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Metal Prototype Fabrication

  • Parts as fast as 3 days with DMLS
  • Parts as fast as 5 days with CNC machining or metal cutting and forming
  • 25+ Manufacturing Production Methods
  • Over 530 Mills, Lathes, Presses,
    Press Brakes, Turret Punches
    & Additive Systems
Quotes for 25+ Manufacturing Processes.
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Metal Prototype Fabrication

Fathom uses the latest in metal prototype fabrication technologies to deliver high-quality parts to its customers. Whether time-sensitive, highly complex, high-precision, or short production run related, Fathom will meet the requirements of your project.

Why You Should Leverage Metal Prototype Fabrication / /

A prototype is a physical sample used to test the form and function of a part before mass production. Both functional and non-functional prototypes can be made from metal, leading to more investment and interest due to their durability and aesthetics. A metal prototype may also help reduce both time and cost, as transitioning from a metal prototype to a metal part is much easier than transitioning from a plastic prototype to a metal part.

Metal Prototype Fabrication Services Offered by Fathom / /

Metal prototype fabrication is woven through the 28 manufacturing processes offered by Fathom.

Additive Manufacturing

  • FDM
  • SLS
  • SLA
  • Polyjet
  • MJF
  • DMLS
  • DLS
  • STEP (Evolve)

CNC Machining

  • CNC (3 & 5 Axis)
  • CNC Lathe
  • Precision Grinding
  • Wire & Sinker EDM

Injection Molding

  • Injection Molding
  • Tooling
  • Compression Molding

Metal Cutting and Forming

  • Thermoforming
  • Sheet Metal Punching
  • Sheet Metal Cutting
  • Metal Forming
  • Laser Cutting
  • Water Jet Cutting
  • Chemical Etching
  • Welding
  • Micro Cutting


  • Die Casting
  • Urethane Casting
  • Composite Layups
  • Extrusion
  • Post Processing & Finishing
    • Pad Printing
    • Powder Coating
    • Bead Blasting
    • Surface Grinding
    • Polishing
    • Anodize
    • Powder Coat Passivate
    • Chemfilm
    • Vacuum Metallization
    • Silkscreen
    • Plating
    • Tumbled

Metal Prototype Fabrication Quote Times / /

Take advantage of Fathom’s SmartQuote online platform and receive a quote in as little as 1 hour, usually within 24 hours. Do you need a metal prototype fabrication quote, or would you like to learn about another manufacturing service? Fathom’s metal prototype lead times are as follows:

  • Parts as fast as 3 days with DMLS
  • Parts fast as 5 days with CNC machining or metal cutting and forming

Metal Prototype Fabrication Machines Used by Fathom / /

Fathom’s manufacturing facilities are powered by over 530 machines, including mills, lathes, presses, press brakes, turret punches and additive systems. Fathom’s has equipment dedicated to metal prototype fabrication, including lasers, waterjet machines, finishing tools, autodeburring, 4 slide machines, multi-slide machines, press brakes, 300-ton presses, 22-ton presses, wire EDM machines, seely slide forming tools and 35-ton blanking presses.

Fathom provides not just metal prototype fabrication but also hybridized services leveraging prototype fabrication. Need metal prototype fabrication as part of a more complex project? Fathom can handle it. A recent case study is listed below where Fathom delivered 20,000 parts in 27 days using 55+ tools, including metal prototype fabrication services:

Case Study //

Real Customers. Real Results.

A customer came to Fathom with a complex project that spanned the technologies and processes of rapid production—and needed it done fast. Fathom delivered.

20,000 Parts // Within 27 Days
55+ Tools to Injection Mold 15,000 Parts First Article in 2 Weeks

55+ Tools to Injection
Mold 15,000 Parts

First Article in 2 Weeks

3,000+ 3D Printed Parts

3,000+ 3D
Printed Parts

2,000+ Metal Fabricated Parts

2,000+ Metal
Fabricated Parts

Hybridized Services Used //

3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing—PolyJet, SLS, MJF.

