Processes Used in Sheet Metal Prototype Fabrication / /
Fiber Laser Cutting
Fiber laser cutting uses a high-power output and high-intensity level, making it a very efficient manufacturing process. Fiber laser cutting uses laser diodes transmitted through optical fibers to create desired cuts. The process also makes less noise while also decreasing any personal risk to the machine operator. There is also the benefit of increased efficiency, accuracy and a lesser heat effected area than traditional CO2 lasers.
Water Jet Cutting
The water jet cutting process 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
Microcut is a very unique technology that is not widely available. Micro water jet cutting is the production of complex, tiny parts. Water jet cutting’s high level of accuracy is what facilitates the manufacturing of parts on a micro level. So if you’re project need micro water jet cutting, then you need our services.
Wire EDM uses electrical currents to cut through raw material. The wire EDM process submerges a metal piece into a dielectric liquid where an electrically charged thin metal wire uses electrical sparks to melt 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 touches the workpiece. The fluid is used to cool, flush excess material and control the spark.
Stamping may include punching, blanking, bending, drawing, embossing and more. 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.
Chemical etching offers a shorter lead time and inexpensive tooling, which make it an ideal process for prototyping. 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.
Like prototype etching, production etching uses photochemical machining or chemical milling to produce 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.
The laser cutting production method uses a high-powered laser beam to cut metal. A gas, liquid, or solid-state laser cutting technique may be utilized. CO2 lasers use a gas state laser using a mix of carbon dioxide to make cuts. Solid state lasers use laser diodes transmitted through optical fibers to create cuts.
CNC punching uses a punch press machine that moves raw material in a 2-axis direction, positioning the workpiece beneath a punching ram. The punching ram punches a hole or form into the sheet metal. CNC punch press machines can have one head and tool rail design or a multi-turret design.
The welding process uses a combination of heat and pressure to join two or more pieces together. Welding services include arc welding, metal inert gas (MIG), tungsten inert gas (TIG), resistance spot welding, laser welding and oxyfuel welding and cutting. Spotwelding may also be used, which uses copper alloy electrodes to direct a welding current.
As part of a complete sheet metal fabrication program, Fathom offers hardware installation services. Our team can ensure efficiency and great quality for low- and high- volume production.
Fathom offers sanding and grinding services. Grinding removes weld or adds any desired cosmetic surface. Sanding removes scratches or burrs from parts after laser cutting or punching.
Liquid painting is a good match for projects that cannot use powder coating. The resulting finish can be corrosion resistant, custom colored and more.
Powder coating coats a metal workpiece in a powder which is then cured. The result of powder coating is a professional grade finish that may be smooth, textured, matte and more. Fathom offers a variety of different powder coating options.
Screen printing can be used to add a custom design to a part. Screen printing can result in various finishes and colors.
Assembly & Kitting
Fathom performs 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.