Sheet Metal Fabrication Process Explained

Sheet metal fabrication produces a sheet of aluminum or other metal that is extremely thin. Sheet metal can be formed into many shapes for various uses. There are two processes by which sheet metal can be fabricated. Those processes are deep drawing and flat rolling. With these processes, you can make just about anything you want. Below, the processes are discussed in more detail.

Flat Rolling a Piece of Sheet Metal

Flat rolling reduces the thickness of the metal when it is put through a roller. Manufacturers can create a large variety of thicknesses for the larger pieces of sheet metal. In order to reach a desired thickness, the metal may have to be run through several different rollers. The rollers are driven mechanically because they need a great deal of pressure in order to take the thickness out of the metal. This also helps to create a piece that is uniform in flatness.

Deep Drawing

The most popular method of sheet metal fabrication is the process of deep drawing. This process involves squeezing the metal in order to reduce the thickness. A punch is used in this process. It draws the metal radially with a certain amount of pressure from the punch. The punch will compress metal to a specific size, so there are many different sizes of punches. A punch will have adjustable pressure to be able to change the thickness of the sheet metal. While the metal's thickness is reduced, the other dimensions of the metal will increase. This will create a piece of sheet metal without losing any of the material.

Sheet Metal Shaping

Sheet metal fabrication also includes shaping. There are two ways to shape sheet metal. The two common ways are spinning and press braking. In the press-braking method, the metal is run through a press. The press compresses the sheet into a v-shaped groove in order to make a bend. It can be used to bend the sheet metal into more defined angles. This process is very close to deep drawing. While the metal is stationary, force is exerted on the metal. For the metal to bend properly, the metal must be grooved perfectly and be able to fit into the v-shaped groove.

Spinning is making cones out of sheet metal. The sheet metal is pressed and spun to make axially symmetric pieces. The high-speed spinning creates a centrifugal force that helps to thin and expand its radius at the same time. In order to maintain the shape of the metal, a mandrel is used. This function is very similar to that of the v-shaped groove in the press-braking process.

Sheet metal fabrication can work through any of these processes to produce different thicknesses and shapes. Sheet metal shapes can be found in many different products. With the proper tools, you, too, can fabricate anything out of sheet metal, whether as a hobby or a profession.