volume manufacturing.
Sheet metal parts can make large volumes of end-parts at a lower cost-per-unit. It is a more effective solution for producing quality end parts.
Sheet metal produces highly durable metal parts and is well-suited for both functional prototypes and end-use production.
5. End-use product quality
Sheet metal parts are durable for direct application components and as part of other parts. Most sheet metal parts can be used directly to the end-use product after painting or plating.
6. Custom finishes
Sheet metal parts can be painted, anodized, plated, and finished in several ways to beautify and improve your parts’ functionality.
Applications of Sheet Metal Fabrications
Sheet metals can be typically used to make the following parts and components:
• Surgical implants
• Chipsets and boards
• Office equipment
• Culinary, Cutlery, and Kitchenware
• Body panels
• On-demand production
Sheet metal parts are suitable for on-demand production and mass manufacturing as needed. This is because sheet metals can be easily fabricated into desired angles, forms, and shapes.
• Rapid prototyping
Sheet metals can make high-fidelity prototypes in various production-grade materials starting from one unit.
• Low-volume manufacturing
Sheet metal fabrication can make low-volume units of your parts without compromising quality and durability. At Premium Parts, you can receive low-volume units of your parts in as fast as seven days or lesser.
Sheet metal parts are widely coveted across industries for their affordability, diversity, and precision. Sheet metal can be typically used in the following industries:
• Medical and Dental
• Consumer products
Sheet metal fabrication is possible with virtually any type of metal alloy. However, certain metals have more widespread uses than others across industries. The most popular material options for sheet metals are:
High strength-to-weight ratio
Excellent electrical conductivity
Easy to clean
High strength-to-weight ratio
After our sheet metal parts have been fabricated, Premium Parts proceeds with post-processing and finishing services to improve functionality and offer protection or beautify your parts. Some of our finishing options are summarized below:
• Bead blasting
• Powder coating
Why Choose Us
• High Quality
Premium Parts will help you make high-quality prototypes and end-parts with our range of processing techniques. We have fabrication experts with years of experience in creating complex parts. From brackets to chassis, body frames, enclosures, and more, our sheet metal processing will get you excellent parts with dimensional precision.
• Complete assemblies
Our one-stop sheet metal services mean that we have enough in-house capacity to make your part from start to finish. Our privacy and security will help you protect your ideas. Our post-processing finishing options will help you maintain part consistency in your complete assemblies.
• Instant quoting and Design For Manufacturing
We give every client a free design analysis and quote to improve the design, optimize production effectiveness, speed, and cost savings.
Sheet Metal FAQ
1. What’ the thinnest sheet plate can you use for sheet metal manufacturing?
The thinnest sheet plate we can use for manufacturing is 0.05mm.
2. What’s the thickest sheet plate can you bend?
The thickest sheet plate we can bend is 8mm.
3. Can you rivet the parts for us?
Yes, we can rivet the parts for our clients.
4. Can you bend the aluminum 6061?
Generally, we can bend the aluminum 6061 at no more than a 90-degree angle. Otherwise, the parts would be cracked.
5. Can you source the PEM nuts and install them for us?
PEM nuts would need a MOQ to be sourced here and we would use the equivalent inserts to install if that can be accepted.