Turning metal from a plain sheet to a beautiful product takes a lot of work
This comprehensive process offers a striking result
Metal has progressed from being used to hold up beams during construction to becoming a source of modern and sleek beauty to add to any building. However, how is cold, hard metal turned into an aesthetically pleasing piece of architecture?
Cutting Metal to Size
Metal fabrication is basically the comprehensive and mechanised process of turning metal into different functioning products.
The raw material comes to the factory and first needs to be cut and resized so that it’s easier to work with. It’s cut by a process known as shearing. Band saws with hard blades are used to cut the metal. Chop saws, with their abrasive cutting disks, easily slice through the metal. Cutting torches can also be used as they have the ability to cut huge pieces of steel with minimal effort.
The sheet is placed on a burn table and the specified parts are then cut out. Some of these tables also have built-in punches or needles to perforate the sheet metal as it is being cut.
Forming the Metal
The second part of the process is known as forming. As the name suggests, it details the procedure of turning the already-cut sheet metal into an actual product. What’s important to note, is that the product is formed by directly applying a huge amount of force onto the product, and not by adding or removing any additional metal. Different types of machines are used to regulate this force to ensure that the correct pressure is being applied.
Shaping the Metal
Next comes machining. Using magnetic-based drills or metal lathes, the formed product is reworked to attain the desired shape. There are a variety of tools used in each process, with some procedures being completely computerised.
Welding the Metal
The fourth, and arguably most important, step in the overall process is welding. If there is more than one metal component on a product, it needs to be welded together using intense heat. This is the trickiest part of the fabrication process, as too much heat will warp the metal and too little heat will not make the metal pliable enough. If the metal is somehow warped, an oxy-acetylene torch can be used to rectify it. The product is checked for accuracy once it’s been welded.
Assembling the Final Product
The last step is the final assembly. Once the welded products have cooled, they are usually sandblasted and primed. Depending on the requirements, they could also be painted. After a final inspection, the completed product is ready to be used.
Completed products include balustrades, staircases, handrails and sun shades. Architectural metalworks can be as ornate or as simple as the client requires. The advantages of using metal include durability and low maintenance. Because it’s sleek, modern and extremely versatile, it will instantly update any space.