What Is GD&T Cylindricity?

Abstract image of the inside of a cylindrical pipe.

Engineers use CAD software and prototyping to explore possible dimensions for custom components. Some engineers and fabricators use geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) to show dimensions in 3-D, including how close an object is to being a true cylinder.  GD&T cylindricity is difficult to measure. It requires advanced technology and a lot of time. Keep […]

How to View Engineering Drawings: Design Views Explained

A bearded man looks at a metal component design on a computer.

Whether you’re creating a groundbreaking widget or iterating on a tried-and-true part, detailed, concise manufacturing drawings are essential for production. Engineering sketches communicate your ideas to the production team. Not only do these drawings ensure accurate cuts and dimensions, but they also relay critical fabrication instructions like tolerances and coatings. If you have a great […]

Quick Guide to Common GD&T Symbols

Designer uses CAD software to develop a custom metal part.

Engineers use computer-assisted design (CAD) software to draw models and build manufacturable blueprints. A CAD drawing gets passed from the designer to others in the fabrication and assembly departments. Everyone in the manufacturing process needs to understand the part’s constraints and tolerances clearly.  Engineers and designers learn another language: GD&T. Geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) […]

Behind Your Estimate: 5 Influences on Custom Metal Fabrication Costs

Employee bends sheet metal in a custom metal fabrication shop.

Whether you’re an automotive, aerospace or consumer goods part supplier, you work with other manufacturers to create a final product—one made up of numerous components. New products or enhanced designs require newly fabricated parts. Before starting a project, you need to know how much custom metal fabrication costs. How do fabrication shops come up with […]

Welding Shielding Gases: Why are Gas Shields Necessary in Welding?

Person GMAW/MIG welding a metal workpiece.

Weld areas need protection from contaminants in the air. Atmospheric gases like oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen and water vapor can impair welds and cause oxidation.  All types of arc welding require a shielding gas, whether you’re practicing GMAW (MIG welding) to join thicker materials or GTAW (TIG welding) to fuse thin metals.  Welding shielding gases influence […]

The Difference Between Hot Rolled and Cold Rolled Steel

Stainless steel sheets stacked and attached to a shelf for storage.

Steel is one of the most popular metals used today. Its strength and durability make it an excellent, cost-effective choice for construction, manufacturing and more. While steel is tough, it’s also flexible and versatile, allowing you to cut and form it into the shape you need.  What is steel used for? Take a closer look […]

Get the Best Finish: Powder Coating Types & Materials

Metal going into a powder coating line and being coated yellow.

Forget wet paint. Try a dry finish. Powder coatings are excellent choices for that final film of color, texture or protection. According to the Powder Coating Institute, powder coating is a more economical and environmentally friendly alternative to liquid paint, and it’s been around since the 1960s.  Compared to liquid paint, powder coat finishes are […]

How to Become a Machine Operator for a Metal Fabricator

A machine operator uses a press brake to manipulate metal.

Are you looking for a new career? If you’ve been researching metal fabricator jobs, you may have seen or heard about machine operator positions. Machine operators are essential to manufacturing. They use heavy machinery with advanced technology to complete tasks that have been automated or cannot be performed by a human alone.  At a metal […]

A Guide to Steel & Aluminum Sheet Metal Grades

Stainless steel metal sheets deposited in stacks.

If you work with metal, you are probably well aware that each type of metal comes in multiple grades that refer to its composition. Bar stock and sheet metals are assigned a set of identifying digits. These numbers reveal the metal’s alloying elements and family.   Two projects may call for carbon steel, but one uses […]