How Does Sheet Metal Fabrication Work? A Comprehensive Guide

Are you curious about how sheet metal fabrication works? Do you want to know how raw metal sheets are turned into complex parts and products? In that case, you are in the right place.

In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the step-by-step sheet metal fabrication process. From cutting to deforming to assembly, we will cover everything you need to know about this fascinating process.

What is sheet metal fabrication?

Sheet metal fabrication is a working process that involves cutting, deforming, and assembling thin metal sheets to create various products, ranging from simple brackets and enclosures to complex machinery and equipment components.

The process typically starts with flat sheet metal, which is then formed into the desired shape using a combination of cutting, bending, and shaping techniques. These techniques may include laser cutting, stamping, punching, folding, and welding.

Benefits of Sheet Metal Fabrication

Versatility: Sheet metal fabrication is a highly versatile process that can create a wide range of products and components. This versatility is because sheet metal can be formed into virtually any shape or size, making it an ideal material for many applications.

Durability: Sheet metal is a very durable substance that resists rust, corrosion, and general wear and tear. This makes it an ideal material for use in products and components that withstand harsh environments and conditions.

Cost-effective: Sheet metal fabrication is a method that allows companies to reduce their production expenses. This is because sheet metal is relatively inexpensive compared to other materials such as plastics or composites, and the fabrication process is highly efficient.

Customization: Sheet metal fabrication allows for high customization, as components can be fabricated to exact specifications and dimensions. This level of customization is handy for businesses that require unique or specialized features.

Fast production: Sheet metal fabrication is a relatively short process, as components can be produced quickly and efficiently.

Sustainability: Sheet metal is a highly sustainable material that can be recycled and reused. This makes it an ideal choice for businesses committed to sustainability and reducing their environmental impact.

How Does Sheet Metal Fabrication Work?


Step1- Cutting

Sheet metal fabrication involves several processes that work together to create finished metal products. The first process in sheet metal fabrication is cutting. This is where the raw material, typically a large sheet, is cut down to the desired size and shape for the final product.

Several cutting methods are used in sheet metal fabrication, including laser, waterjet, and plasma. Now let’s introduce these cuttings one by one.

Laser cutting

Laser cutting is the most commonly used method for sheet metal fabrication, which involves using a high-powered laser beam to melt and vaporize the metal, creating a clean and precise cut. The laser beam is controlled by a computer program that dictates the shape and dimensions of the amount.

One of the benefits of laser cutting is its precision. The laser beam can create cuts as minor as a few thousandths of an inch, ensuring that the finished product is exact to the specifications. Laser cutting also produces a smooth edge with no burrs, which means less finishing work is required. Laser cutting can be used on various sheet metal materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, and brass. It can also cut complex shapes and intricate designs, making it a versatile option for sheet metal fabrication.


Waterjet cutting

Waterjet cutting is a method of cutting sheet metal that uses a high-pressure jet of water mixed with abrasive particles to cut through the material. The waterjet cutter can cut through materials such as steel, aluminum, copper, brass, and more, up to a thickness of 200mm.

The process begins with creating a 2D CAD file containing the design of the part to be cut. The CAD file is then imported into the waterjet cutting machine’s software, which generates the cutting path for the jet. The waterjet cutter’s high-pressure pump creates a stream of water that travels through a small nozzle at speeds of up to 900 meters per second. The abrasive particles are added to the water stream, which increases its cutting power.

One of the advantages of waterjet cutting is its versatility. It can easily cut intricate shapes and patterns and can also be used to cut thicker materials than laser cutting. Additionally, because waterjet cutting does not produce heat, it does not result in any heat-affected zone (HAZ) on the material being cut, which can be a concern in some applications.


Plasma cutting

Plasma cutting is another cutting method used in sheet metal fabrication. It uses a plasma torch to cut through metal. The plasma torch uses a high-velocity jet of ionized gas to heat and melts the metal, which is then blown away by the force of the plasma stream.

Plasma cutting is commonly used for cutting thicker sheets of metal, typically up to 2 inches wide, and is particularly effective for cutting through materials that are difficult to cut with other methods, such as stainless steel and aluminum.

One of the advantages of plasma cutting is its speed. It is a fast and efficient cutting method, with cutting rates up to five times faster than other methods. Additionally, plasma cutting can create complex shapes and angles with ease.

Besides laser cutting, plasma cutting, and waterjet cutting, there are also some cutting methods used in sheet metal fabrication:

Shearing: This process uses a cutting blade to make a straight cut through the sheet metal.

Punching: This process uses a punch and die to create holes or other shapes in the sheet metal.

CNC routing: This computer-controlled cutting process uses a router bit to cut shapes and designs into the sheet metal.

