Metal Fabrication

Metal Fabrication Manufacturing

Introduction to Metal Fabrication Manufacturing

Mankind has evolved due to the discovery of metal and the possibility of manufacturing it. Different historical eras are named after the material that mankind has learned to manufacture, and the Bronze and Iron Age eras are among the most important ones. The discovery of metal manufacturing is what has led to immense progress and is behind most of today's inventions and facilities. Just try to think of something that you use today that does not use metal… it might take a while.

Metal Fabrication Manufacturing

How Metal Fabrication Manufacturing Happens

While nature offers us plenty of sources for metal, it can hardly ever be found in a form in which we actually use it. Metal is usually found in ore, which is a rock that includes a combination between the metal and other materials. The first step in the process of metal fabrication (after discovering the areas which include the ore) involves extracting the rock.

The second step involves separating the metal from the rock. This process can be easier or more difficult, depending on the metal that we are trying to extract - it is much more difficult to extract a metal from its ore when it has a high oxidation potential. Iron is among the common metals with the highest oxidation potential. Other metals that are more easily separated from their ore include copper, mercury, silver and gold.

Final Steps of Metal Fabrication Manufacturing

What happens after the metal is separated from the ore depends very much of the final purpose attached to the metal fabrication process. The metal can be either melted into sheet metal, after which it is distributed throughout various metalworking places which turn it into the final product or using markers it can be transformed directly into the final product.

The metal's final form is achieved through casting. Casting involves melting the metal and pouring it into the desired form. There are many types of casting, including:

  • Investment casting - Also called lost-wax casting, one of the oldest casting methods, it involves using a wax pattern that is assembled into a ceramic mould (through the process named investment), that is de-waxed and placed into a sand tub after which the metal is poured.
  • Centrifugal casting - Commonly used in the case of thin-walled cylinders, it is one of the methods that bring out the best quality metal fabrication results. Normally, the centrifugal casting is used to create stock materials in a particular standard size, which are later used to create the end-result.
  • Die casting - This is a process that places the molten metal under high pressure and then forces it into a mould cavity. A hot chamber or a colder chamber is used to mould the metal into the desired shape (the type of chamber is chosen based on the metal that is being cast).
  • Sand casting - This is a casting method that uses sand as the material that is used for the moulding. It is one of the more economical casting methods.
  • Other methods that are commonly used include shell casting (uses sand covered in resin to create the mould) and spin casting (also known as centrifugal rubber mould casting which, as the name says uses rubber moulds created with the help of the centrifugal force).
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