Sheet Metal Fabrication
Sheet Metal Manufacturing
1 Prototype - 1000+ Production
Sheet Metal Fabrication Service
RpProto provides rapid sheet metal fabrication services to customers worldwide at low prices, from 1 prototype to 1000+ parts production. Our services include bending, punching, cutting standard gauge metal, etc. Common materials include aluminium, stainless steel, brass, etc.
While RpProto provides high-quality parts, the price is more than 30% lower than that of Europe and the United States. Our sheet metal manufacturing service allows for a lower initial investment in tooling and fast market entry. RpProto is your reliable partner, working with you from prototyping to part manufacturing.
Our clients are in almost all industries, like automotive, medical devices, aerospace, electronics, energy, etc. We can help you manufacture 1000+ parts and enable you to take your product to market in a short time.
Get a Quote for Sheet Metal Parts
Upload your 3D files for a quick quote for your sheet metal prototypes and production parts.
STL | STEP | SLDPRT | IGS | IPT | PRT | SAT files
How to Fabricate Sheet Metal?
Generally, we can shape sheet metal by cutting or forming. Since there are various ways of cutting and forming, we use many specific tooling, which may drive up costs. If you know more about fabrication procedures, you can design your sheet metal parts more efficiently.
Sheet metal typically comes in thicknesses ranging from 0.006 to 0.25 inches (0.015 to 0.635 centimeters). The fabrication begins with a flat sheet of metal. Your design files (3D files) show how to cut, form, and finish the sheet metal parts. We can cut and form the material and then join them together. We can make it into angel iron by bending, laser cutting, and bending the edges to make enclosure panels.
Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication
An experienced engineer knows better about the character of materials, stretch calculations, and grain direction to make sheet metal parts more precise. Compared with “non-precision” parts, precision sheet metal fabrication needs more techniques and better equipment.
We need to build Stamping Tooling and Roll Forming Tooling to manufacture some sheet metal parts. It will take us a few weeks and cost thousands of dollars to make these toolings. Therefore it is suitable for manufacturing large quantities of parts.
Commonly used sheet metal tooling has five categories: punching tooling, bending tooling, drawing tooling, forming tooling, and compression tooling. Read More about Sheet Metal Stamping Toolings
Cutting Sheet Metal
Laser cutting is focusing laser light on metal to vaporize the material. It is suitable for medium-thin sheets of material. It becomes less efficient as the material thickness increases.
- Suitable for a wide range of materials
- Can engrave and part mark using its depth control functionality
- No residual burrs
- Small deformation
- Smooth surface
- Tolerances: 0.05 mm (0.002 in)
- Cost: $
- Mt. Thickness: 0.30-1.02 mm (0.12-0.4 in)
Cutting Methods Compare
|Cutting Types||Tolerances(mm)||Cost||Mt. Thickness(mm)|
|Laser cutting||0.05 (0.002″)||$||0.30~1 (0.12~0.4″)|
|Plasma cutting||0.5 (0.02″)||$||0.5~180 (0.02~7″)|
|Water jet cutting||0.2 (0.008″)||$||10.15~50.8 (0.4~2″)|
Forming Sheet Metal
We usually punch and cut the sheet metal during the fabrication process in different methods. After that, we use forming procedures to create a part. We improve an assembly's strength and stiffness by forming.
The bending of sheet metal refers to the process of changing the angle of the sheet or plate. Such as bending the sheet into a V shape, U shape, etc. In general, there are two methods for sheet metal bending: the first is die bending. We use it for sheet metal structures with complex structures, small volumes, and large-scale processing. The second method is bending machine bending. It is suitable for processing sheet metal structures with relatively large structure sizes or small output. These two bending methods have their characteristics and applicability.
RpProto offers sheet metal bending services. We use V-shaped dies, U-shape dies, etc.
Sheet Metal Stamping
Stamping is a forming method for a workpiece of the desired shape and size by applying an external force to a press and a die to cause plastic deformation or separation. The characteristics are high efficiency. And the stability is strong, but the cost is high. We control the quality of parts with the mold and use it for mass production.
Sheet Metal Joining
There are various approaches to joining sheet metal parts suited to different applications. Common methods include fastenings, welding, and soldering.
Fasteners are hardware devices that mechanically join or affix two or more objects together. We use them to create non-permanent joints. They are affordable and easy to use but not as durable as welding.
The most common type of fasteners for sheet metal is called PEM fasteners. PEM is a brand that creates fasteners to provide threaded inserts and mounting points for sheet metal and PC boards.
There are several categories of fasteners, including nuts, cable tie-mounts and hooks, inserts, studs and pins, standoffs, captive panel screws and hardware, weld nuts, and sheet-to-sheet attachments. These categories serve slightly different purposes, and the types have multiple hardware options.
Explore the specific types of fasteners available in this overview →
The best materials for sheet metal manufacturing can be manipulated while maintaining their physical qualities. Steel and aluminium are two examples of such materials.
Furthermore, because sheet metal fabrication frequently includes bending, machining, or welding, there are a lot of considerations to make when choosing a suitable material. These are some: Price, Elongation at break (Ductility), Tensile strength, Resistance to corrosion, Machinability, and Weldability.
