So what is sheet metal fabrication and where can I buy it?
Sheet metal fabrication is a term that covers a wide range of manufacturing activity. For us here at V and F Sheet Metal it can range from laser cutting and CNC punching ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Bending and forming the sheet metal blanks into a range of shapes and sizes. Inserting captive fasteners to aid assembly. Welding and cleaning up to powder coating, zinc plating and anodising to name but a few processes.
Laser cutting sheet metal work
Using laser cutting is a very flexible tool when it comes to producing sheet metal fabrication blanks. With a fibre laser we have the ability to not only cut traditional ferrous and non-ferrous metals but also yellow metals such as copper and brass alloys. We use a Trumpf 3030 3KW fibre laser for all our laser cutting needs and its a very versatile machine.
Bending sheet metal fabrications
Nearly all our sheet metal fabrications that are not simply flat will be folded on one of our 7 CNC press brakes. This range of machines allow us to efficiently bend components from just a few mm wide to 3000mm long. CNC press brakes are an effective way of folding sheet metal fabrications with standard tooling. They enable CNC programs to be written and then used again and again for future batches without wasting any time. Today’s CNC press brakes are fast, very accurate and easy to set up. They are suitable for prototypes, small batch work and higher volume sheet metal fabrication.
Spot welded sheet metal fabrications
Spot welding and conventional TiG and MiG welding techniques are used to produce sheet metal fabrications. We can weld steels, stainless alloys, brass, aluminium alloys, zintec and galvanised steel. Most commercial welding techniques can be used to produce your sheet metal fabrication work including stitch, tack and seam welding.
Sheet metal brackets
The manufacture of small sheet metal brackets is a speciality for us here at V and F Sheet Metal. With laser cutting and CNC punching feeding our wide range of CNC press brakes a day doesn’t go by when we are not making sheet metal brackets.
Formed sheet metal chassis
Although most sheet metal folding consists of tight bends produced in simple V bend tooling there are times when larger curves are needed. We have a range of in house tooling that can be used to produce your sheet metal fabrication profiles and these chassis nicely demonstrate this feature.
Sheet metal housings
Here’s a typical example of sheet metal fabrications manufactured by us in 2017. They are made from 1.2mm thick 1050a aluminium alloy, they have been CNC punched, had the sharp edges de-burred and folded on on of our Trumpf 7036 CNC press brakes. They are waiting to be tack welded together before going off to be powder coated.
CNC punching machines
CNC punching has been the main manufacturing technique we have used for producing sheet metal blanks for years now. With the ability to produce complex shapes in a range of metals and form interesting shapes such as dimples, ventilation louvres, threaded holes etc. they are the main stay of our sheet metal fabrication. Now that we also have a laser cutting machine they is virtually no shape we cannot produce.
Sheet metal folding facility
We are very proud to now have 3 Trumpf 7036 CNC press brakes, one was newly installed in March 2017. With our 4 other CNC press brakes this provides a wide range of processing ability and capacity to cope with small and large batch of sheet metal fabrication folding.
Sheet metal blanks waiting to be folded up
Just another day at V and F Sheet Metal, a range of fabrication sizes and volumes waiting to be folded up. We have a team of people who CNC program parts for laser cutting, CNC punching and CNC bending. We also have to keep production moving with the correct materials, gasses and customer data. You can be sure that we keep a close eye on all work going through our factory to see where we can improve processes and suggest ideas to our customers to save time and money.
Welding sheet metal
What is sheet metal fabrication? Well this has to be it. A mild steel fabrication that has been CNC punched, de-burred and folded up on a CNC press brake. The curved end caps have been rolled up and then all the joints and been seem welded together. The final fabrication was then clean us using a range of hand tools to produce a smooth outer surface.
This blog post is only a quick survey of the techniques used in manufacturing sheet metal fabrications. For a more in depth study why not read our “What is sheet metal work and how is it made?” pages.