Archive: Jun 2023

CNC Machining Sheet Metal Fabrication Techniques

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Computer numerical control (CNC) machining sheet metal fabrication is a sophisticated manufacturing technique employing machines to precisely shape and cut sheet metals. It combines the precision and automation capabilities of CNC technology with the versatility and malleability of sheet metal. This creates customized forms, intricate structures, and meticulously crafted components.

The method employs various tools such as lasers, routers, or milling cutters to process the sheet metal according to the specified design. The software controls the machines movement and operation, ensuring consistent and uniform execution throughout fabrication.

The following techniques demonstrate the adaptability and accuracy of CNC sheet metal fabrication:

1. Laser Cutting

Laser cutting is a highly efficient process utilizing a high-powered laser beam to cut through the sheet metal. First, the design of the desired shape or pattern is created using computer-aided design (CAD) software. Next, the digital design is transferred to the laser cutting machine with a laser source and a focused lens.

The laser cutter generates a concentrated laser beam, typically using a medium like carbon dioxide (CO2) or fiber. The beam is directed toward the sheet metals surface and rapidly heats and melts the material along the predetermined cutting path. Moreover, laser cutting is widely used in the automotive, aerospace, electronics, and architecture industries.

2. Plasma Cutting

Plasma cutting uses a high-velocity jet of ionized gas, known as plasma, to melt and remove the material. The cutting machine has a plasma torch containing a small nozzle and an electrode. When the torch is activated, an electric arc is formed between the electrode and the workpiece, ionizing the gas and creating plasma.

The plasma is directed towards the surface, rapidly heating and melting the material. This intense heat, coupled with the high-velocity plasma jet, effectively blows away the molten metal, resulting in a clean and precise cut. The cutting depth and quality can also be finely tuned by adjusting the speed, gas flow rate, and power level.

3. Bending

Bending is a metal forming technique where force is employed to alter the shape or angle of a flat sheet of material. This process utilizes specific tools or machinery to apply bending forces exceeding the elastic limit, resulting in lasting deformation. It also facilitates the creation of complex geometries, including bends, curves, or folds, enabling the production of intricate components.

4. Shearing

Shearing removes material by a perpendicular force to the sheet metal, resulting in a straight-line cut. In this process, two sharp blades are used one positioned above the material and the other below. The blades are then brought together with high force, causing the material to separate along the desired cutting line. It is commonly used for cutting sheet metal into straight and accurate pieces, such as strips or plates.

5. Embossing/Engraving

Embossing or engraving creates raised or recessed designs, patterns, or text on the material’s surface. Embossing involves imparting a three-dimensional raised structure onto the metal, while engraving creates a sunken or recessed design. These techniques are typically achieved using specialized tools or dies that apply pressure or remove material from the surface.

Both techniques can serve functional and decorative purposes, adding visual appeal, branding, or labeling to sheet metal components. As a result, they are commonly used in industries like automotive, signage, electronics, and packaging, where customization and aesthetics are paramount.

Other CNC machining techniques include the following:

  • Notching:This process removes a portion of the sheet metal by cutting or punching to create interlocking or mating features.
  • Lancing:This involves cutting or slitting the sheet metal to create tabs or flaps. The tabs can be folded to provide additional structural support or to make connections between different parts.
  • Swaging: This is the reduction or expansion of the diameter of a cylindrical or tubular section of sheet metal.
  • Spinning: This forming technique creates symmetrical and hollow shapes in sheet metal using lathes, rollers, or tool presses.

Choose Metal Works of High Point for Premium CNC Machining Services

At Metal Works of High Point, we specialize in sheet metal fabrication services that go beyond traditional manufacturing. We aim to optimize your processes and reduce production expenses while delivering high-quality results. Our expertise and state-of-the-art 3-axis cutting systems also enable us to handle all your custom needs efficiently and precisely.

Contact us today to learn more about our services!

Laser Cutting Sheet Metal Fabrication Techniques

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The sheet metal fabrication industry has significantly transformed with the advent of laser technology. This innovation enables the creation of intricate designs and shapes that were previously unattainable through traditional methods. Additionally, laser cutting achieves precise cuts by using highly focused beams of light, resulting in faster production times, minimal waste, and maximum precision.

This article will explore the various techniques involved in laser cutting sheet metal. We will also cover the types of lasers used in modern metal fabrication.

Advanced Laser Cutting Methods

The use of lasers has increased the flexibility and customization of sheet metal fabrication. Here are some of the most cutting-edge procedures used by manufacturers today:

Multi-Axis Cutting

The multi-axis cutting technique involves using a machine that can cut along multiple axes. This means the laser can move in various directions, allowing greater flexibility in cutting complex shapes and designs. Multi-axis cutting also enables the production of more intricate parts, reducing the need for post-processing and improving the quality of the final product.

High-Power Cutting

High-power cutting uses lasers with greater wattage to cut through thick metal sheets. This technique particularly benefits heavy-duty applications, such as the aerospace and automotive industries. Furthermore, it can cut through metals up to 25 mm thick, resulting in a faster production process and reduced need for manual finishing.

Pulsed Cutting

Pulsed cutting involves applying brief pulses of laser light to slice through sheet metal. This technique is especially useful for cutting thin materials like aluminum and stainless steel. This method reduces the amount of heat generated during the cutting process. This minimizes the risk of warping or damaging the material.

Fusion Cutting

Fusion cutting melts and fuses the material to achieve a precise cut. This technique is best suited for cutting thick materials and precision cutting complex shapes. The laser beam is directed onto the metal surface, melting and vaporizing to make a narrow cut. Finally, the final cut is extremely exact and clean, eliminating the need for additional finishing processes.

Flame Cutting

Flame cutting is a process that combines a laser with a high-temperature flame. Initially, the laser is used to heat the material, and then the flame is used to melt and cut through the metal. This technique is a cost-effective substitute for plasma cutting and is often used in construction and manufacturing industries.

Types of Lasers for Sheet Metal Cutting

Different lasers are used for various sheet metal cutting applications, each with unique features and benefits. Discussed below are three of the most popular laser types:

CO2 Lasers

CO2 lasers are among the most commonly used lasers for sheet metal cutting. They use a gas mixture of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and helium to generate the laser beam. They also have a wavelength of 10.6 microns, making them suitable for cutting metallic and non-metallic materials. Lastly, they offer high precision and can cut through a wide range of thicknesses.

Fiber Lasers

Fiber lasers use a doped fiber as the lasing medium to produce a beam. As a result, they are highly efficient, require less maintenance, and have a higher power output than CO2 lasers. Moreover, they have a wavelength of 1.06 microns, ideal for cutting metals like stainless steel, aluminum, and copper. Fiber lasers can also produce high-quality cuts at high speeds.

Crystal Lasers

Crystal lasers are solid-state lasers that use a crystal as the lasing medium. The most common types of crystals used are neodymium-doped yttrium aluminum garnet (Nd:YAG) and neodymium-doped yttrium orthovanadate (Nd:YVO4). They are highly efficient and offer high beam quality and stability, making them popular for various applications.

Metal Works of High Point: Your Partner for High-Quality Laser Cutting Solutions

At Metal Works of High Point, our metal laser services can help streamline your fabrication process and lower production expenses! We prioritize providing our customers with high-quality manufacturing services at a reduced cost. We can also handle all your custom cutting needs with our team of skilled professionals and cutting-edge 3-axis cutting systems.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and capabilities!