The World’s Leader in Rapid Sheet Metal Prototyping

Who is Fathom Manufacturing? The largest privately held digital manufacturing company in North America

Unique Protoyping Solutions

Your design is unique. Your prototyping solution should be too.

Rapid Sheet Metal Prototypes

Send us your design, we’ll develop a custom solution tailored to your needs.

Customer Service Comes First

We have passed all ISO audits and have proven to exceed ISO criteria for all our operating and inspection systems.

Tailored to Industry-Specific Needs

We drive to hit our customer commitments every time.

Incodema Resources

Benefits of Creating a Sheet Metal Prototype

A sheet metal prototype can help you eliminate the guesswork in manufacturing while reducing costs overall. Prototypes work as a physical example of your concept, making it easy to explain your product’s features and benefits and test for form, fit and function. A prototype allows you to evaluate and test your design and guarantee that it is to your exact specifications. By testing your design before mass manufacturing, you reduce material waste, labor, and costs. The prototype allows you to learn more about your new product, allowing your team to design marketing material that thoroughly explains your final product’s uses.

How Does Sheet Metal Prototyping Work?

First, our experts work with you to ensure your design is suitable for the manufacturing process. Any number of sheet metal fabrication processes may be used to create your prototype from cutting processes to forming processes to finishing processes.

Rapid Sheet Metal Delivery Times

Need a part fast? We specialize in rapid production. Standard lead times are below, but expedite options are available.

Parts Delivery time
1-50 flat part pieces 2 days
50-1,000 flat part pieces 5-7 days
1-500 formed parts 6-8 days
1-5 drawn part pieces 10-15 days
4 slide tooled parts 4-6 weeks

Cutting Solutions for Sheet Metal Prototypes

Incodema leverages powerful technologies to streamline the cutting process and handle even the toughest, high-value cutting challenges.

  • Laser Cutting: Perfect for high-quality prototyping and low to high volume production, laser cutting is a highly accurate process that yields excellent cut quality with minimal heat-affected zones
  • Microcut ™: Suitable for a wide variety of thin materials, Microcut uses abrasive waterjet technology with higher cutting accuracies and very tight tolerances
  • Waterjet Cutting: Ideal for applications that require thickness up to 6 inches, Waterjet uses a CNC machine process that can cut titanium, Inconel, brass, tool steel, glass, stone, ceramics, and more.
  • Photo Chemical Machining/Etching: Ideal for thin parts with complex geometries and many features, PCM selectively removes material using a chemical action.
  • Wire Electrical Discharge Machining: EDM uses electrical currents to cut complex contours into pre-hardened steel. EDM is perfect for highly detailed prototypes.

Precision Forming: Prototype to Low-Volume

Need precision forming? At Incodema, we have developed a technique in which we turn an ordinary press brake into a manual progressive die. By combining this dynamic technique with our custom tooling made with in-house toolmakers, we can easily achieve even the most intricate and complex design specifications. In fact, this process is so precise that we refer to it as “sheet metal origami” on the shop floor.

Large Format Parts and Prototypes

While small, complex parts are our specialty, we also offer large format services in-house. We maintain a 300-Ton Press with a 36” x 72” bed in our facilities to form parts that are too large for a traditional press brake. This equipment is ideal for small volume projects that require deep-drawn custom parts or large die sets with embosses and gussets.

300 ton press with 36” x 72” bed for large prototypes

Mid to High Volume Production

Looking for more volume? No problem. Our mid to high volume solutions take advantage of lower tooling and setup costs than progressive die manufacturing and can include custom features such as gussets and embosses. All our tooling is designed and built entirely in-house, making Incodema your turnkey manufacturing supplier. A few of our unique processes below:

Semi Automated Manufacturing

Looking for mid-volume quantities? We offer a variety of cost-effective, semi-automated tooling solutions that cost 15-30% of fully automated production tooling.

  • Photo Chemical Machined Flat Blanks – Small, thin parts with complex flat geometry are manufactured burr free and ready for forming.
  • Put-and-Take Tooling – Semi-complex dies, actuated manually or by machine, form complex features and/or multiple bending operations in one step.
  • Die Blanking – Flat parts and some parts with formed features may be manufactured complete in full automation or made ready for secondary, semi-automated bending and forming processes.

