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Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication

  • Highly Durable Metal Parts
  • Precise Components with Tight Tolerances
  • Variety of Metals & Alloys with Unique Properties
Over 200,000 quotes provided to top US companies.
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Sheet Metal Fabrication Services
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Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication

Fathom delivers high-quality parts to its customers while using precision sheet metal fabrication technology. Whether your project is time-sensitive, high-precision, highly complex or short production run related, Fathom will meet your requirements.

What is Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication? / /

Precision sheet metal fabrication is the process of creating complex and detailed sheet metal parts. Industries such as aerospace, automotive, defense, robotics, and life sciences all rely on parts made using precision sheet metal fabrication techniques. Common manufacturing processes for precision sheet metal components include laser cutting, micro water jet cutting, welding and more. In addition to a wide range of manufacturing techniques, Fathom also offers various raw materials including stainless steel and copper alloys.

Processes Used in Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication / /

Fiber Laser Cutting

Laser cutting machines make their cuts within an enclosure using no mechanical components. The enclosure decreases the risk to the machine operator while also producing less noise. Fiber laser cutting uses laser diodes transmitted through optical fibers to create desired cuts in the raw material. The fiber laser cutting method uses a high-power output and high-intensity level, making it a very efficient manufacturing process.

Waterjet Cutting

Water jet cutting uses a high-pressure pump which forces water through a nozzle to make precise cuts. The cut is facilitated by the balance of volume and velocity. To create abrasive water cuts, an abrasive substance is mixed with water. Both the water and abrasive media can be recycled and reused, which helps to increase energy efficiency while reducing costs.

Microcut™ Micro Water Jet Cutting

Micro water jet cutting uses the manufacturing capabilities of water jet cutting to produce parts on a micro-level. Water jet cutting’s high-level of accuracy is what facilitates the production of tiny and complex parts.

Wire EDM

During wire EDM process, a metal piece is placed into a dielectric bath where a charged thin metal wire uses electrical sparks to melt the material and make cuts. The spark’s voltage bridges the gap from the wire to the workpiece which causes the material to melt. The metal wire never contacts the workpiece. The dielectric fluid controls the sparks, cools and flushes away excess material.

Stamping

A blanked or coiled piece of sheet metal is placed in a press where the stamping tool is pressed onto the material. The stamping tool or die contains the desired shape of the part. Stamping may involve punching, blanking, bending, drawing, embossing and more.

Forming

Sheet metal is loaded onto a flatbed where a laser cutter draws pre-programmed parts onto the material. To add additional materials to the part, a sheet metal punch may be used. The part is deburred and then moved to a press brake where it is shaped further.

Prototype Etching

Prototype etching uses photochemical machining, chemical milling, or acid etching to make a part. During prototype etching, temperature-controlled etching chemicals are used to selectively remove material. Chemical etching is ideal for prototyping because of its shorter lead time and inexpensive tooling.

Production Etching

Production etching may use photochemical machining or chemical milling to produce parts with high precision and intricacies. Production etching is perfect for transitioning prototypes into production because it is fast, cost-effective and offers great design flexibility.

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting uses a high-powered laser beam is to cut the workpiece. The cutting technique may use a gas, liquid, or solid-state laser. CO2 lasers use a gas state laser using a mixture of carbon dioxide to make cuts. Solid state lasers use laser diodes transmitted through optical fibers to create cuts.

CNC Punching

During CNC punching the raw material is moved in a 2-axis direction and positioned under a punching ram. The punching ram punches a hole or form into the workpiece. CNC punch press machines can have one head and tool rail design or a multi-turret design.

Welding

Fathom’s welding team uses heat and pressure to fuse two or more parts together. Welding services include arc welding, metal inert gas (MIG), tungsten inert gas (TIG), resistance spot welding, laser welding and oxyfuel welding and cutting.

Hardware Installation

Fathom offers hardware installation services as part of its complete sheet metal fabrication program. Whether a project a low or high volume of parts, Fathom can ensure great quality and efficiency.

Sanding/Grinding

Fathom can finish your part with sanding or grinding services. Grinding can remove weld or add any desired cosmetic surface. Sanding deburrs and removes scratches from parts after they have been punched or laser cut.

