The beginning-to-end process of metal fabrication is a complicated one that involves a multitude of differing stages. At the very beginning, the most rudimentary of these steps are rolling, cutting and bending. The piece is then assembled. Finally, subsequent steps refine this initially manufactured product with finishing techniques that polish, customize, and make it fit for its end goal. Here is a quick rundown on the most notable steps in metal fabrication finishing:
A fairly straightforward, if somewhat tedious process, weld remediation usually entails the grinding down of excessive material in the joint areas. It can also include the straightening of weld joints or the redrilling of misplaced holes or other piercings. In some cases, the fabricated pieces will be discarded and end up in the recycling process. In short, remediation is really a “cleaning up” process rather than a truly finishing one.
Laser and Water Jet Cutting
By far, the most important type of finishing for fabricated metal parts involves the laser and water jet cutting of these parts before they are assembled. These processes falls into several types. The most notable are:
- 2-D laser cutting – Our 4-axis rotary machine tools can handle any job in two dimensions. We can accommodate sheets as large as 13 feet x 6.5 feet and still hold to tolerances of as little as ±0.001 inches – if we do say so ourselves, that is not too shabby.
- 3-D laser cutting – Using a 5-axis laser, we can add another dimension to your metal fabrication finishing needs. It is an excellent alternative to traditional drilling, milling, and cutting operations.
- Waterjet cutting – Primarily used to cut very thick – up to eight inch – metal pieces, waterjet cutting provides accuracy in both the positioning of the cut as well as any ancillary tapering. In addition, waterjet cutting is suitable for use on almost any type of pure metal or alloy.
- Laser marking and engraving – Whether you simply want to mark the work for installation or you would rather see your company’s name on the piece, laser marking or engraving is the right finishing process for you.
Coating and Polishing
The metal fabrication process – for a variety of reasons – can be deleterious to the surface of the items being fashioned. For this reason, they generally must be polished and sometimes coated before being shipped out to the end user. In particular, fabricated metal pieces will be polished to a high gloss and then covered in a variety of synthetic coatings that range from simple paints through highly engineered polymers that will resist the worst wear and tear that Mother Nature and man can throw at it.
For further information on the most important steps involved in the metal fabrication finishing process, please contact us at Serra Laser & Waterjet. We can be found online at SerraLaser.com or reached directly at 714.680.6211.