Processes Used in Quick Turn Sheet Metal Fabricating / /
Fiber Laser Cutting
Fiber laser cutting uses laser diodes transmitted through optical fibers to create desired cuts in the raw material. 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 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. MicroCut’s high-level of accuracy is what allows Fathom to produce tiny and complex parts.
The wire EDM process submerges a metal piece into a dielectric bath where a charged thin metal wire uses electrical sparks to melt the material and make cuts. The spark’s voltage jumps the gap from the wire to the workpiece which causes the material to melt. The metal wire never contacts the workpiece. The dielectric fluid is used to control the sparks, cool and flush 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.
Photochemical machining, chemical milling, or acid etching may all be used during prototype etching. Material is selectively removed by using baths of temperature-controlled etching chemicals. 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.
During laser cutting, a high-powered laser beam is used to cut the workpiece. A gas, liquid, or solid-state laser cutting technique may be used. 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 machines move raw material in a 2-axis direction, positioning it beneath a punching ram. While under the punching ram, a hole or form is punched into the sheet metal. 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.
As part of Fathom’s complete sheet metal fabrication program, we offer hardware installation services. Whether a project calls for a low or high volume of parts, Fathom can ensure great quality and efficiency.
Fathom offers sanding and grinding services. Grinding adds any desired cosmetic surface and can also remove weld. Sanding deburrs and removes scratches from parts after they have been punched or laser cut.
Liquid painting is a finishing process suitable for projects where powder coating cannot be used. Liquid painting can result in a professional finish, corrosion resistance, custom colors and more.
The sheet metal part 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 a variety of different 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
Assembly and kitting can be performed in-house by the Fathom team. Services include hardware installation, manual or automated processes and more. Fathom will ensure your finished part meets your exact specifications.