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