Got an idea? Discuss your bespoke project
01489 577 786
Blog Header

Sheet metal welding fabrications

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

I thought it would be useful to pick out 3 quite different sheet metal welding fabrication projects being manufactured during January 2015 to use as illustrations of the type of welding techniques we can employ when making fabrication assemblies.

Sheet metal MiG welded fabrications

Sheet metal MiG welded fabrications

Here I have shown a batch of 100 wall mounting bracket assemblies for supporting speaker systems. We normally manufacture 100 to 200 of the bracket assemblies at a time from mild steel square section tube, 5mm bar and 6mm thick mild steel plate. The 6mm thick plate is screwed to the wall with the welded tube projecting out at 90 degrees. The 5mm bar is used both sides of the tube to strengthen the joint and prevent the heavy speaker sagging once it has been fixed to the tube.

We used to buy the laser cut 6mm plates in from another source as they were too thick for us to CNC punch with our Trumpf punch presses. Now we have invested in a new Trumpf 3030 3KW fibre laser cutting machine we can easily laser cut them in house, out of interest the laser cutter is able to cut steel up to 20mm thick so 6mm was no problem. We also used to saw the mild steel tubes to length and then drill all the holes both sides with a standard pillar drill set up. We have now moved this operation onto the laser cutter as well with some customer built jigs. We still saw the tubes to length and then simply position them into the jig on the bed of the laser machine and as the laser head can move in the Z axis it can move onto the tubes and cut the holes require. We just cut a row of tubes and then flip them all over 180 degrees before cutting the other side. This has proven to be much quicker than having to drill them all out by hand. The tube, strengthening bars and wall mounting plate is positioned within a jig and then MiG welded together. By using anti-spatter spray we can keep the surface of the plates clean and they need little cleaning up before being ready to go for powder coating. MiG welding tends to be used on heavier sheet metal welding fabrication jobs than TiG welding as it’s quicker to apply and you can build up a lager weld quicker than TiG welding. I’s not a neat as TiG welding but in this case that was not important.

Sheet metal TiG welded fabrications

Sheet metal TiG welded fabrications

This is a simple sheet metal support shelf for a rack mounting enclosure. We often make 20-30 of these fabricated assemblies at a time with both parts being manufactured from 1.5mm mild steel. The main shelf and stiffening channel was laser cut from the same sheet of metal using nitrogen as the assist gas. Using nitrogen produced a very clean cut that didn’t need and edge de-burring and also is a perfect finish ready for zinc plating or powder coating.

Although you cannot see in this photo the stiffening channels have small tags laser cut in them and the main rack shelf has a small rectangular slot cut to match the tag. The welder who TiG welds them together doesn’t have to worry about positioning them or measuring point to tack weld as the 2 parts simply press together and are them welded. This method of assembly for welding is also a simple check that the 2 parts are being bent correctly as they can be checked once the first parts are bent to ensure they all line up before running the complete batch through the CNC press brakes.

Sheet metal spot welded fabrications

Sheet metal spot welded fabrications

These spot welded fabricated assemblies are used as part of a chassis used on some scientific measuring equipment. The batches can vary from 25 off up to several hundred at a time. They are laser cut from 2mm thick mild steel with nitrogen as the cutting assist gas in house on our Trumpf 3030 fibre laser cutter. The front section with the curved forms are folded up and the then extended sides are created but spot welding them to the front section with support strips as the overlapping joint inside the profile. The spot welding tips on the outside sheet metal surface were flat to reduce the amount of distortion and any indents to these surfaces. Spot welding is good for madding welded joints were great strength is not needed, they can be much quicker than TiG or MiG welding but as they are so small several spots are needed over a larger are to ensure sufficient joint strength is achieved.

After the spot welded joints had been made the outer surfaces were cleaned off and the orbital sanded before being powder coated silver.

If you have a sheet metal work project that needs welding then perhaps you might consider using our skills, please give us a call on 01489 577786 or e-mail us some drawings at sales@vandf.co.uk


Sheet metal bending services

Monday, January 19th, 2015

Sheet metal bending services offered at V and F Sheet Metal for sub-contract manufacturing of sheet metal cases, enclosures, boxes, brackets, channels, chassis up to 2.5M long

Sheet metal CNC bending facility in Fareham, Hampshire, UK

Sheet metal CNC bending facility in Fareham, Hampshire, UK

Here’s a range of larger sheet metal items being bent with our Edwards Pearson PR6 2.5M CNC press brakes. The parts in the front of the picture are 0.9mm thick Zintec coated mild steel pump bases and have been laser cut without the need for any edge de-burring. The parts on the left hand side and at the machine itself are 0.7mm thick pre-painted mild steel light fitting housings and the longer parts on the right hand side are 0.7mm thick pre-painted mild steel light fitting gear trays. both of the pre-painted parts were CNC punched out with the longer gear trays also having plunged form for self tapping screws to fit into. This range of sheet metal work is typical of the types of parts that are bent up every day of the week. The PR6 CNC press brakes have 6 axis computer control of the bend tooling and the back stops so they can handle very complex cross sections when needed or simple parts up to 2.5M long.

