Sheet Metal Thickness Matters: Decoding Sheet Metal Gauges

A person handles a stack of sheet metal cut down to size.

Sheet metal thickness is an important factor in fabrication. Metal fabrication shops often work with raw stock sheet metal from 0.02” to 0.250” thick. What does that mean for you, the customer?  Sheet thickness affects the tools and time needed to manipulate the metal and fabricate your design. Since sheet metal thickness can change how […]

Fabricating Polycarbonate Plastic: What Are Polycarbonates?

A blue translucent sheet of polycarbonate material with ridges.

Metal fabrication companies dabble in more than steel and aluminum. Many metal fabricators can also bend and shape polycarbonate (PC), a type of plastic.  Automotive and electrical components, roofing materials, and consumer products like headlamp lenses use polycarbonate plastic. As an engineering thermoplastic, polycarbonate can be heated and melted without losing its characteristics.   Do you […]

What Is Solid Modeling? 3-D Models for Metal Part Design

Engineer sits at computer, testing solid models of metal components for a customer.

You have an idea. You need to jot it down quickly, using whatever is nearby. Napkins and scrap paper work well for initial thoughts, but there’s only so far a rough pen sketch can take you.  If you plan to manufacture your idea, you must flesh out the dimensions and ensure the part will function […]

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) […]

7 Benefits of Stainless Steel for Custom Metal Fabrication

Stainless steel bars sit stacked in a custom metal fabrication shop.

What do a refrigerator door and a high-rise have in common? Material. They may both be stainless steel.  Stainless steel fabricators produce components for cookware, home appliances, surgical tools, medical implants, bridges, and automotive bodies. Many of our most memorable landmarks are also made of stainless steel—take the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, The Bean […]

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 […]