Four-Slide and Multi-Slide

Four slide and multi-slide manufacturing is ideal for small and intricate springs, brackets, electrical terminals, clips and battery contacts in high volume. All tooling is designed and built in-house.

Specialty Stamping

Our skilled and creative toolmakers design and create complex tooling solutions necessary to manufacture even the most challenging stamped parts. Many of Incodema’s hands-on operators possess engineering skills, and they are empowered to develop manufacturing solutions on the fly to keep the manufacturing process moving quickly and smoothly.

Post-Processing and Finishing

Post-processing and finishing is the essential final step of the manufacturing process. Most parts will require some sort of smoothing or painting when they come off a machine, and post-processing improves the quality of parts and ensures that they meet all their design specifications.

Welding Processes

Our welding experts can complete your part by fusing two or more parts together through heat, pressure or both.

Incodema’s Welding Processes:

  • Arc welding
  • Metal inert gas (MIG)
  • Tungsten inert gas (TIG)
  • Resistance Spot Welding
  • Laser Welding
  • Oxyfuel Welding and Cutting

Fabricator welding

Outside Processing

We maintain strategic partnerships with key suppliers of heat treating, plating and powder coating who understand our need for quality and speed. All our processes are NADCAP certified and RoHS compliant.

Plated and powder-coated parts

Post Machining

While we make every effort to meet all your design specifications during the fabrication process, occasionally post CNC machining is required to complete the part. Our in-house CNC machining centers allow us to post-mill features into your sheet metal components to successfully manufacture your parts while maintaining our fast turnaround times.

In-House Custom Tooling

Whether your formed parts need intricate EDM tooling, waterjet cut tools, or more robust CNC machined tooling, our team of engineers and master tool makers can develop creative tooling solutions for your formed parts. Complex bending and precision are our specialty and we look forward to solving your most challenging design features.

Deburring and Finishing

Attention to detail is critical to our manufacturing process, and we can uniformly remove laser dross, mechanical burrs or sharps and other surface imperfections with our in-house deburring and finishing operations. Our processes range from hand sanding to automated deburring, tumbling and finishing equipment.

Fabricator deburring and finishing a sheet metal part

ITAR Registered for Regulated Parts

Incodema Inc. is registered under the U.S. Department of State’s International Traffic in Arms Regulation (ITAR).
The U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC), under authority established by the Arms Export Control Act (AECA), administers ITAR. ITAR regulates the manufacture, export and transfer of defense articles, information and services.

ITAR registration recognizes Incodema as a manufacturer fully capable of supporting all military and homeland security projects in the U.S. In accordance with ITAR requirements, Incodema is entirely owned and operated by U.S. citizens.
Incodema recognizes the critical importance of securing proprietary, classified and confidential information from foreign interests.

Prototype Design Tips

Our team is here to support you in every step of the product development process. There is rarely one metal forming process that can achieve all the requirements of a design, so we offer Design for Manufacturing (DFM), which means we may identify alternative design features or processes that allows us to meet your specific design requirements faster and with a minimal loss of material. Feel free to reach out to our manufacturing engineers at any stage of your design process for guidance.

  • Try to avoid exceeding the material maximum thickness and over-designing corners and edge conrequires. Features close to bends require a minimum 2-3x material thickness. Punching and stamping of material requires a bend relief of 1-1.5x material thickness. Stamped parts have a die break.
  • Tolerances and post operations such as milling and drilling add to the project cost.
  • Radii are often more economical than corner style. Use of standardized tooling inside radii of 0.01”, 0.03” and 0.06” can reduce project cost. Most parts can be formed with 0.010” bend radii, but it adds stress to the material.
  • Embossing adds strength and clearance, but it can add stress or warping to the material.
  • Partial shear is good for locating features, but it can cause material to be displaced from surface to surface.
  • Coining adds definition and clearance, but it causes material to be displaced from one surface.
  • Edge conditions will differ from process to process. Laser cut parts have a heat affected zone. Our laser machines can use specific assist gas to produce unique edge qualities.
  • Laser beam widths vary from 0.010”-0.025”. Our waterjet cutter width is 0.030” and greater.

sheet metal design tips

Want more sheet metal design tips?

Download our Guide

What Are the Advantages of Sheet Metal Prototyping?

