No matter your occupation, fabricated metal plays a major role in the day-to-day lives of people worldwide. Of all fabricated metals, steel is the most common. The versatile nature of steel has led to its use in a dizzying array of products. In turn, a vast array of methods have been developed that allow manufacturers to create steel products of any desired shape. The process of shaping, cutting, and molding steel to create an end product is known as steel fabrication. When getting started with steel manufacturing, extensive knowledge of proper fabrication techniques is key. To help you get started in the world of steel manufacturing, here are the two most common methods of steel fabrication.
Every steel fabrication project begins with cutting. Steel cutting is the process of using a tool to create a linear slice in the steel with little to no distortion. While the cutting process was originally completed using a saw, modern cutting techniques can involve the use of laser cutters, waterjets, power scissors, and plasma arc cutters. A significant amount of linear cutting is typically done as a first step to bring a freshly made metal workpiece down to the size needed for the project. Die-cutting is an additional method of cutting that is often used to create more nuanced shapes. There are two forms of die-cutting. These two forms are called rotary die-cutting and flatbed die-cutting. Rotary die-cutting involves the use of a spinning cylindrical die that cuts the steel as it is fed through a press. Flatbed die-cutting, which is used on thicker metal workpieces, involves the use of a die on a press to cut out shapes when the die is stamped into the metal.
Next on the list is a process known as casting. Steel casting involves pouring molten steel into a mold or die so that it can cool and harden into the desired shape. Because the mold can be continuously reused to create identical products, the casting process is most commonly used in the creation of mass-produced parts. Like cutting, there are two forms of steel casting. These two forms are called die-casting and centrifugal casting. Die-casting is a high-speed production process that involves forcing steel into a mold, where the liquid steel is pressed down until it has hardened. Centrifugal casting is typically used to create long, cylindrical parts — such as steel pipes — by taking advantage of the g-forces created by a spinning mold.
This concludes this quick explanation of the two most common methods of steel fabrication. Now that you've expanded your knowledge of steel fabrication processes, you'll have a better understanding of which steel fabrication machinery and techniques can work best for you.