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Most Useful Tools of Sheet Metal Fabrication



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Services & Tech >> Most Useful Tools of Sheet Metal Fabrication
The Most Useful Toosl of Sheet Metal Fabrication
Sheet metal fabrication requires many manual and power tools to perform common sheet metal processes, including bending, cutting, forming, and shearing.
Here are the tools necessary for bending, cutting, forming, and shearing.
Bending is a sheet metal technique that’s done by hammering or via press brakes. Press brakes are the primary sheet metal tool for this technique. It’s a machine pressing tool for bending sheet and plate material. It forms predetermined bends by clamping the material between a matching punch and die. To supplement press brakes in the bending process, the following sheet metal tools are necessary in fab shops:
Bench Top Budget Brakes. This is a wide bench top with a fixed lower beam and variable upper beam. When bending aluminum, the upper beam creates a radius.
Bracket Makers. Various shaped sheet metal brackets have respective specifications. The 90-degree tools and radius tools of bracket makers are very helpful in brackets formation.
Cutting is a sheet metal fabrication process that’s done by sawing, shearing, or chiseling with manual and power tools. Cutting is also done by torching with hand-held plasma torches using computer numerical computer (CNC) cutters. Popular CNC cutters include lasers. For manual cutting tools, metal nibblers are a great option.
According to Popular Mechanics, metal nibblers are a valuable “tool in the metalworking trade. Nibblers are effective at cutting shapes in steel and can be used as a standalone tool, a drill attachment, or an air nibbler.”
In general, forming is a sheet metal fabrication technique that shapes sheet metal. For example, roll forming is a constant bending process in which sheet metal, coil, bar, or strips of metal pass through rolls that form the metal.
Another example of forming is hydroforming. This forming and fabricating process uses a specialized type of die molding. This die molding utilizes highly pressurized fluid to shape metals like steel, stainless steel, copper, aluminum, and brass.
For other forming techniques, shrinker stretchers are a necessary sheet metal tool. Shrinker stretchers form sheet metal without the need of heating, cutting, or welding. This tool allows smooth radius curves, especially inside curves, to form on a sheet metal project.
Also known as die cutting, shearing is a sheet metal technique that cuts metal pieces without the formation of chips or the use of burning or melting.
In general, throatless shears achieve straight, curved, or irregular cuts on a sheet metal project. Throatless shears have a trio of holes for simple mounting and features a tall handle. This tall handle gives fabricators the leverage necessary to cut stainless or mild steel and aluminum.
For shearing, the following duo of shears are necessary in fab shops:
Throatless Hand Shears. Throatless hand shears feature a heavy steel frame and have a throatless design. This handheld sheet metal tool allows fabricators to cut with ease, thanks to an arched top blade.
Throatless Rotary Shears. Much more flexible than throatless hand shears, this sheet metal tool allows fabricators to cut any shape. Along with the forged steel frame, throatless rotary shears feature an adjustable cutter and a ratcheting head.
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