How To Fabricate Sheet Metal In Simple Ways
Sheet metal fabrication has made it easy to create complex structures which come into stature by assembling small fabricated parts. Some of the most used fabrication ways include cutting, shearing, bending, punching, drilling, rolling and welding. Among the steel metals it will take you less time to fabricate Mild steel since it is malleable and has low hardness index.
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Cutting can also mean shearing but when using a shearing machine one is able to cut stock to make it economical. When cutting sheet metal you have a lot of options from machines to tools. Common ways to cut metal is by using acetylene torch, tinsnips, punching machines, laser cutting, band sawing and many other technologies but the simplest is the tin snip which is designed to produce curved and straight cuts. Circle cutters can also be used to produce smooth and curved cuts.
Making Holes on Sheet Metal
Drilling and punching is mostly done to produce holes on the surface of the sheet but punching is the most efficient. To do so you can use a punching machine, drilling machine or a punching tool. The simplest of these is using the punching tools. Using this you have to draw the shape of the hole on the surface of the sheet. Using the punching tool and a hummer, trace the outline of the hole by hitting the punch along the lines. Eventually the hole will develop but filing will be required to keep the interior linear and remove burrs. For smooth finishes one can use knock out punches and other special hand punches available. Always use a clamp to hold the sheet in place when making the holes. When using a drilling machine the step drill bit is efficient and smooth.
Bending Sheet Metal
Bending can also be achieved on sheet metal. To make the different types of bend one requires a bending machine and dies. However the simplest way to achieve the profiles will require you to have a hammer and a die or block with a uniform edge. Some calculations and formulas have to be used in coming up with a goof radius of curvature by providing certain allowances. One ought to mark the line of bending and work hand in hand with square gauges during the bending process. To achieve a good bending align the line of bending with the edge of the die or block and use a rawhide or plastic head hammer to hit against the protruding portion of the sheet. To obtain a 90° angle with this method is easy as it conforms to the edges of your die.
In the case of cutting a deburring tool can be used to make the interior cuts safe. The finishing part will determine whether your simple fabrication was successful based on measurements and visual inspection. Always use soft material when handling sheet metals as excess force may cause unnecessary deformations on the surface. All the tools used in sheet metal fabrication are of standard and are available in different sizes. Working with mild steel makes it easier since small amounts of forces are required to bend. Knowledge and skill is required to produce quality fabrications using these simple methods.
Biography: Mark Long is a well thought-out specialist on Sheet metal fabrication. He worked in Mild Steel Industry for many years, and now writes more number of articles on these topics.