Sheet Metal Fabrication process converts flat sheets of metal or aluminum into metal products and structures. These procedures include shearing, punching, blanking, and shaping.
Essentially, the sheet is the most basic form of metal. Over 3500 grades of steel exist. Manufacturers use these as a raw material for the production of a wide variety of objects. Some significant applications include building roofs, automotive parts, medical tables, and airplane fuselages. The thickness of the sheet varies according to the requirements.
These procedures are indeed quite complex. Fabricators involved in the operations must have specific skillsets and field experience. Also, they must have access to tools that are of the most excellent quality. This is to ensure fewer workplace accidents frequency.
And whether you are an apprentice who believes in having his/her tools or someone who rents – you must have some essential tools.
Without further ado, let’s learn about the tools used in the Sheet Metal Fabrication Process:
1. Angle Grinder
Angle Grinder is commonly known as a side grinder or disc grinder. This tool is used for grinding, cutting, and polishing different kinds of metal.
Initially, it was developed as a tool for rigid abrasive discs. However, with time, the use of interchangeable power source has led to its usage with numerous attachments and cutters.
2. Throatless Shear
This tool helps to create straight, curved, or irregular cuts on a metal project. The throat-less shear takes its name from the fact that metal can freely move around the cutting blade. It does not have a throat to consume metal. Hence, it allows greater flexibility in shapes you can cut.
It has three holes for easy mounting. And it has a tall handle to provide necessary leverage. It helps to cut stainless steel, mild steel, and aluminum.
3. Cleco Fasteners
Cleco Fastener is a tool to fasten multiple sheets of metal temporarily. It holds the sheets or other parts like stiffeners or frames before attaching them permanently. Consider it as an industrial clothespin.
The steel fasteners are generally made out of carbon steel, stainless steel, or alloy steel.
4. Wire Cutters
Nipping off those frayed ends is something every handyman has to do as part of their work. A wire cutter aids in doing just that. It is of great help if your requirement calls for notching off the corners of sheet metal.
5. Planishing Hammer
It is a metal shaping tool to achieve the most elegant shape. One can also use this to flatten and make the sheet smooth for different applications. It does not spoil the surface of the sheet, as some may presume.
Planishing hammers are available in various shapes and sizes. You can purchase or rent a couple of them according to your requirements.
As the name suggests, the purpose of this tool is to find the best angle on a metal sheet. An ideal angle-finder is made out of stainless steel or high-grade aluminum.
It is an essential tool during sheet metal fabrication as it helps to find the right dimensions of the sheets.
7. English Wheels
The English Wheel, also known as a wheeling machine in Britain, is another metalworking tool. It helps the fabricator to create compound curves from flat sheets of metal. You can create meticulous curvatures of varying thickness.
You will find many models available for this tool. The most common use of this tool is during the design of car bodies and aircraft skins. It helps to make two-dimensional curves for them.
8. Flange and Punch Tool
It is a handy and simple tool. It can crimp flanges in sheet metal. Also, it can create holes around the edges of a metal sheet.
9. Drill Bits
Drill bits are one of the tools every metal sheet fabricator must-have. There are practically hundreds of choices when you go out there to buy it. We would recommend you to buy a standard length drill and a machine screw drill bit.
Later on, you can expand your collection as your requirements change or you gain proficiency. A reliable shop will have both – the drill press and an ordinary drill. Remember the fact that if you fail to execute the drill correctly, it will waste the metal. Therefore, the tool has to be precise and efficient.
10. Cutting Glasses
The whole process of sheet metal fabrication poses a high level of risk. With a decent pair of cutting glass, you have fewer chances of coming across accidents.
The availability of the right tools is an absolute necessity in the field of metal fabrication. It is integral to have high-quality of all tools mentioned above.
Having the best in your backpack opens up the door to more opportunities. And brilliant precision in every piece you create.