Abrasive cutting: This is a process that uses abrasive materials, such as sand or grit, to cut through the sheet metal.

Step 2-Deforming Process

The deforming process is the second stage in sheet metal fabrication. The metal sheet is shaped into the desired form through various techniques during this process.



Bending involves deforming the material to form a specific shape or angle. This process is typically achieved using a press brake machine that applies force to the sheet metal, causing it to bend at a particular angle.

The press brake machine has a V-shaped die and a matching punch that presses the sheet metal between them, creating a bend. The angle of the bend can be adjusted by changing the position of the point and the depth of the V-shaped die.

Several types of bends can be achieved using a press brake, including air bending, bottom bending, coining, and wiping. Air bending is the most common type, where the material is only partially forced into the die, resulting in a bend angle that is less than 90 degrees. Bottom bending, on the other hand, forces the material into the die, resulting in a bend angle of 90 degrees or greater.

Bending is a versatile method that can be used to create a variety of shapes, such as U-shapes, V-shapes, and channels



Stamping is a metalworking process in which sheet metal is transformed into the desired shape or design by applying a force through a stamping press. The force is applied by a tool called a punch, which is pressed into the sheet metal. Stamping can be used to create various shapes and designs, including holes, grooves, and raised features.

The stamping process involves several steps. First, the sheet metal is fed into the stamping press, which positions it under the punch. The punch is then lowered onto the sheet metal with a force that exceeds the yield strength of the material, causing it to deform and take on the shape of the punch. The excess material is then removed by punch or a separate cutting tool, and the finished part is ejected from the press.



Rolling is another popular deforming process used in sheet metal fabrication. It involves passing a flat piece of metal through a series of rollers to reshape it into a curved or cylindrical shape. This process is commonly used to produce tubes, pipes, and cylinders.

Rolling machines can be manual or automated, which is more common in industrial settings. The size and number of rollers used in the rolling process depend on the desired shape and thickness of the final product.

Other methods of deforming in sheet metal fabrication include:

Stretch Forming: This method involves stretching the sheet metal over a form to create a desired shape.

Spinning: A sheet metal disc is rotated on a lathe while a tool presses it against a mandrel, causing the metal to form into the desired shape.

Deep Drawing: This process involves forming a flat sheet of metal into a three-dimensional shape using a punch and die.

Hammering: Hammering is a traditional method of shaping metal, in which a hammer and other hand tools are used to form the metal into a desired shape.

Embossing: This method is used to create raised or sunken designs on sheet metal by pressing it between a die and a punch.

These methods are often combined with bending, rolling, and stamping to achieve complex shapes and designs in sheet metal fabrication.

Step 3–Assembly Process

The assembly process is the final step in sheet metal fabrication, where the individual parts are combined to create the final product. This process involves joining and fastening the components using various methods, including welding, riveting, bolting, and adhesive bonding.

One common assembly method is welding, which involves joining two pieces of metal together by heating them to a high temperature and adding filler material to fuse the two pieces. Welding can be performed using various techniques, including MIG (metal inert gas), TIG (tungsten inert gas), and spot welding.


Another method of assembly is riveting, which involves attaching two or more metal components together using a metal fastener called a rivet. Riveting is a popular option for sheet metal fabrication because it creates a strong, permanent bond between the components without needing heat.

Adhesive bonding is another popular method of assembly in sheet metal fabrication. This process involves using a specially formulated adhesive to bond two or more metal components together. Adhesive bonding is often used when welding or riveting is not feasible or when a more aesthetically pleasing finished product is desired.

Finally, mechanical fastening is another option for assembly in sheet metal fabrication. This process involves using screws, bolts, or other mechanical fasteners to join two or more components together. Mechanical fastening is often used in conjunction with welding, riveting, or adhesive bonding to create a secure, long-lasting bond.


In conclusion, sheet metal fabrication is a complex process that involves cutting, deforming, and assembly. Each step in the process requires careful attention to detail and the use of specialized equipment to ensure that the final product meets the customer’s specifications.

If you are in need of high-quality sheet metal fabrication services, we recommend contacting Worthy Hardware. Our expert team has years of industry experience and can provide you with the custom fabrication services you need. Plus, we offer competitive pricing and fast turnaround times to help you complete your project on time and within budget.

Don’t settle for subpar sheet metal fabrication services. Contact Worthy Hardware today to request a quote and learn more about our capabilities.

Worthy Hardware is a CNC manufacturing and sheet metal fabrication company,including CNC machining services,CNC milling services, CNC turning services, laser cutting services and stamping services.Call us +86-76989919645 or email us [email protected] for more discounts for your projects.