Liquid Painting

Liquid painting is used where powder coating is not suitable. Liquid painting can result in a professional finish, corrosion resistance, custom colors and more.

Powder Coating

The workpiece is covered with an even coating of powder and then cured. After the part has cured, it has a professional finish that can be matte, smooth, textured and more. Fathom has multiple powder coating finishes to choose from.

Screen Printing

Sheet metal parts can be screen printed in a variety of different finishes and colors. Fathom can also add a design of your choice to your custom part.

Assembly & Kitting

The Fathom team can perform assembly and kitting in-house. Services include hardware installation, manual or automated processes and more. Fathom will ensure your finished part meets your exact specifications.

Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication Services Offered by Fathom / /

Fathom is ready to work with you on your next precision sheet metal fabrication project. Our services include laser cutting, water jet cutting, Microcut™ and photochemical machining and more. Utilizing our comprehensive program, we can finish your project completely in-house, from design assistance to manufacturing to finishing and assembly. Fathom offers post-processing services such as welding, deburring, bead blasting and more. Precision sheet metal manufacturing is just one of 28 manufacturing services 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

Standalone

  • 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

Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication Quote Times / /

Standard lead times are below, but 24hr 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

Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication Machines Used by Fathom / /

Fathom’s manufacturing network includes over 530 machines, including mills, lathes, presses, press brakes, turret punches and additive systems. Fathom’s has equipment dedicated to sheet metal 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.

In addition to sheet metal fabrication, Fathom also offers hybridized services that leverage the latest in metal manufacturing technology. Do you need precision sheet metal fabrication as part of a complex job? Fathom can deliver. 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
15,000

55+ Tools to Injection
Mold 15,000 Parts

First Article in 2 Weeks

3,000+ 3D Printed Parts
3,000

3,000+ 3D
Printed Parts

2,000+ Metal Fabricated Parts
2,000

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 Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication Services / /

Fathom has 3 US-based locations that offer precision sheet metal manufacturing, providing 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 given over 200,000 quotes to leading US companies and are ready to help you with a quote today.

Locations include:

COLORADO
7770 Washington Street
Denver, CO 80229
ISO 9001:2015
ITAR

NEW YORK
1920 Slaterville Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
ITAR

401 W. Shore Boulevard
Newark, NY 14513
ISO 9001:2015
AS910:2016
ITAR

Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication Materials Available / /

Aluminum Alloys

Alloy Temper Ductility Strength Corrosion Resistance Heat Treatable Comments
6061 T6 Low Mid Good No Minimum bend radii of 3x raw material thickness.
6061 T0 High Low Good Yes Higher-cost heat treating due to warping and need for secondary straightening.
5052 H32 High Mid Good No Most commonly used aluminum alloy and temper.
5052 H34 Mid High Good No Small radii bends in line with grain may fracture.
3003 H14 High Low Good No Good for deep drawn parts.

Stainless Steel

Alloy Temper Ductility Strength Corrosion Resistance Heat Treatable Comments
301
302
304
*Range **High High Excellent No Small radii bends in line with grain may fracture in full hard temper. Full hard temper is cost effective for springs as there is no need for heat treating or plating.
316
316L
Annealed High High Excellent No Used heavily in the medical industry.
410 Annealed High Mid Mid Yes Excellent for springs. Stays stable in heat treating and has a bright finish.
17-4 PH Annealed Low Excellent Mid Yes Small radii bends in line with grain may fracture.
17-7 PH
Cond. A
Annealed Mid High Mid Yes Excellent for springs intended for repeated cycles. Remains stable during heat treating.
17-7 PH
Cond. C
Mill Hardened Low High Mid Yes Small radii bends in line with grain may fracture. Highest hardness and strength achievable in alloy 17-7 PH.

