Raw MaterialsStandard metal fabrication materials are:
- Plate metal
- Formed and expanded metal
- Tube stock
- Welding wire/welding rod
Cutting and burning
A variety of tools are used to cut raw material. The most common cutting method is shearing.
Special band saws for cutting metal have hardened blades and feed mechanisms for even cutting. Abrasive cut-off saws, also known as chop saws, are similar to miter saws but have a steel-cutting abrasive disks. Cutting torches can cut large sections of steel with little effort.
Forming converts flat sheet metal into 3-D parts by applying force without adding or removing material. The force must be great enough to change the metal's initial shape. Forming can be controlled with tools such as punches and dies. Machinery can regulate force magnitude and direction. Machine-based forming can combine forming and welding to produce lengths of fabricated sheeting
Machining is a specialized trade of removing material from a block of metal to make it a desired shape. Fab shops generally have some machining capability, using metal lathes, mills, drills, and other portable machining tools. Most solid components, such as gears, bolts, screws and nuts, are machined.