3D Hubs is proud to announce the addition of sheet metal fabrication services to our line of manufacturing capabilities. Use the online manufacturing tool to see if sheet metal fabrication is right for your design, or read on to learn more about this production method.
The basics of sheet metal fabrication
Sheet metal fabrication is an affordable technology used to create thin metal parts. Objects are created by cutting, folding, and machining sheets of metal. Both prototypes and end-use parts can be fabricated from sheet metal.
Sheet metal fabrication is an essential manufacturing process that is used to produce everything from automotive parts to soda cans. If the object can be formed by bending or cutting a piece of metal, sheet metal fabrication is one of the most cost-effective methods of production.
In general, this process is best used to create metal objects with thin walls and hollow spaces that would be expensive to manufacture with standard CNC machining. Sheet metal fabrication works particularly well for large objects; ovens, car doors, and similar items are easy to make from sheet metal.
When to choose sheet metal fabrication
Online sheet metal fabrication offers the same affordable prices and quick turnaround times as other cloud-based manufacturing methods. Engineers tend to prefer sheet metal fabrication for product designs that don’t make sense with 3D printing or CNC machining. In general, choose sheet metal fabrication if:
- The object is too large to create with a 3D printer.
- The design requires thin walls or large hollow spaces.
- The product can be formed by bending or cutting metal into the desired shape.
Sample products include metal grates, electronic chassis, custom brackets, and metal containers. Applications can range from automotive and aerospace designs to simple end-use parts.
How online sheet metal fabrication works
The advent of cloud technology has made CNC manufacturing simpler and more affordable than ever before. Instead of waiting for a local production company to generate a quote and start work on your project, choose an online provider like 3D Hubs to create your design as quickly as possible.
Ordering sheet metal parts from 3D Hubs is as easy as using any of our other services. Simply upload a design to our online platform and select sheet metal fabrication from the list of technologies.
The Design for Manufacturing tool will automatically compare the CAD file to the requirements of the chosen manufacturing process. In the case of sheet metal fabrication, the DfM tool will confirm that the shape can be made by cutting or bending the selected type of metal.
Engineers will be asked to select a material for their design. Options include aluminum, copper, mild steel, and stainless steel.
Next, the online platform will generate a quote and an estimated lead time. 3D Hubs offers extremely short lead times and may be able to ship the product within a day.
Available materials and processes
3D Hubs offers both laser cutting and metal bending services. Creating a finished product may require a combination of these two methods. Note that since each object is made from a single sheet of metal, the wall thickness will remain the same across the entire design.
- Laser cutting: Sheets of metal ranging from 0.5 to 10 millimeters in thickness can be cut into the desired shape. Laser cutting is extremely accurate and can be used to create custom perforations and designs.
- Bending: Sheets of metal ranging from 0.5 to 6 millimeters in thickness can be bent or folded into shape. Bends can be created with a tolerance of 1 degree.
The chosen material will affect the tolerance and durability of the final product. 3D Hubs currently offers the following materials for sheet metal fabrication:
- Aluminum 6061-T6
- Aluminum 5754
- Aluminum 5052
- Mild Steel 1018
- Stainless Steel 304
- Stainless Steel 316L
- Copper C110
Sheet metal fabrication services are the latest addition to 3D Hubs’ wide array of cloud-based manufacturing capabilities. Whether the project calls for 3D printing, CNC machining, or even injection molding, 3D Hubs can deliver quick results with the lowest prices on the internet. See how it works by generating a risk-free quote today.