Using sheet metal manufacturing technology to produce your prototype has many advantages, including:

  • Precision
  • Wide range of materials
  • Flexible solutions
  • Durability
  • Budget-friendly
  • Rapid turnaround
  • Scalability
  • Variety of finishing options and thickness

Sheet Metal Prototyping Applications

A wide variety of industries use sheet metal manufacturing to produce their prototypes and final products. Sheet metal manufacturing can be used for:

  • Prototyping
  • Low volume production
  • Medical products
  • Office equipment
  • Communications products
  • Housing
  • Chassis
  • Enclosures
  • Brackets
  • Appliances
  • And more…

Sheet Metal Prototyping by Industry

No matter the industry, we have your sheet metal prototyping solution. Over our 20 year history, we have partnered with clients across several key industries including medical, defense, aerospace, electronics, automotive and industrial, and we are confident that our team can handle any of the technological and manufacturing challenges specific to your industry’s demands.

electronicsELECTRONICS
We can manufacture parts with tighter tolerances and finer surfaces that are ideal for the electronics industry.
LIFE SCIENCES
We make sure that our medical parts meet the highest standards of quality and cleanliness.
DEFENSE
We are an ITAR registered manufacturer and defense contract supplier.
AUTOMOTIVE
We ensure that each finished part that leaves our facility meets the rigorous standards for reliability and safety that the automotive industry demands of its manufacturers.
INDUSTRIAL
We know that durability and reliability are essential requirements when manufacturing parts for the industrial field.
AEROSPACE
Parts designed for the aerospace industry are designed and manufactured for durability and reliability and meet high accuracy and tolerance requirements.

Quick Turn Sheet Metal Parts

Browse examples of recently completed projects by process (such as laser cutting or press brake forming) in the gallery below. If you have any questions about which manufacturing process is best for your design, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Laser Parts

laser cut gutter clip
Laser cut gutter clip
laser cut bracket
Laser cut bracket
laser cut fastener
Laser cut fastener

Microcut Parts

Micro cut spring
Micro cut spring
Micro cut medical device
Micro cut medical device
Tool clip
Tool clip

Plated Parts

Belt clip
Belt clip
RFI shield
RFI shield
Laster cut bracket
Laster cut bracket

Precision Forming Parts

Belt clip
Belt clip
RFI shield
RFI shield
laser cut gutter clip
Laser cut gutter clip
Laser cut fastener
Laser cut fastener
Laster cut bracket
Laster cut bracket
Fiber laser cut busbar
Fiber laser cut busbar

Seely Slide Parts

Chemical etched contact tool
Chemical etched contact tool

Water Jet Parts

Fiber laser cut busbar
Fiber laser cut busbar

Sheet Metal Equipment

Lasers

Laser machine
Laser machine

Our lasers are known in the industry as the gold standard of laser cutter technology due to their incredible speed and accuracy.

Waterjet Machine

Waterjet machine
Waterjet machine

A waterjet cutter is a machine tool process that can cut metal and composite materials with CNC accuracy and without heat affected zones. It works by pressurizing a combination of water and an abrasive material, such as garnet, and forcing it through a nozzle onto materials to form their desired shape. Abrasive waterjets are ideal for heavy gage and tough applications and can cut materials with a thickness of up to 6 inches in both low and high quantities.

Finishing Tool

Finishing tool machine
Finishing tool machine

Our technicians use this machine to deliver a great, high-quality finish in a quick turnaround time. We can even achieve a mirror-like finish with this machine.

Autodeburring

Autodeburring machine
Autodeburring machine

Our fully automated deburring system processes up to 3 metal sheets per minute without the use of manual labor. This allows us to deburr your parts faster, which translates to faster turnaround times for you.

4 Slides

4 slides machine
4 slides machine

Incodema houses three four-slide machines for precision parts forming. Our four-slides are ideal for creating small parts like electrical connectors, flat springs, brackets, clips and any parts that require intricate forming. Maintaining multiple machines on our shop floor means we can produce large runs faster than most other manufacturers.

Multi Slides

Multi slides machine
Multi slides machine

We maintain three multi-slide machines on our shop floor. Multi-slide machines have eight axes, and they can produce smaller components with greater complexity than a four-axis four-slide machine. They are ideal for producing flat terminals, flat springs, brackets, clips and wire forms. These machines are also extremely efficient, and they can produce one part every two seconds.

