See our full gallery for videos & past projects in
CNC Sheet Metal Fabrication.


Types of Sheet Metal Fabrication

The fabrication of sheet metal is a complex process that makes use of a wide range of different processes. The various types of sheet metal fabrication processes include:

  • Cutting. Saws were the traditional method of cutting sheet metal, but more innovative methods such as waterjet, plasma, and laser cutting have become the norm in more advanced shops because they provide cleaner cuts that require less secondary finishing.
  • Folding. The use of a brake press and specially designed dies combine to form the necessary creases in a metal sheet through pinching.
  • Machining. This term covers a wide variety of metal reducing processes that remove material from a workpiece. Machining may include lathes/turning machines or milling machines with various tools, including drills and other cutting tools. The range of motion of the cutting head relates to the number of available axes on the machine.
  • Punching/blanking. After creating a die to a specified size and shape, the die is attached to a hydraulic press that cuts the desired shape out of a piece of sheet metal.
  • Shearing. This process cuts a sheet of metal along an extended line.
  • Stamping. Like punching or blanking, stamping uses a specially designed die to create the desired shape. However, in contrast to punching, stamping causes the desired shape to be raised from the metal in relief rather than creating a penetration of the shape through the metal.
  • Welding. Welding joins two metals by melting and fusing the two pieces together at a joint.

These processes—individually or in combination—make up the majority of methods used in sheet metal fabrication.

Materials Used

Though a wide variety of materials are available for sheet metal fabrication, the two most common are stainless steel and aluminum. Each of type of metal has advantages for various manufacturing applications.

  • Stainless Steel. This versatile metal is used in sheet metal manufacturing because its properties combine strength, durability, corrosion resistance, and easy cleaning. Applications such as food processing, storage, medical, and certain manufacturing environments—where the absence of corrosion and contamination are essential—are common applications for stainless steel.
  • Aluminum. It’s lightweight, paired with favorable compressive and tensile strength, makes aluminum a popular material for sheet metal fabrication. Applications that use aluminum make up the broadest array of commercial and industrial products, including those in the automotive, aerospace, packaging, construction, home appliances, electronics, food and beverage, and music industries, among many others.
  • Additional Metals. Additional metals prized for various properties that support specialized applications include copper, nickel, brass, and titanium. In some instances, sheet metal fabrication might include using precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum as well.

Industries Served

The range of industries served by sheet metal manufacturing is broad, including:

  • Manufacturing
  • Food & Beverage
  • Storage & Warehousing
  • Aerospace
  • Automotive & Transportation
  • Packaging
  • Construction
  • Music
  • Electronics

Sheet metal fabrication plays a primary role in the manufacturing of a wide range of products for industrial and commercial applications. The variety of processes included in sheet metal fabrication makes it possible to form almost any part or component. Working with an industry leader in sheet metal fabrication helps insure a high level of part quality while keeping costs low.

Contact us to learn more about the various manufacturing solutions Precision Machining & Fab can provide to your organization.