Sheet metal working bending service

Sheet metal working bending service

Although the Edwards Pearson 2.5M CNC press brakes can fold small items we tend to put them our Trumpf 7036 machines if possible. These machines are electric rather than hydraulic which means they are very quiet, fast and cheaper to run. They have the ability to save CNC bending programs direct to the company wide computer network so that they jobs can be run on either machine or both together if needed to provide a useful flexibility to production when we are busy. The Trumpf 7036 press brakes are also very accurate which helps us to offer a comprehensive sheet metal bending service to all our customers.

Bending sheet metal chassis panels

Bending sheet metal chassis panels

Here’s our other Trumpf 7036 bending machine with 0.9mm zintec pump trays chassis panels being folded. These parts were run in a batch of 150 off which is perfect for this machine with samples and small batches up to jobs with many thousands of bends often being worked on throughout the week.

Perhaps you have a manufacturing project that needs our sheet metal bending services. Please give us a call on 01486 577786 or send us you drawings (PDF, DXF, DWG, SAT and STEP formats excepted) and we will be happy to take a look for you.


Sheet metal work fabrication and assembly

Friday, January 16th, 2015

Here’s some new examples of sheet metal fabrication and assembly I’ve spotted in our factory.

Sheet metal work spot welded assembly

Sheet metal work spot welded assembly

Spot welding is a great way of joining thin sheets of metal together in a permanent way. The process is fast, simple, cheap and produces little or no distortion at the point of the joint. There is a small burn mark and witness where the 2 copper spot welding tips come together to momentarily squeeze the molten spot of metal together. On most occasions this type of welded joint is not seen as in this case of these air conditioning fan housings. No further cosmetic cleaning up was needed as they were assembled into a larger outer sheet metal case and now seen by the final customer. When the spot welds are seen, for instance on a front panel, we can cleaned them off and orbital the outer surface before say painting so that there is no visible sign of the spot welded joint. You can see on these units that we have applied several spot welds to each bracket to ensure they do not fail in use. These sheet metal fabricated assemblies illustrate quite a range of manufacturing techniques including CNC punching, CNC press brake angle bending with standard tooling, forming of curved sections with custom tooling, inserted hank bushes, assembly and of course spot welding.

The ability of sheet metal work to encompass such a range of different techniques is its biggest strength enabling it to take on so many different forms to meet a customer’s design requirements.

Sheet metal presswork and assembly

Sheet metal presswork and assembly

Here we have a formed end cap that is assembled to long bent slats in 12 places by means of a series of hollow rivets. The end caps have been run through power press tooling to firstly produce the blanks with the holes pierced in place. There is then a second power press tool to form the end cap sides up all in one operation producing soft rounded corners. The slats are made separately from cut strips of Zintec sheet with fixing holes positions pierced in our fly presses and then the ends are bent up to match the fixing positions in the end caps. Once the rivets are pulled into position all the thin Zintec coated mild steel parts become very strong. Using press tools enables us to manufacture sheet metal components in just a few quick operations and this type of production method is best suited to higher volumes of work due to the initial cost of tooling at the start of a design project.

Sheet metal work folding and assembly

Sheet metal work folding and assembly

These end cap assemblies are very similar to the ones show above except that they have end caps that have been laser cut and folded up on our CNC press brakes rather than formed in press tooling. The method of assembly to make up the fabrications is the same rivet method used. Laser cutting and CNC bending up the end caps isn’t as fast as dedicated hard press tools but does has the advantage of being able to be easily changed to suit new design ideas and updates without any tool costs. You have to decide whether a design will be stable enough and the volumes high enough to suit press tooling over CNC punching / laser cutting and CNC bending.

We are happy to review components in both ways for you to see what would be the best price and method of production for your new sheet metal fabrication assemblies.


Sheet metal work enclosure

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

sheet metal work enclosure

sheet metal work enclosure

Sheet metal work enclosure

A 7 sided regular polygon is not a shape we are asked to make very often but we soon turned our hand to it. The sheet metal work enclosure was manufactured from aluminium and black anodised. It was used by a lighting company to enclosure some control gear for a ceiling mounted down light. The circular plate just seen underneath the aluminium enclosure was laser cut from stainless steel and acted as an enclosure cover plate. Using Radan sheet metal software it was easy to model the 7 sided enclosure and develop out the correct flat pattern for laser cutting and bending to produce the small run of components without the need for a sample to be produced first.

This sheet metal work enclosure although an odd shape is typical of the bespoke sheet metal projects we often get involved with for our customers. It’s great to be able to help bring people’s ideas to reality quickly and with the minimum of costs. If you want any help with a sheet metal enclosure you have whether it’s a simple box or something more complicated please don’t hesitate to contact us and we will be happy to help you with design.


CNC punch press nests for sheet metal work

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

CNC punch press nests generated with Radan software for a range of sheet metal components

Here’s a great collection of recent CNC punching nests that we have produced here at V and F Sheet Metal using Radan software for our Trumpf 3000 and Trumpf 200 CNC punch presses. We can produce most sheet metal parts that our customers want without any new tooling using the standard tooling we have on the shelf that we have built up over many years. You can follow the like to the standard CNC punch press tooling page where each shape is listed and all the free sizes available as explained. If you are not sure please just call us and we will be happy to advise you as often a couple of small changes to your design can eliminate any tooling costs and also reduce CNC punching time which can considerably reduce the part costs.

If you click on the images above you will find more information on each part and a more detailed view of the tooling used.