Sheet metal can be used for many different things, but finding a shop with the expertise to work with the material is critical. Not every shop has the tools and equipment to work with sheet metal. If you need something made from sheet metal, it is essential that the sheet metal fabrication shop can make it properly to your specification, so finding one to work with that can do the job right is essential.
Sheet Metal Cutting
Sheet metal can be challenging to cut with precision because it is thin and can easily change shape as it is cut. The best way to cut it can vary, but a good sheet metal fabrication shop will have several methods, including laser cutting, plasma cutting, and water jet cutting, depending on the metal's thickness.
Some materials are thin but require more heat to cut through, and others are too light to cut unsupported, so putting the material on a water jet with a table to support the material can be the best option. Cutting the metal without damaging it or distorting the material may even require that the sheet metal fabrication shop cuts the metal by hand or with tools that allow them to cut a small amount of the material at a time.
Bending and Forming
Another typical job done by a sheet metal fabrication shop involves bending or forming the sheet metal into a shape for a specific use. Often sheet metal is bent on a break, a piece of equipment that holds the material tightly on one side while bending the material with movement from the other side.
The operator may manually operate the table of the break, or it may be motorized. In some cases, it is controlled by a computer by putting the angles into the software to ensure the sheet metal is bent correctly. This setup works well for bending multiple parts that need to be repeated over and over again. A company producing a part for an assembly of some sort may use this method to ensure that there is no margin for error and the sheet metal is precise and will fit.
Sheet Metal Welding
Welding sheet metal can be difficult because of the thickness of the material. Too much heat will cause the welder to put holes in the metal, so it is critical that the sheet metal fabrication shop uses the right welding method for the material you need to be welded. Sometimes that means a TIG (tungsten inert gas) welder, and other times, it means using an electric spot welder. Still, a well-equipped fabrication shop will have several options available so that the shop can do the job precisely.
For more information about sheet metal fabrication, reach out to a local shop that offers this service.