Metal Fabrication Process

Fabrication refers to building metal structures by cutting, bending, and assembling. The cutting part of fabrication is via sawing, shearing, or chiseling (all with manual and powered variants), torching with handheld torches (such as oxy-fuel torches or plasma torches) and via CNC cutters (using a laser, torch, or water jet).

The bending is performed via hammering (manual or powered) or via press brakes and similar tools. The assembling (joining of the pieces) is via welding, binding with adhesives, riveting, threaded fasteners, or even more bending in the form of a crimped seam. Structural steel and sheet metal are the usual starting materials for fabrication, along with the welding wire, flux, and fasteners that will join the cut pieces. As with other manufacturing processes, both human labor and automation are commonly used. The product resulting from the process of fabrication may be called a fabrication. Shops that specialize in this type of metal work are called fab shops. The end products of other common types of metalworking, such as machining, metal stamping, forging, and casting, may be similar in shape and function, but those processes are not classified as fabrication.

Metal fabrication

Metal fabrication is a process that involves the construction of machines and structures from various raw materials. A fab shop will bid on a job, usually based on the engineering drawings, and if awarded the contract will build the product.

Fabrication shops are employed by contractors, OEMs and VARs. Typical projects include; loose parts, structural frames for buildings and heavy equipment, and hand railings and stairs for buildings.

The fabricator may employ or contract out steel detailers to prepare shop drawings, if not provided by the customer, which the fabricating shop will use for manufacturing. Manufacturing engineers will program CNC machines as needed.

Raw materials

Standard raw materials used by metal fabricators are:
  • plate metal
  • formed and expanded metal
    • tube stock, CDSM
    • square stock
    • sectional metals (I beams, W beams, C-channel...)
  • welding wire
  • hardware
  • castings
  • fittings


Please contact us to get more information.