Precision metal fabricators are some of the most skilled professionals on the planet. They use their knowledge to create and assemble various metal parts for components made by countless industries. Like putting together the pieces of a complex puzzle, an expert metal fabricator can complete orders with extremely high tolerances – usually for medical, automotive, and/or aerospace clients.
That’s why understanding the six basic principles of precision metal fabrication is so important. Not only is the process suitable for a wide range of different materials but it’s also essential to modern-day manufacturing quality and efficiency. Meanwhile, there aren’t any shortcuts to be taken here, so machinists must know how to cut, bend, join, and finish metals of all kinds with exact precision under tight deadlines and for the least amount of money.
What is metalwork used for?
Metalwork is used to design and fabricate various practical and/or decorative objects from different metals such as brass, lead, stainless-steel, bronze, gold, copper, iron, silver, titanium, etc. An initial beneficiation process is carefully completed, which involves crushing, roasting, and leaching as well as magnetic separation and flotation. Afterward, additional processes such as smelting, alloying, and finishing can also be completed. The object is to create a metal that can be made into parts and eventually assembled into a finished product.
DID YOU KNOW: There are over 3,500 different grades of steel alone, so CNC machine shops must employ highly educated engineers who understand metal properties for better machining outcomes.
What are the 6 basic principles of precision metal fabrication?
Sometimes called metallurgy, this is a complicated process that’s generally only safe for trained mavens That’s because it involves potentially dangerous tasks under extreme conditions using high-tech machinery and commanding tools at tremendous speeds. In fact, these are the six basic principles of metal fabrication in most cases:
This stage involves removing unwanted materials from the surface of metal sheets or blocks using high-precision cutting tools, C-axis turning, and live tooling techniques. This allows for better workpiece positioning and manipulation as well as broader machining options and lower production costs overall.
The punching stage consists of using precision cutting tools to create economical holes, or punches, in metal sheets or strips during medium/high production processes. Generally, a robust hydraulic system is required alongside state-of-the-art CNC machining software and a keen eye for detail on custom orders.
Metal stamping is a process that involves placing a flat sheet of metal inside of a blank or coil mold. That, in turn, secures the metal for the stamping press – a heavy-duty machine that uses a special tool and die surface to form the materials into a net shape based on a client’s blueprints or prototypes.
Welding is sometimes just called “joining metals” because that’s all it is. However, the job is for experts because it utilizes a high heat process which melts the base metal causing a weld pool of molten materials. Once it cools to form the join, the parent metal is typically stronger than before.
The metal bending process uses tremendous amounts of force to form or deform a metal based on the client’s requirements. Pressure then causes the material to curve at a specific angle, thereby creating the anticipated shape (which is typically a “U” or “V” shape, in most cases).
Metal finishing changes the surface of an already fabricated object, usually for the purpose of enhancing its appearance or improving its durability. This process is also related to electroplating, which creates a thin surface coating by way of electrodeposition.
NOTE: A full-service CNC machine shop like Pioneer Cuts can handle all phases of metal fabrication from start to finish under one roof.
Which CNC machining services are best for metal fabrication?
It takes quite a bit to complete metal fabrication projects without sacrificing precision. So, the best CNC facilities typically offer the following services to accommodate:
#1. Fast Online Quoting
Clients shouldn’t ever have to wait when they’ve got a great idea or innovation. So, online quoting with high-efficiency, state-of-the-art software like ProShop ERP is essential. Generally, your metal fabrication projects should take less than six hours to accurately estimate.
#2. Rapid Prototyping (RP)
Cutting costs and shortening lead times may require efficient prototyping to find and fix flaws in various product designs. This service also helps engineers and machinists determine better machining outcomes through troubleshooting and concept reconfiguration before mass manufacturing.
#3. Non-Destructive Testing
Some projects require more than simplified quoting and rapid prototyping. Depending on the materials and tolerances involved, machinists may also use non-destructive testing techniques to improve the product’s overall design and durability. In some cases, this step might even be mandatory.
Metals are a major component in many computerized products. Meanwhile, automation is becoming the standard in CNC manufacturing both on the facility floor and beyond. That’s why micromachining is such a crucial service when working with tight tolerances and/or miniscule geometries.
#5. Expedited Metal Finishing
Once the project is completely manufactured, it may need to have its surface finished for aesthetics or practicality. Either way, expedited metal finishing lets clients move from the fabrication phase to the distribution phase more quickly and efficiently – all without driving up costs too much for the budget.
CNC machine shops that can offer all five of those services without exporting parts or outsourcing labor typically offer the best prices and the most time-sensitive processes. So, talk to an expert at Pioneer Cuts for more information on how to fabricate the kinds of metals your project requires.
How to match metals with machines for precision CNC manufacturing
The materials used are very important because different fabrication methods require different metal properties to work effectively. Thus, clients must always consult with their engineering team to determine whether a design requires alternative materials or not. Remember, last-minute changes aren’t necessarily bad and can even help cut costs if applied correctly.
The basic principles of precision metal manufacturing aren’t difficult to understand. However, they’re impossible to perform without a well-equipped CNC machine shop and well-trained experts who understand metallurgy and manufacturing. So, contact Pioneer Cuts to get started.