*Annealed, 1/2, 1/4, 3/4, and full hard possible
**Ductility decreases in harder tempers and mill hardened materials

Low Carbon and Spring Steel

Alloy Temper Ductility Strength Corrosion Resistance Heat Treatable Comments
1008
1010
Soft, 1/2, 1/4 Full Hard High Mid *Poor **Yes When rolled at or near room temperature, excellent ductility and strength is produced and is more uniform than hot rolled steel.
1008
1010
Annealed High Mid *Poor **Yes Rolled at a temperature greater than the recrystallization point, which produces surface scale. Good ductility, but weaker and less uniform than cold rolled steel.
HSLA Annealed Mid High *Poor **Yes Requires 25-30% more power to form than cold rolled steel or hot rolled steel.
1050
1074
1075
1095
Annealed Excellent ***High *Poor Yes 1095 has the highest carbon content of the materials listed. Higher carbon content yields higher strength with less ductility after heat treating.
1095 Blue Tempered Low High Mid No Good for flat springs or leaf springs with large radii.

*Poor without plating or surface treatment
** Limited to carburizing
*** High strength after heat treatment

Copper Alloys

Alloy Temper Ductility Strength Corrosion Resistance Heat Treatable Comments
C10 Cooper Wide Range High Mid Good No Highly conductive. High cost.
C172 Beryllium Copper Wide Range Excellent Excellent Fair Yes Excellent for electrical spring contacts. Highly conductive, excellent electroplating adhesion coefficient and remains very stable during heat treating. Moderate cost.
C260 Brass Wide Range *Ranges High Good No Small radii bends in line with grain may fracture in full hard and spring tempers.
C510 Phosphor Bronze Wide Range *Ranges High Fair No Small radii bends in line with grain may fracture in full hard and spring tempers.

*Ranges according to temper

Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication Cutting Specifications and Tolerances / /

Precision sheet metal manufacturing is an efficient method for low to high volume projects. Great levels of accuracy are achievable using Fathom’s precision sheet metal services, up to 0.0005” depending on the production method used. Other factors that affect tolerance include the geometry, complexity of design and raw materials selected.

Material Thickness Tolerance Kerf Part Volume Set Up Cost Lead Time ** Notes
OMAX WATERJET Up to 6″ 0.005″- 0.015″ .020″/.040″ 1 to 5,000 Low 6-8 days Metal, glass, plastic, stone, rubber, Kevlar, carbon fiber, ceramics, etc. Taper up to 59°
MICROCUT™ .0005″ – 0.5″ 0.0005″ - 0.005″ 0.009″, 0.011″,  0.0196″ 1 to 5,000 Low 6-8 days Metal, glass, plastic, stone, rubber, Kevlar, laminates, carbon fiber, ceramics, etc.
FIBER LASER AL: 0.250″ SS: 0.375″ CRS: 0.500″ COP: 0.250″ Brass: 0.125″ 0.002″ – 0.005″ .008″ 1 to High-Volume Low 6-8 days Metals - Fast
WIRE EDM 0.001″ – 6″ 0.0005″ 0.005″ 1-200 Is Best Low 6-8 days Conductive Metals, Carbon
* CHEM ETCH 0.005″ – 0.060″ Is +/- 10% of material thickness, .002″ min. Equal to metal thickness 1 - Infinity $350 Min. 6-8 days Metal Only. No Burrs. Beveled Edges. Half Etch and Holes.

*Inner radius should be 75% of material thickness. Outer Radius should be material thickness plus Inside bend radius.
**Dependent on geometry, volume and material: 24hr Expedite options available

Fathom Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication Equipment / /

Fathom can achieve high precision and quality sheet metal parts by utilizing the latest in manufacturing technology. Our sheet metal fabrication equipment includes laser cutting machines, waterjet machines, auto deburring and more. Whether your job is complex or requires multiple manufacturing techniques, we are ready to help.

Lasers

Fathom’s laser equipment leads as the industry gold standard of laser cutting technology thanks to their incredible speed and accuracy.

Waterjet Machine

Waterjet cutting machines can cut through metal and composite material with CNC accuracy and without heat affected zones. This machine tool process works by using a pressurized combination of water and abrasive material, such as garnet, forcing it through a nozzle and onto the raw material, forming the desired shape. Abrasive waterjet cutting is a suitable match for heavy gauge and tough applications as it can cut raw materials with a thickness up of up to 6 inches.

Finishing Tool

Our technicians can achieve a mirror-like finish using a finishing tool. Fathom’s finishing machine allows us to achieve great quality and a quick turnaround.

