Fathom is hiring for multiple positions across our 11 nationwide sites! To see all open positions, click here.

logo fathom

Rapid Sheet Metal

  • Highly Durable Metal Parts
  • Precise Components with Tight Tolerances
  • Variety of Metals & Alloys with Unique Properties
Quotes for 25+ Manufacturing Processes.
Sheet Metal Fabrication Services
Highly Scalable
with Versatile Materials
customer specs icon
Manufactured to
Customer Specs
printer icon
Comprehensive Access to
Equipment & Experience
Rapid Sheet Metal

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

Why You Should Leverage Rapid Sheet Metal Prototyping / /

Using a rapid sheet metal prototype offers many benefits. A prototype can be used as a physical example of a product, making it easier to explain the features and benefits to investors or customers. The model can also be used for the creation of marketing assets, like instruction manuals or ads. Functional prototypes test a design’s form, fit, and function, ensuring the end product works as intended. Being able to test a concept prior to mass production lowers the overall cost by gathering feedback and making necessary changes before a part is made large quantities.

Rapid Sheet Metal Processes / /

Fiber Laser Cutting

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

Water Jet 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. MicroCut’s high-level of accuracy is what facilitates the production of tiny and complex parts.

Wire EDM

The wire EDM process submerges a metal piece into a de-ionized water (dielectric) where a charged thin metal wire uses electrical sparks to melt the material and create 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.


During stamping, a blanked or coiled piece of sheet metal is loaded 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.


The 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 may use photochemical machining, chemical milling or acid etching to make a part. 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

Like prototype etching, production etching uses photochemical machining or chemical milling to create metal 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 to cut material. 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

Computer numerically controlled punching uses a machine that moves metal in a 2-axis direction and positions the raw material beneath a punching ram. The punching ram punches a hole or form in the sheet metal. CNC punch press machines can have one head and tool rail design or a multi-turret design.

Rapid Sheet Metal Services Offered by Fathom / /

Fathom is ready to work on your rapid sheet metal prototype. Our services include laser cutting, water jet cutting, Microcut™, photochemical machining and wire EDM. Finishing and post-processing services are also available including welding, deburring, bead blasting, and more. Rapid sheet metal prototyping 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


  • 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

Rapid Sheet Metal 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

Rapid Sheet Metal Machines Used by Fathom / /

With over 530 machines, Fathom’s manufacturing facilities include mills, lathes, presses, press brakes, turret punches and additive systems. Fathom has equipment dedicated to rapid sheet 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 offers not just rapid sheet metal prototype fabrication but also hybridized services leveraging prototype fabrication. Do you need a rapid sheet metal prototype for your 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 Rapid Sheet Metal Services / /

Fathom is a nationwide network with coverage across the entire United States, including 3 US based locations producing rapid sheet metal parts. Our 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:

7770 Washington Street
Denver, CO 80229
ISO 9001:2015

1920 Slaterville Road
Ithaca, NY 14850

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

Rapid Sheet Metal Cutting Specifications and Tolerances / /

Rapid sheet metal fabrication is a good match for low to high volume projects. Fathom’s rapid sheet metal technology has tolerances of up to 0.0005” depending on the production method used. Geometry, complexity of design and raw materials selected also affect tolerance.

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

Rapid Sheet Metal Materials Selection / /

There are multiple factors to consider when selecting material for your rapid sheet metal part. Matching your project with a material that is durable and efficient is critical. When picking the best raw material, you should also consider how the part is intended to perform. Size and geometry are also important. Lastly, consider any finishing that will be needed to meet the project’s specifications.

Heat Treatable Alloys

For projects that call for stiffness and spring characteristics, there are several factors the design engineer should consider. Parts with small radius forms, high carbon spring steel or another heat treatable metal with good ductility should be used. The part may still require heat treating after forming to achieve stiffness or spring performance characteristics, which adds to the cost of manufacturing. It is important to note that broad flat sections in parts made from high carbon spring steel will warp during heat treating. Where potential warping may be a factor, other alternate materials with a marginally higher cost that maintain stability during heat treating should be considered.