Common Sheet Metal Materials
|Material||Ductility||Machinability||Weldability||Corrosion Resistance||Tensile strength||Price|
|Aluminium-5052||7% ~ 27%||Poor||Moderate||Good||195 ~ 290 MPa||$|
|Aluminium-5754||10% ~ 15%||Moderate||Good||Good||160 ~ 200 MPa||$|
|Stainless Steel-304||45% ~ 60%||Good||Good||Moderate||480 ~ 620 MPa||$|
|Stainless Steel-316L||30% ~ 50 %||Moderate||Good||Good||480 ~ 620 MPa||$|
|Mild Steel-1018||17% ~ 27%||Moderate||Good||Poor||190 ~ 440 MPa||$|
|Copper-110||15% ~ 50%||Poor||Moderate||Moderate||220 ~ 230 MPa||$|
Note:Series 5xxx aluminium is more ductile and rips less easily when bent. As a result, it’s more suitable for sheet metal fabrication than aluminium series 6xxx.
Select suitable materials by our Sheet Metal Materials Selector
The typical finishes for sheet metal parts are similar to those of other metal fabrication. You can select the best finish based on your needs and the characteristics of the material you use.
Below is a comparison of the most prevalent finishes and how they apply to sheet metal parts. For more general descriptions, information on roughness, color options, grit, etc., and images of each of these finishes, check out this page on surface finishes.
Glass beads or other abrasives shoot on the part at high-speed. It gives the part surface a smooth, matte appearance.
Removes tool marks and deburrs;
Adds uniform matte or satin surface finish;
|Critical dimensions and surface roughness will be affected.||$|
Used mainly for visual purposes and to prepare surfaces for other coatings. We can combine it with anodizing.
|Powder Coating||It electrostatically applies a dry powder—typically a thermoplastic or thermoset polymer—to the metal surface.|
Adds a decorative layer;
Increase corrosion resistance;
All metals are compatible;
Higher durability than paints
Internal surfaces are difficult to apply;
Compared to anodizing, it is a less dimensional control.
|$ $ $|
It adds a decorative and protective layer to all metals. And we can use it with bead blasting.
It is an electrochemical procedure for coating aluminium with a stable oxide layer. It creates a corrosion-resistant and wear-resistant layer.
Adds the material a smooth, matte texture;
The electrical conductor of poor quality;
|$ $ $ $||It can improve corrosion resistance and aesthetic appeal on aluminium, titanium, zinc, and magnesium.|
|Chromate Conversion Coating||Parts are immersed in a chemical bath to form a corrosion-resistant conductive coating.|
Only a few colors are available (yellow, gray, white);
|$ $||Best for functional parts, not for decorative use.|
|Brushing||Brushing makes a unidirectional satin finish by polishing the metal with grit.||Eliminate machine marks||Not resistant to corrosion||$||It is mainly used for visual purposes.|
There are dozens of sheet metal fabrication techniques available. For example, butting flat sheets, bending parts, drilling holes, adding slots, notching, etc. These techniques enable us to make complicated parts.
Furthermore, a wide range of materials can be used to fabricate. With the ability to withstand high heat, thermal conduction, electrical, and corrosive environments, sheet metal can be suitable for diverse applications.
Sheet metal products have the characteristics of lightweight, high strength, electrical conductivity, low cost, and good mass production performance. For example, in computer cases, mobile phones, and MP3s, sheet metal is an essential component. They are also used in manufacturing medical devices, car and truck (van) bodies, aircraft fuselages and wings, medical tables, building roofs (architecture), and many other applications. Sheet metal is used in practically every industry.
Advantages of Sheet Metal Fabrication
Lead times on custom sheet metal prototypes are usually short. It has the same precision and speed that it can produce in production.
It can be easily customized and adjusted. If the manufactured prototype doesn’t work as planned, you can change it next time. It is flexible, versatile, and cost-effective. This character makes it the best way to produce a custom part.
Precision sheet metal fabrication can handle both low and high-volume production. When parts approach high volumes, sheet metal becomes even cheaper with consistently high quality.
Sheet metal is lightweight, but adding bends increases its stiffness in multiple axes, increasing the structure’s strength. It can withstand high pressure. Sheet metal parts are durable and resistant to corrosion and scratches due to various surface finishings.
The sheet metal fabrication process turns flat sheets of steel or aluminium into metal structures or products.
The manufacturing process includes cutting, stamping, bending, punching, shearing, forming, welding, revetting, drilling, tapping, etc.
Sheet metal product is used in everything from massive structural projects and construction equipment to complex telecommunications and electronics.
It can be used to create functional prototypes or end-use parts.
Sheet metal fabrication refers to a group of manufacturing processes that transform sheet metal into functional parts. These include cutting, bending, and punching.
Sheet metal fabrication is widely used for industrial and consumer parts and in specialist industries like automotive, aerospace, energy, and robotics.
Common sheet metals include steel, stainless steel, aluminum, zinc, and copper, and these materials usually come in gauges between 0.006 and 0.25 inches (0.015 and 0.635 centimeters) thick.
The cost of sheet metal fabrication depends on material, shape, quantity, and finish. To get an accurate price, you should send your CAD files to us. Our engineer will accurately calculate the cost after reviewing your CAD files.