Autodeburring

Fathom’s automated deburring system can process up to 3 metal sheets per minute without any manual labor. Parts are deburred quickly, resulting in a quick turnaround for our customers.

4 Slides

Fathom houses three four-slide machines for precision parts forming. Four slide machines can create small parts like electrical connectors, flat springs, brackets, clips and any parts that require intricate forming. Having multiple machines on our shop floor means we can produce large runs faster than most other manufacturers.

Multi Slides

Fathom has three multi-slide machines with eight axes. Multi-slide machines can produce smaller components with great complexity and are great at producing flat terminals, brackets, clips and wire forms. Multi-slide machines are highly efficient and can produce one part every two seconds.

Press Brakes

Fathom has eight press brakes with 0.0001” resolution.

300-Ton Press

The 300 Ton Press has a large bed size of 3’ by 6’, which makes it ideal for producing larger parts. It has advanced controls and versatility, which make it one of our most accurate and dependable machines that help to reduce production time.

22-Ton Press

The 22 Ton Press provides reliable and efficient punching. It is powerful enough to punch through tough materials while maintaining quality.

Wire EDM Machines

Fathom utilizes three Electrical Discharge Machines (EDM). Electrical discharge machining is a cutting process that uses high electrical currents to erode metal on a workpiece. EDM can result in highly detailed, very small prototype parts typically made of conductive metal. Fathom’s EDM machines can cut complex contours in pre-hardened steel without the need for additional heat treatments. EDM machines are 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

Only available through Fathom, the seely slide machine was developed in-house. The seely slide forming tool is like a fully automated 4-slide and multi-slide manufacturing. The process is ideal for low-to-mid level production jobs with material thickness of up to 0.020” and a width of 1”. Using a seely slide forming tool is faster than manual bend press brakes and can be used to form complex, small internal features using pre-blanked parts.

35-Ton Blanking Press

Fathom’s Bliss Press is ideal for mid-level production and is less expensive than tradition high-volume tooling. The bliss press is capable of high speed, rapid blanking and simple, progressive automated die production. Using this press, we can deliver parts in as little as 5 to 6 weeks.

Precision sheet metal 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.

Q: Is Fathom ITAR certified?

A: Yes, Fathom is ITAR certified.

Q: Is Fathom AS9100:2016 certified?

A: Yes, Fathom is AS9100:2016.

Q: Is Fathom NIST 800-171 certified?

A: Yes, Fathom’s certifications include NIST 800-171.

Q: What is precision sheet metal fabrication?

A: Precision sheet metal fabrication utilizes multiple subtractive manufacturing process, using thin metal sheets to make parts.

Q: What are common methods of shaping sheet metal?

A: Common sheet metal manufacturing methods include forming, laser cutting, waterjet cutting, CNC punching and more.

Q: What is the purpose of metal fabrication?

A: The purpose of metal fabrication is to produce parts from sheet metal such as chassis, brackets, and enclosures.

Q: What are the four types of sheet metal fabrication?

A: The four types of sheet metal fabrication are forming, cutting, joining and punching.

How to Get Precision sheet metal fabrication Quotes / /

Ready for a quote or to calculate costs on your precision sheet metal project? Submit your file to Fathom’s SmartQuote application for a fast quote.

Manufacturing Locations Across National Time Zones
Manufacturing Locations Across National Time Zones
The Fathom Advanced Manufacturing Platform
new map update 3
HEADQUARTERS

1050 Walnut Ridge Drive
Hartland, WI 53029
ISO 9001:2015
AS9100:2016
ITAR

ARIZONA

444 W. 21st St. Ste. 101
Tempe, AZ 85282
ISO 9001:2015
NIST800-171 Compliant
ITAR

COLORADO

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

MINNESOTA

13758 Johnson Street NE
Ham Lake, MN 55304

TEXAS

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

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

CALIFORNIA

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

FLORIDA

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


 

NEW YORK

1920 Slaterville Rd
Ithaca, NY 14850
ITAR

401 W. Shore Blvd.
Newark, NY 14513
AS9100:2016
ISO 9001:2015
ITAR

ILLINOIS

1207 Adams Drive
McHenry, IL 60051
ISO 9001:2015

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