Sheet metal fabrication is the manipulation of metal to create any type of component that will be used in an end product. It can be used in almost any manufacturing field including medical, computer, electronics, or appliances.

In sheet metal fabrication, several processes are used to reach an end product. These include cutting, forming, and finishing.

Aluminum, stainless steel, and others forms of metal are utilized to create a component for a larger piece, something that can be used to create an end product, or the end product itself.

The Cutting Process

Sheet metal cutting involves a number of ways to cut a piece of metal into smaller pieces. These small pieces of metal can then be molded or formed into a final piece. One form of cutting is called shearing, which is used to cut larger pieces into smaller ones using the process of shear stress on a cutting machine.

Another process is called Electrical Discharge Machining, or EDM, in which conductive materials are melted with an electrode spark from a thin, charged electrode that is surrounded by iodized water.

In abrasive cutting, grinders or saws are used to cut through sheet metal.

Sometimes water jets are used. These generate no heat while cutting, but instead use high pressure water from 20,000 to 60,000 psi. There is also laser cutting where lasers are used for complex, or precise, cutting.

The Forming Process

Once the sheet metal has been cut, it will be formed into its required shape to create a component before finishing. There are several forming techniques. Rolling is used to shape flat pieces of metal over and over by the use of roll stands. In bending and forming, the sheet metal is manipulated basically by hand to form a desired shape.

Stamping involves tools and dies that are used to stamp designs into the metal. The designs might also be 3-D designs. A method called punching is used to punch holes in the metal. Welding is used to join pieces of sheet metal together by forming a bond between the metals. To add latches or handles to the sheet metal, hardware and fastener creation methods are used.

The Finishing Process

After cutting the sheet metal and then forming it into the shapes needed, it must go through a finishing process. In finishing, the sheet metal is sharpened to eliminate or polish rough spots and edges using an abrasive.

After the finishing process, the sheet metal goes on to fulfill its next purpose. It is either shipped out as an end product, or if it is a smaller piece, it might be used on a larger component or product.

Saving Money on Sheet Metal Fabrication

There are companies today that specialize in the sheet metal fabrication business. Their customers are usually companies that sell or use an end product that is made of sheet metal, or a part of it is made of metal.

Instead of opening a factory to create their own metal products, a company might hire a sheet metal fabrication specialist to do the work for them.

This gives the company more time to focus on marketing and promotion and can also save money.

Article Source: [http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Melissa_Rivers/77472]Melissa Rivers