The Best Techniques the Pros Use in Sheet Metal Fabrication
There are various ways you can cut, join, and shape metal sheets. Rather than even attempting to discuss them all here, we are going to pick out some of the best practices used by many of the pros.
1. Laser Cutting
When the metal has been expanded (more on that later) a little too much or you need to form a specific and intricate shape out of metal sheets that can’t be done with just expanding it, you need an alternative.
By using a laser cutter, you can create smooth cuts in metal, regardless of the shape required. It is often used instead of CNC punching as it does not involve as much pressure being applied to components around the hole so that the metal sheet is stronger as a result. Visit Rapid Direct for sheet metal prototyping fabrication services, which include laser cutting.
2. Metal Brake Bending
Metal brake bending is used to make accurate bends in sheets of metal. One machine, the Trumpf CNC press brake that can help make the process of achieving perfect angles in metal sheet form automated. With this kind of device, tons of force can be applied to metal sheets for quick and easy bends.
3. Expanding Metal
The practice that most manufacturers use when they need to have an opened up in a metallic object is to cut holes into it with a CNC laser or punch or incorporate mesh wiring. An alternative practice is to take metallic coils or sheets and place them into a specialized metal expanding machine.
This machine stretches the sheets or coils of metal. As it does this, a special knife then cuts several shapes into the material. Typically, it is diamond shapes, but there are options to have squares, hexagons, or various other shapes cut using it.
The exciting thing is that these cuts are not where the material is lost, as the holes are only created after the metallic sheet or coil has been expanded and stretched around the knife.
Compared to woven mesh wiring, the metal that has been expanded is much more robust. It is also much lighter in comparison to solid sheets of metal and results in less raw material waste being generated compared to that produced when metallic sheets are cut using a laser or a punch.
4. Resistance Welding
One of the most popular methods in sheet metal fabrication is undoubtedly resistance welding. When two stainless steel sheets are joined, there not many techniques that compare to it. The most reliable and fastest way to weld two pieces of the metal sheet together is by using a particular Medium Frequency Direct Current or MFDC machine controlled by a computer.
You can make welds far quicker than your eyes can blink, and it reduces the various deformities, spatter, burns, and other injuries and accidents that are usually related to traditional TIG or MIG welding.
As noted at the outset, there are various other ways you can fabricate sheets of metal, such as stamping tucking and even shrinking. We decided to pick out some of the most popular and effective. However, it is always a good idea to consider all your options to figure out the best for you and your company’s needs.
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