While employed as a metalworker, there are several different processes of metal fabrication that you are expected to be familiar with. These common techniques are the foundations of metalworking, and one or more will be utilized in just about every job you encounter.
Metal casting involves pouring molten metal into a pre-formed mold and then leaving it out to solidify. The most common metals used in this type of fabrication are iron, gold, magnesium, steel, and silver.
Several advantages come with casting metal; the main benefit is that it can produce complex shapes with relatively minimal effort when compared to other processes. With the ease in creation also comes a simple post-processing job; metals that are cast need very little alterations after they are made. Metal casting is cheaper than most alternatives when you need to produce large quantities of a design.
While the process of casting is inexpensive when produced in large quantities, the initial period of mold patterning can be time-consuming and expensive. Due to the mold itself, there’s a limit to the size of the design and the pattern itself, restricting its applications and capabilities.
One of the most common processes of metal fabrication, shearing, involves long and straight cuts across sheets of metal to trim them down to the specified size. Shearing is best used with softer metals such as brass, bronze, and aluminum.
One of the biggest advantages to metal shearing is that there is nearly no loss of material during the cutting process. Most of the metal can be conserved with virtually none of it going to waste. With the relative simplicity of the process, many sheared metal parts can be produced in a short period of time.
While it can be used on harder metals, the shearing process has a difficult time cutting through those harder metals. If harder metals are cut, it could cause fracturing in the metal itself and cause increased wear and tear on the shearing tool. Sharing may also produce burrs in the metal. It’s important to remove these burrs before the metal can be considered finished.
Welding is the process of joining two metal parts together through the application of heat along the conjoining points of contact.
Because two pieces of metal are being attached to each other, there is no extra material to join them. This reduces costs in manufacturing and can cut down on the weight of the final product. Compared to the alternative of riveting joints together, welding is a far less time-consuming process.
It’s difficult to detect imperfections in the welded joints, such as air bubbles, slag inclusion, and incomplete penetration. The price to properly inspect welding can be costlier than inspecting riveted works. Due to the welding, the joints welded together will be more brittle than the two parent parts that were joined.