The global metal fabrication market reached a value of $20 billion in 2021.
Modern technology gives us a huge amount of flexibility when carrying out projects. We're no longer in a position of wondering what materials will suffice for a certain job, and are instead able to pick the perfect material based on the application. Using custom metal allows people to meet very precise needs, ensuring a project is completed to the best standard possible.
To find out more about choosing the best custom metal for a project, keep reading.
What Is Custom Metal Fabrication?
Metal fabrication is the process of turning raw materials into useful metal products. Custom metal parts are ones that aren't generally stocked but are made to meet your exact specifications. There's a range of techniques used to fabricate metal parts, such as:
Custom metal fabrication tends to cost more than just purchasing standard parts, so it's generally done when a project requires very specific components.
Different Custom Metals Available
When purchasing custom metal parts you have a range of metals to choose from. These offer different properties, so it's important to consider your options to determine which is best for your project.
Steel is one of the most widely used materials on the planet. It's an alloy of iron and carbon, and other elements are sometimes added to give it specific characteristics.
Steel is very strong and usually non-magnetic. The steel products made by Metal Pros are generally A513 or A500 steel, depending on the part.
Stainless steel has a chromium content of at least 10.5% along with some other elements such as nickel, chromium, and nitrogen. These added elements make stainless steel resistant to corrosion and oxidization.
Stainless steel can be magnetic, and the chromium produces its distinct luster.
Aluminum isn't as strong as steel, but it's more malleable and elastic, so forming parts is much easier. This means more intricate parts can be made from aluminum.
It's very lightweight, with steel being about 2.5 times as dense. Aluminum is also naturally resistant to corrosion without the need for any extra treatment.
Metal Pros stock a wide range of shapes in various metals. These cover some of the most common shapes used in the industry:
- Flat bar
- Rectangular tube
- Square tube
- Round bar
- Square Bar
All of these are available in various dimensions and we regularly stock most parts from a length of 2 feet to 20 feet.
These common parts are ideal for many applications, but sometimes people have projects with very specific requirements. If that's the case, we're able to custom fabricate parts to meet your exact specifications based on shape, size, material, type, quantity, etc. Our skilled technicians and efficient processes allow for some of the highest quality parts available.
Properties to Consider
When making decisions about the parts for your project, there are several things you should take into account. The need for certain characteristics will determine the materials you need to use.
The tensile strength of a material determines how much tensile (pulling) force it can withstand before breaking. High tensile strength means it can handle a greater force.
Weldability is simply how easy it is to weld materials to other similar materials. Good weldability means it's easy to join two parts together with a strong bond.
Machinability is a very important factor when looking at custom metal parts. A material's machinability is how easy it is to cut or shape while maintaining quality. All custom parts will be machined to some degree, so the more machinable the chosen material is, the better the finished product will be.
This is more of a factor when a part needs to go through multiple fabrication processes.
Ductility and Formability
Ductility is a measurement of how much force a material can experience before it fractures. This is in terms of elongation, compression, and torsion. This ties to the formability of the material.
Formability is how easily the metal can be formed into the desired shape. Generally, a more ductile metal is also more formable.
Heat resistance is how well a metal can handle extreme temperatures without being affected. This generally refers to high temperatures but also applies to low temperatures.
As metal heats, it expands. When enough heat is applied it will melt. If your project will involve high temperatures then you should go for a material with good heat resistance.
Moisture causes metal to corrode, so if a part will be exposed to moisture then you want it to be corrosion resistant. Aluminum and stainless steel are both corrosion resistant. Carbon steel is not, but can still be used in such environments if it has a protective coating applied.
These coatings can wear down with time, so just bear that in mind if you go with this option.
This can be an important factor for any job. When having custom parts made the price can vary quite a lot depending on the part. While materials have different prices on their own, the final cost will also depend on the processes used.
If something only requires one or two fabrication processes it will likely cost less than a part that needs several. The number of parts ordered will also affect the final price - bulk orders are more cost-efficient than ordering just a single part.
How to Choose the Right Metal Provider
Metal Pros is a leading custom metal fabricator offering a wide range of parts with the capability of fabricating products to meet your exact specifications. We also offer a range of accessories such as nails, grinding discs, coatings, and PPE.
If you have any questions about what we offer click here to contact us today.