Processes Used in Sheet Metal Prototyping / /
Fiber Laser Cutting
Fiber laser cutting uses laser diodes transmitted through optical fibers to create desired cuts. 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.
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 allows for the production of tiny and complex parts.
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 slit to width 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.