  • 410 Stainless Steel
  • 17-7 PH Stainless Steel, condition A (annealed)
  • C172 Beryllium copper
  • Low Carbon Cold Rolled Steel – carburizing hardens the surface while reducing spring characteristics

Mill Hardened Alloys

A mill-hardened alloy may be used for flat parts or parts with large radius form features. The mill hardened alloy may be selected based on hardness or spring performance characteristics, eliminating the need for heat treating.

Consider the following:

  • 6061 Aluminum in T4 or T6 temper
  • 300 series Stainless Steel in 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or full hard temper
  • 1095 blue temper spring steel
  • C110 Copper and C260 Brass in H04 (hard), H06 (extra hard), H08 (spring temper) and H10 (extra spring temper)
  • C510 Phosphor Bronze in H06 (extra hard), H08 (spring temper) and H10 (extra spring temper) Note that raw material grain impacts forming characteristics in all materials, but more so in mill-hardened alloys.

Rapid Sheet Metal Post Processing & Finishing / /


Fathom’s welding team uses a combination of 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 fabricating program. We can ensure efficiency and great quality for both low and high-volume production runs.


Sanding and grinding services are both offered by Fathom. Grinding removes weld or adds any desired cosmetic surface. Sanding can remove scratches or burrs from parts after laser cutting or punching.

Liquid Painting

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.

Powder Coating

During powder coating, a sheet metal part is coated in a powder which is then cured. The resulting professional finish may be matte, smooth, textured and more. Fathom offers a variety of different powder coating finishes.

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

Our team can perform assembly and kitting in-house. Services include installing hardware, manual or automated process, and more. Fathom will ensure your finished part is to your exact specifications.

Outside Processing

Fathom maintains strategic partnerships that benefit our customers, including key suppliers of heat treating, plating, and powder coating. Our partners were chosen because they can meet our high quality and speed requirements. As part of the Fathom Manufacturing Platform, Fathom has access to a robust nationwide network of comprehensive additive and advanced manufacturing capabilities. Fathom Manufacturing’s extensive certifications include ISO 9001:2015, ISO 9001:2015 Design, ISO 13485:2016, AS9100:2016, NIST 800-171 and ITAR.

Post Machining

Occasionally post CNC machining is required to finish a part. Fathom’s CNC machining centers provide post-mill features on sheet metal components, allowing us to successfully manufacture parts while meeting tight deadlines.

In-house Custom Tooling

Fathom’s team of engineers and master tool makers can develop creative tooling solutions for your quick turn sheet metal parts. We specialize in complex bending and precision and look forward to solving your most challenging design features.

Deburring and Finishing

Fathom understands that attention to detail is critical to manufacturing. 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.

Rapid Sheet Metal Applications / /

Many parts are made using rapid sheet metal technology. Fathom understands the demand for rapid sheet metal services that lower cost and meet deadlines. In some cases, no machining or tooling is needed. By leveraging automated production techniques, Fathom can produce parts quickly and accurately. Some applications of rapid sheet metal manufacturing include:

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

Rapid Sheet Metal 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: Can Fathom offer same day sheet metal?

A: Fathom has 24 hour expedite services.

Q: What is Rapid Production?

A: Rapid production is the quick turnaround of parts.

Q: What is the most widely used rapid prototyping technology?

A: The most used rapid prototyping method is 3D printing.

Q: Why is rapid prototyping needed?

A: Rapid prototyping is necessary because it allows designers to test a concept before moving to full production, allows engineers to look for design flaws, and helps a marketing team to showcase a physical sample while seeking investors.

Q: Is rapid prototyping the same as 3D printing?

A: Rapid prototyping is different from 3D printing. Rapid prototyping is a broad term that includes manufacturing methods use to create a prototype within a short timeframe. 3D printing includes a wide range of manufacturing methods that may/may not be used to create a prototype.

Q: What are the three types of materials in rapid prototyping?

A: The three types of materials used in rapid prototyping include solid sheets, powder-based and molten material.

How to Get Metal Prototype Fabrication Quotes / /

Are you ready for a quote on your rapid sheet metal project? Do you want to calculate costs on your design? Use Fathom’s SmartQuote application for a fast quote.

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

fathom yellow color logo