DFM Analysis + CAD Mods.

CNC Machining. Laser Cutting.

Stamping. Die Cutting. Post-Opp Drilling.

24-hour Turnaround Urethane Casting.

Injection + Compression Molding.

Model Finishing. Insert Assembly.

Advanced Project Management.

Fathom’s Locations for Metal Prototype Fabrication / /

Fathom has 9 US-based locations that offer metal prototyping, offering nationwide coverage to the entire United States. Fathom’s advanced prototyping and manufacturing services include injection molding, CNC machining, chemical etching, metal 3D printing, and more. We have provided over 200,000 quotes to leading US companies and are ready to provide you with a quote today.

Locations include:

1050 Walnut Ridge Drive
Hartland, WI 53029
ISO 9001:2015

444 W. 21st St. Ste. 101
Tempe, AZ 85282
ISO 9001:2015
NIST 800-171 Compliant

14000 N.W. 58th Court
Miami Lakes, FL 33014
ISO 9001:2015 Design Certified
ISO 13485:2016

620 3rd Street
Oakland, CA 94607
ISO 9001:2015 Design Certified
NIST 800-171 Compliant

1207 Adams Drive
McHenry, IL 60051
1401 Brummel Ave
Elk Grove, IL 60007
ISO 9001:2015 Design Certified

13758 Johnson Street NE
Ham Lake, MN 55304

1801 Rowe Lane
Pflugerville, TX 78660
ISO 9001:2015

1513 Sam Bass Rd
Round Rock, TX 78681
ISO 9001:2015
ISO 13485:2016

Metal Prototype Fabrication Specifications and Tolerances / /

When designing metal prototypes, try to avoid exceeding the material’s maximum thickness and over-designing corners and edges. Features close to bends will require a minimum distance of 2-3x material thickness. Punching and stamping of the 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. The 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 the material to be displaced from surface to surface. Coining adds definition and clearance, but it causes the 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.

Metal Prototype Fabrication Materials / /

Fathom offers high-quality prototype manufacturing for metal parts. Fathom’s selection of materials include:

Stainless Steel 1-1000 +/- 0.005"
  • High Strength
  • High Corrosion Resistance
  • High Weldability
  • Standard Machined Finish
  • Tumbled
  • Bead Blasted (Sand or Glass)
  • Polished
Low Carbon Steel 1-1000 +/- 0.005"
  • Common Steel
  • High Machinability & Weldability
  • Can Be Hardened
  • Not Corrosion Resistant
Aluminum 1-1000 +/- 0.005"
  • High Strength, Low Weight
  • High Machinability
  • Low Cost
Brass 1-1000 +/- 0.005"
  • Corrosion & Chemical Resistant
  • High Density & Strength
  • Non-Conductive

How Metal Prototype Fabrication Quotes are Estimated / /

Design, material, quantity ordered, and turnaround time can affect how a metal prototype is quoted. In general, the more complex the design, the more it will cost to manufacture. Where possible, simplifying the design could reduce costs. Select the most cost-effective material alongside a Fathom expert to ensure you are using the best material for your prototype that will add to the look and function of the part. The thickness of the material, along with any accessories needed, will also affect the cost. The quantity ordered is also factored into the cost of the job. Some manufacturing processes, such as water jet cutting, allow for material to be stacked during production, which helps to improve productivity. Most metal prototype processes are automated using CNC technology which helps to reduce the turnaround time of a job. CNC also helps to improve accuracy and relies on very little labor to execute, which helps to cut down on cost.

Advantages of Metal Prototype Fabrication / /

A metal prototype provides multiple benefits. Prototypes provide a physical prototype of a product that can serve as a marketing tool to gain interest, gather information, or test a part’s fit and function. Feedback can be gathered using the metal prototype, and any design changes can be made before high-volume production. Testing a design concept before mass production saves labor, material, time, and costs. It is much easier to transition from a metal prototype to a metal part than moving from a plastic prototype to a metal part. Lastly, metal prototypes are both durable and attractive.

