Metal Fabrication Resources by Blackstone Advanced Technologies

The Pros and Cons of Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication for Your Project

custom sheet metal fabrication

Custom sheet metal fabrication is the process of manipulating sheet metal to churn out a specialized product order. ("Fabrication" is essentially cutting and shaping any material into an end product.) You can accomplish sheet metal fabrication in a number of ways:

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that the sheet metal industry is projected to grow by 9% between 2016 and 2026, in part because sheet metal makes up a lot of the machinery, appliances, and infrastructure of our daily lives. (Some examples include plumbing, HVAC units, refrigerators, and road signs and rails.)

 

But if you're thinking about customizing your own sheet metal projects, whether it's a toolbox or a sculpture, here's the rundown on the pros and cons you're likely to run into:

 

Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication: Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Metal fabrication is quite flexible. So even if that toolbox of yours comes out wonky on the first try, your metal fabricator can bend, snip, and hacksaw it into the shape you want. Metals also have a higher resistance to heat and are stronger and more durable than, say, plastics.

  • Metal fabrication also lends itself to welding, which permanently stabilizes any structure you want built.

  • And if you want to get fancy about it, you can always invest in a laser-guided machine-cutter for primo accuracy. (And perhaps strain your budget in the process. Better to outsource laser cutting to a fabricator.)

Cons

  • Even though metal fabrication is flexible, the viscosity of some metals does not allow them to be formed into highly complicated shapes or designs.

  • Because metal fabrication is generally more labor-intensive, the pieces that you buy will probably come with a higher price tag.

  • For that reason, too, the production process for metal fabrication is generally slower than it is for, say, metal pressing and stamping. On that note, metal fabrication requires post-fabrication processes like painting, finishing, and deburring, which can be time-consuming and drive up prices.

More Tools for Your Decision

Can't decide whether the pros outweigh the cons? Check out our blog for more tips of the trade on all things sheet metal, including reducing costs and the steps to take to ensure a perfect sheet metal enclosure design.

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