Press Brakes

Press brake machine
Press brake machine

Incodema houses eight press brakes with 0.0001” resolution.

300-Ton Press

300 ton press machine
300 ton press machine

This press’s large bed size of 3’ by 6’ makes it ideal for producing large parts. It’s advanced controls and versatility make it one of our most accurate and dependable machines and reduces production time.

22-Ton Press

22 ton press machine
22 ton press machine

This press provides reliable and efficient punching, and it is powerful enough to punch through the toughest materials without sacrificing quality.

Wire EDM Machines

Wire EDM machine
Wire EDM machine

We have three Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM) on our shop floor. EDM is a cutting technology which uses high electrical currents to erode metal on a workpiece. EDM creates highly detailed, very small prototype parts typically made of conductive metal, and our EDMs can cut complex contours in pre-hardened steel without the need for additional heat-treating. These machines are extremely accurate with super tight tolerance capabilities, and they are perfect for precision cut parts. We also use the EDM to cut high precision tooling for your most complex formed parts.

Seely Slide Forming Tool

Seely slide forming machine
Seely slide forming machine

Developed in-house and only available at Incodema, this innovative process is similar to fully automated 4-slide and multi-slide manufacturing. This machine is ideal for low to mid-level production of parts with a material thickness of up to 0.020” and a width of 1”. It is significantly faster than manual bend press brakes and can form complex, small internal features using pre-blanked parts. With this machine, we can produce parts in minutes that take hours to form on a traditional press brake.

Seely Slide Forming Tool

This machine is the fastest laser cutter on our shop floor and is the work horse of the shop. Unlike CO2 lasers, it can cut through copper.

35-Ton Blanking Press

35 ton blanking machine
35 ton blanking machine

Our Bliss Press is perfect for mid-level production and is less expensive than traditional high volume tooling. It is capable of high speed, rapid blanking and simple, progressive automated die production. With this press, we can deliver your parts in as little as 5 to 6 weeks.

Case Studies

Busch Case Study

Working with NYC-based design firm Factioned, Ithaca-based Incodema, Inc. built the metal portion of a beer can for Busch’s #Car2Can campaign using actual parts of Kevin Harvick’s NASCAR race car.

Working with our local hospital Cayuga Medical Center (CMC), the talented team at Incodema was called to help with COVID-19 face shields. After discussions with CMC, we realized the significant challenge is that most shields are single-use or can be cleaned only a limited numer of times before needing to discard. We created solutions to this problem and have included the open-source CAD file below for your use. Send an email to sales@incodema.com for more information.

 

Contact Us

Incodema

1920 Slaterville Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-7070
Fax: 607-277-5511
Email: sales@incodema.com

Manufacturing Locations Across National Time Zones
The Fathom Advanced Manufacturing Platform

ISO 9001:2015 Certified + AS9100 Rev. D Certified + ITAR Registered
+ NIST 800-171 Compliant + ISO 13485 Certified

HEADQUARTERS

1050 Walnut Ridge Drive
Hartland, WI 53029
AS9100 Rev. D Certified

620 3rd Street
Oakland, CA 94607
ISO 9001:2015 Design Certified

444 W. 21st St. Ste. 101
Tempe, AZ 85282
ISO 9001:2015 Certified

7770 Washington St.
Denver, CO 80229
ISO 9001:2015 Certified

14000 N.W 58th Court
Hialeah, FL 33014
ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 13485:2016 Certified

1207 Adams Drive
McHenry, IL 60051

401 W. Shore Blvd.
Newark, NY 14513
AS9100 Rev. D Certified and
ISO 9001:2015 Certified

1920 Slaterville Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850

1401 Brummel Ave
Elk Grove, IL 60007
ISO 9001:2015 Certified

13758 Johnson Street NE
Ham Lake, MN 55304

6415 Angola Road
Holland, OH 43528

1050 Walnut Ridge Drive
Hartland, WI 53029
AS9100 Rev. D Certified

1801 Rowe Lane
Pflugerville, TX 78660
ISO 9001:2015 and AS9100:2016

1513 Sam Bass Rd
Round Rock, TX 78681
ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 13485 Certified

4302 Stone Way North
Seattle, WA 98103