Metal Prototype Fabrication CNC Finishing Processes / /

Finishing the surface of a part is the final step required during manufacturing. Finishing is used to remove flaws, create added resistance and strength, improve the look of a part, and more. Here are some common finishes for metal prototypes.

  • Standard Machined Finish: An as-milled or as-machined part does not need a secondary process. They are used even with visible blemishes or a rough surface.
  • Tumbled: Tumbling, sometimes called ultrasonic polishing, removes any sharp edges or points from a part. The part is placed inside a barrel with media, water, and detergent. The barrel is tumbled at various speeds, depending on the desired finish.
  • Bead Blasted (Sand or Glass): Bead blastic gives the part a satin or matte finish. During bead blasting, a pressurized air gun shoots glass beads at a part.
  • Polished: Polishing improves the dimensions and accuracy of the part and gives the part a mirror gloss finish. During polishing, tools and abrasive materials are used to achieve a glossy finish.

Examples of Metal Prototype Fabricated Parts / /

Metal prototype fabrication can work for many industries, from construction to consumer goods. Furniture, appliances, and automotive parts all require metal prototypes to help test a design concept. Some examples of metal prototype fabricated parts are:

  • Construction
  • Furniture
  • Automotive
  • Medical
  • Consumer goods
  • Electronics
  • Communications products
  • Metal enclosures
  • Chassis
  • Boxes
  • Cabinets
  • Appliances
  • Office equipment

Metal Prototype Fabrication FAQs / /

Q: Does Fathom offer metal prototype fabrication?

A: Yes, Fathom offers metal prototype fabrication.

Q: What is metal prototype fabrication?

A: Metal prototype manufacturing is creating a sample or “rough draft” part that can be used to test the form and function before mass production.

Q: Is Fathom ISO certified?

A: Fathom’s certifications include ISO 9001:2015, ISO 9001:2015 Design, and ISO 13485:2016. For site-specific certifications, please visit https://fathommfg.com/fathom-manufacturing-certifications.

Q: Is Fathom ITAR certified?

A: Yes, Fathom is ITAR certified. For site-specific certifications, please visit https://fathommfg.com/fathom-manufacturing-certifications.

Q: Is Fathom AS9100:2016 certified?

A: Yes, Fathom is AS9100:2016. For site-specific certifications, please visit https://fathommfg.com/fathom-manufacturing-certifications.

Q: Is Fathom NIST 800-171 certified?

A: Yes, Fathom’s certifications include NIST 800-171. For site-specific certifications, please visit https://fathommfg.com/fathom-manufacturing-certifications.

Q: What are the factors to be considered for prototype fabrication?

A: Factors to consider for prototype fabrication are the design, material, quantity, and turnaround time of a part.

Q: What is a prototype in engineering?

A: A prototype is a functional or non-functional model that allows an engineering team to test a concept and decide whether or not to move forward with full production.

Q: What is a prototype design process?

A: First, a rough sketch of a design concept is made. Next, a 3D model is created. Then, an initial sample of the 3D model may be printed using a 3D printer. A prototype is then made as the last step before the production process begins

How to Get Metal Prototype Fabrication Quotes / /

Looking to get CNC metal prototype fabrication quotes or calculate CNC costs for an upcoming project? Fathom’s SmartQuote application provides fast quotes for any CNC file.

Across National
Time Zones

Precision manufacturing
from coast to coast.

1050 Walnut Ridge Drive
Hartland, WI 53029

444 W. 21st St. Ste. 101
Tempe, AZ 85282

46758 Lakeview Blvd
Fremont, CA 94538

7770 Washington St.
Denver, CO 80229

14000 N.W. 58th Court
Miami Lakes, FL 33014

1207 Adams Drive
McHenry, IL 60051

1401 Brummel Ave
Elk Grove, IL 60007

13758 Johnson Street NE
Ham Lake, MN 55304

1920 Slaterville Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14850

401 W. Shore Blvd.
Newark, NY 14513

1513 Sam Bass Rd.
Round Rock, TX 78660

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