Sheet Metal Fabrication Aluminum Enclosure Laser Cutting Bending Stamping Parts

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Explore the fundamental process of sheet metal fabrication and the many applications that can take advantage of it. This process is critical to creating functional prototypes and parts for various industries. Learn about the techniques involved in preparing sheet metal for fabrication and their common characteristics.

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Concept to Sheet Metal Fabrication

Sheet metal fabrication is a key manufacturing process for creating functional parts and prototypes in various industries. It involves preparing sheet metal cutting and sheet metal forming, utilizing various techniques such as bending, welding and forming. The versatility and durability of sheet metal make it an ideal material for the production of components such as enclosures, brackets and structures.

Sheet metal prototypes are samples produced to test the design and performance of sheet metal products.Sheet metal prototypes are critical for testing and refining designs before full production. These prototypes allow engineers to evaluate a product's functionality, fit, and form to ensure it meets specifications.

Techniques Of Sheet Metal Fabrication

To obtain the final product, parts go through different processes depending on the project requirements. By reviewing the list below, you can familiarize yourself with common sheet metal fabrication techniques.

Laser Cutting

● Laser cutting is a precise and efficient way to cut materials such as metal, and plastic.

● The laser beam heats and vaporizes the material, leaving a clean edge.

● It is widely used in the manufacturing, automotive, aerospace industries and most recently the hobbyist market.



● Bending machines are commonly used to bend sheet metal into desired shapes.

● The process involves positioning the metal within the machine and stamping the bends using dies and hydraulic presses.

● This method is commonly used to form electronic housings.


● Using tools and dies, a sheet metal blank is formed into the desired shape in a stamping press.

● The method is highly adaptable, as it is capable of creating complex structures through repeated punching.

● Commonly used techniques are flanging, embossing, stamping, punching and embossing.

● While it is used in many applications, it is most commonly used in automotive body parts and metal brackets.


Deep Drawing

● Sheet metal fabrication involves pressing metal into specialized dies or drawing it into specific shapes using punches.

● This process is necessary when stamping cannot be done because the required depth of the part exceeds its diameter.

● The technology can be used to make a range of products, including kitchen sinks, medical devices and automotive gas tanks.


Sheet metal engineering involves a basic process called welding, which is used to join different sheet metal pieces into a single part. The process involves heating metal pieces to their melting point, then using a torch to hold them together. Welding is critical to creating complex sheet metal designs, providing strength and durability to the final product.

Materials and Finishing of Sheet Metal

Materials of Sheet Metal

Depending on fabrication and application requirements, the composition of sheet metal may vary. The most widely used multifunctional metals in various applications are steel and aluminum.

● Aluminum

Aluminum, while weaker than steel, is still a good choice because of its lighter weight. Its durability makes it suitable for refrigeration, roofing, aerospace engineering and more, especially in cold climates.

● Steel

Durable and flexible, steel comes in many forms: stainless steel, galvanized steel, carbon steel, and black iron steel.

● Copper

In addition to its attractive appearance, copper is also highly conductive and corrosion-resistant, making it a versatile material for a variety of applications.

● Brass

With its excellent acoustic properties and corrosion resistance, brass has become the material of choice in the manufacture of firefighting equipment, musical instruments and a wide variety of accessories and components.

Sheet metal finishing

The surface treatment of sheet metal can greatly affect its lifespan and functionality. Different materials require different finishes to resist corrosion and maintain their integrity. View detailed descriptions of common finishes, including grit and color options, on our page on finishes.

Sheet metal can be available in a variety of surface finishes, which are similar to those used in other metal manufacturing processes. The type of finish suitable for a particular part depends on its unique requirements and the properties of the material chosen.

See a comparison of common sheet metal finishes below. If you would like detailed descriptions, roughnesses, colors, grits and images of each finish, please visit the Surface Finishes page.

Comparison of sheet metal finishing

● Bead blasting

Description: A consistent matte or satin surface finish can be achieved by blasting abrasives, such as glass beads, onto the part at high velocity.

Application: This technique is mainly used for aesthetic reasons and to prepare the surface for coating. It is available in a variety of coarse grains, which indicate the particle size of the bombardment surface. Anodizing can also be combined for added versatility.

● Powder coating

Description: A protective polymer layer is applied to the surface of the part using powder coating.

Application: Sandblasting can be used in conjunction with metal for decorative and protective purposes.

● Anodizing

Description: The process electrochemically forms a durable oxide coating on a variety of materials, most commonly aluminum.

Application:This technique can enhance the corrosion resistance and appearance of materials such as aluminum, titanium, zinc, and magnesium.

● Chromate conversion coating

Description: The method of immersing materials such as aluminum, titanium, zinc and magnesium in a chemical bath creates a protective coating and improves its appearance, often called an alodine or chemical film.

Application:Functional use is recommended over decorative applications for best results.

● Brushing

Description: A satin finish can be achieved on metal surfaces by brushing the material with grit in a single direction.

Application: When it comes to customer-facing parts, brushing is often used for aesthetic purposes. It effectively hides processing defects.

● Brushing + electropolishing

Description:Metal parts are brushed for aesthetic purposes and then electropolished using an electrochemical process to passivate, deburr and polish.

Application: Ideal for achieving microscopic smoothness, brushing works well on most metals, though it's commonly used on stainless steel.

Industrial Applications Of Sheet Metal Fabrication Parts

● Healthcare

The precision requirements of medical tools require robust solutions and design error detection. To meet these needs, sheet metal engineering is commonly used in the prototyping and manufacturing of MRI machines as well as scalpels and surgical instruments. Automation of these processes can be used to improve accuracy and minimize human error when manufacturing medical devices.

● Appliances

Sheet metal is used in various parts of appliances, including housings, drums and refrigeration systems. While aluminum and powder-coated steel have been popular since the beginning, a recent trend has been brushed stainless steel appliances. The versatility and durability of sheet metal enable it to play an important role in many industries.

● Automotive

The use of sheet metal fabrication facilitates innovative automotive designs by providing access to production-grade materials. The technology's metal forming capabilities help create precise frames from thin sheet metal. As a result, stamping and laser operations are used on several automotive components, including hoods, fenders, side panels and roofs, all of which are products of sheet metal work.

● Aerospace

Manufacturing complex spacecraft and aircraft components requires high precision and unique manufacturing methods. Custom sheet metal fabrication allows for the production of lightweight components that meet the stringent standards of the aerospace industry. Aluminum and steel can be combined to create complex designs by using more efficient methods and tighter tolerances.

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