Understanding the Basics of Sheet Metal Fabrication Projects

Understanding the Basics of Sheet Metal Fabrication Projects
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    If you’re new to the sheet metal world, look no further to understand the basics of sheet metal fabrications projects.



All sheet metal fabrication projects begin with the same step—cutting. Which cutting method you’ll need depends on the project’s specifications and the thickness of the metal. Some different ways of cutting include:

  • Torching: A torch produces a hot flame to slice sheet metal that can be corroded. This method is good to use on steel sheet metal.
  • Sawing: Choose between bandsaws or circular saws to cut metal sheets that you can’t cut with shears, a water jet, or by torching. This process is more intense and more prolonged, which is why it’s only used on thicker materials.
  • Water Jet: This tool uses a high-powered stream of water to cut through sheet metal. It will channel water through a slim nozzle, and you can use it on varying thicknesses of metal.
  • Shearing: There are a few different sizes of shears. Larger metal shears are similar to a bigger pair of scissors. Hand shears are great when you need to cut smaller pieces of metal manually.


Once you’ve cut the metal to the size you need, it’s on to step two: bending the metal. There are two ways:

  • Form Bending: This approach is more hands-on. You bend sheet metal over an edge and shape it by striking it with a hammer.
  • Metal Brake: This method creates the necessary bend in the metal by lifting one end up and the other end staying put in the brake.


There are a few options available when it comes time for the third step. The method you’ll choose depends on the kind of metal, the equipment available to you, and the width of the material. Some popular processes include:

  • TIG Welding: This method uses an infusible tungsten-based electrode and electric arc. You should use this welding process when working with sheet metals that are 8-10 mm thick.
  • Laser Welding: This welding process uses a solid-state, high-powered laser resonator. This method will allow you to create regular, high-quality welds.
  • MIG Welding: This arc welding method uses a continuous wire electrode which is fed through your welding gun and into a weld pool. Shielding gas is also provided through your welding gun to protect the pool from becoming contaminated.

Shrinking and Stretching

Depending on the project, you’ll have to either shrink or stretch your metal. Shrinking will smooth out dents or generate the preferred shape. Stretching is the reverse of shrinking. You have to pull the metal to create the desired profile.


Finishing is the final step while working on a sheet metal fabrication project. Applying a texture to your project will help it to perform better and last longer. The three popular methods for finishing are metal plating, sandblasting, and buff polishing. Each technique provides a different finish to your project. Sandblasting creates a matte appearance, whereas buff polishing will make an intense shine. As the final finishing technique, you can apply metal plating via a chemical bath.

Don’t forget about proper safety gear and precautions while working on your project, and refer back if needed to understand the basics of sheet metal fabrication projects.

image credit: Adobe Stock



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