Sheet Metal Fabrication
At a Glance
Finishing & Post-Processing
About the Process
Sheet metal fabrication uses many different processes to build metal parts and structures. Parts end up having great durability and are ideal for end-use applications. Almost all industries (i.e. aerospace, automotive, medical, consumer electronics) use sheet metal fabrication for their products and services.
Fabrication processes can be placed into two categories: forming and cutting. Sheets can be cut with a high power laser or with a punch to form the layout on the flat pattern before bending. To form or bend the sheets, a hydraulic ram drives a press brake which applies pressure to a sheet of metal. Since there is a V-shaped die under the sheet, the metal bends along a single axis between the punch and the die. Although the bend is always a straight line, multiple types of punches and dies can produce parts with different angles and circumferences. Any parts that are flat without any 3D features can be laser cut.
Most materials can be formed via press braking including aluminum, stainless steel, steel, and copper.
Supported Materials for Sheet Metal Fabrication:
- 5052, 2024, 7075 Aluminum
- 360 Brass
- 932 Bronze
- 110, 101 Copper
- 303, 304L, 316L, 410, 416, 440C, 17-4 PH Stainless Steel
- 1018 Mild Steel
- 4140 Alloy Steel
- Zinc-Galvanized Low-Carbon Steel
Supported Non-Metals for Laser Cutting:
Tolerances should be considered as guidelines and are not as simple as CNC tolerances. We hold tolerances to ISO 2768 C (coarse) standards unless tighter tolerances are specified. Sheet metal is not a high precision process because of the manual forming, the metal’s elasticity, and thickness variability.
Contact your Fictiv support team with questions on the specific geometry of your part.
Linear Dimension (mm)
Maximum Sheet Metal Fabrication Thickness
Powder Coating: A type of coating that is applied as a free-flowing, dry powder. Powder coating does not require a solvent to keep the binder and filler parts in coating. It’s cured under heat and forms a protective layer of “skin” that prevents corrosion.
Media Blasting: A stream of abrasive material is propelled against a surface under high pressure and achieves a matte surface. It can smooth a rough surface, roughen a smooth surface, shape a surface, or remove surface contaminants. A pressurized fluid like compressed air is typically used to propel the blasting material (often called the media).
Anodizing: An electrolytic passivation process that grows an oxide layer on aluminum parts. It works as a conversion coating that enhances cosmetic appearance and protects from wear and corrosion.
Passivation: A non-electrolytic finishing process that makes stainless steel more rust-resistant. The process results in a protective oxide layer that is less likely to chemically react with air and cause corrosion.
Alodine/Chem Film: A type of conversion coating used to passivate steel, aluminium, zinc, cadmium, copper, silver, magnesium, and tin alloys. It’s primarily used as a corrosion inhibitor, primer, decorative finish, or to retain electrical conductivity.
Polishing: The manual process of creating a smooth and shiny surface. Although sheet metal parts are rarely polished due to the amount of manual labor required, we can work with you depending on your project’s specific requirements.
Laser Engraving: The practice of using lasers to engrave an object. If your part requires laser engraving prior to any post-process it will be done at the same time as the flat pattern. Please speak with your Fictiv support team for laser engraving after post-processing.
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