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Six basic technical steps of sheet metal processing and Selection of metal materials

Sheet metal manufacturing refers to a process technology that processes flat metal sheets into various structures, parts and metal products. Typically, the technology involves converting different types of sheet metal into parts and assemblies. It is also a versatile process that can create a variety of metal parts made from aluminum, steel, stainless steel, copper and brass.

Sheet metal processing is an important manufacturing process that involves the shaping and manipulation of thin sheets of metal to create a variety of products and components. Sheet metal processing is a versatile and widely used technology in industries such as automotive, aerospace, construction and manufacturing. The main goal of sheet metal processing is to create precise and durable metal parts with complex geometries.

Basic technical steps process of sheet metal processing

Each part must go through the necessary metal fabrication processes to bring the designs to three-dimensional, functional components.

In sheet metal processing, different techniques are usually combined to produce the desired part. The basic processes include cutting, bending, punching, stamping, welding, and finishing.

These techniques complement each other and play a vital role in the successful completion of a project. This is a testament to the durability, versatility, and ubiquity of metal manufacturing.

Sheet metal process encompasses several fundamental processes that are essential to shaping and forming metal sheets. These processes can be categorized as follows:


Cutting is typically the first step in sheet metal manufacturing. It involves using specialized tools, such as shears or laser cutters, to cut the metal sheet into the desired shape.

where large metal sheets are divided into smaller, more manageable pieces. There are various cutting methods, including:

  • Shearing: This process involves using straight blades to cut straight lines in the metal sheet.
  • Laser Cutting: Laser beams are employed to melt or vaporize the metal along predetermined paths, resulting in precise cuts.
  • Plasma Cutting: A high-temperature plasma torch is used to cut through metal sheets, especially useful for thicker materials.


Bending is the process of shaping sheet metal by applying force to create angles or curves. This is typically achieved through the use of specialized machinery, such as press brakes. Bending is crucial for creating the desired form and structure of the final product.

Bending can create a wide range of shapes and angles, from simple bends to complex shapes that require multiple bends. The process involves using a press brake machine to bend the metal sheet into a desired angle or shape.


Punching is a valuable technique for a wide range of metal sheets. During the punching process, fabricators press the punch through the metal sheet, creating a hole in the desired shape and size. And position the die underneath the metal sheet to collect the scrap material created from the hole. In addition to creating holes, punching can also make indentations in the metal sheet, and create features such as dimples or countersinks.


Welding is an essential process in sheet metal process that involves joining metal pieces together to create a single part. There are various welding techniques available, including stick welding, MIG, and TIG welding.

Although the welding techniques differ in their approach, they all serve the same purpose of joining metal pieces together by melting the edges of the parts and adding filler material. This process creates a metallurgical bond between the pieces, fusing them together strongly. Welding is only necessary, of course, if a product comes with two or more separate components.


Forming involves shaping sheet metal into three-dimensional objects or components. This can be done through processes like stamping, where metal is pressed into a die to create specific shapes and features.


In sheet metal fabrication, assembly refers to the process of putting together various components to create a final product. It involves fastening, attaching, and integrating different parts to ensure they function as a cohesive unit.

Assembling is the final step of the metal fabrication process that enables the creation of complex metal structures and components. By using the right methods and techniques, sheet metal fabricators can create high-quality products that meet all required specifications and standards.

Various methods, including mechanical fastening, welding, and adhesive bonding, can accomplish the assembly. Mechanical fastening uses bolts, screws, or other fasteners to secure the metal parts together. Welding creates a permanent bond between the parts, ensuring that the final product is strong and durable. Adhesive bonding is suitable for both temporary and permanent assemblies and is often used for creating lightweight structures or for applications where welding is not feasible.

Assembly can be a complex process that requires a high degree of skill and expertise. It is critical to assemble all parts correctly and securely to avoid any issues with the final product.

Three basic methods and applications of forming processes in sheet metal process
Sheet metal processing

Selection of five different metal materials in sheet metal manufacturing

Choosing the right material is a critical aspect of the fabrication process, as it can impact the final product’s quality, durability, and performance. With a wide range of materials available, each with its unique properties and advantages, selecting the right material can be a daunting task. This section provides insights into some of the most common materials for metal parts.

Stainless Steel – There are several stainless steel types that you can choose from. They can be austenitic stainless steel. These are non-magnetic metals with high nickel and chromium levels. They are widely used due to their resistance to corrosion and formability. Ferritic stainless, on the other hand, is magnetic. They are good for non-structural or decorative applications. Martensitic stainless also gives strong and corrosion-resistant products.

  1. Hot Rolled Steel – A type of steel produced when a series of roll processes (at over 1700 degrees Fahrenheit) create steel. You can easily form such steels into large pieces due to their flexibility.
  2. Cold Rolled Steel – This is essentially hot-rolled steel with further processing. They are smoother and come with better tolerances.
  3. Pre-Plated Steel – These are also referred to as galvanized sheet metal materials. They come with a protective coating to prevent them from rusting. They also support easy sheet metal processing methods due to increased ductility.
  4. Aluminum – Another popular choice for the manufacturing sectors. It comes with an excellent strength-to-weight ratio. It also comes with many characteristics that help it meet many application requirements.
  5. Copper/Brass – Working on brass is easy, thanks to its lower zinc content. Copper metals also come with protective oxide layers to prevent corrosion. Both materials are desirable in architectural products for aesthetically pleasing looks.

Five major choices for surface treatment in sheet metal processing and manufacturing

Right surface finishing can greatly enhance the final product’s appearance, durability, and functionality. Whether you are looking to enhance the appearance of your product or improve its performance, understanding the various metal surface finishing options available is essential to achieving your desired results.

  1. Sand Blasting – This method involves the shooting of sand or other abrasives against sheet metal at high speed. Thus, it gives the metal parts a matte texture to prepare it for coating.
  2. Buff Polishing – In this method, a cloth wheel is used to buff the metal surface, making it look shiny.
  3. Powder Coating – This involves the direct spraying of powdered paint onto the metal part. This is followed by baking the part in an oven to form a wear-resistant layer.
  4. Anodizing – Anodizing helps to give a component with excellent rust resistance properties. It also improves the hardness and durability of the surface.
  5. Chemical Films – These are finishes that provide good conductivity and corrosion resistance. This coating process best serves as a base for paint, and it gives a golden surface finish.


Sheet metal fabrication is a versatile and essential manufacturing process that underpins many industries. By understanding the basic technical processes involved, the role of materials, and its various applications, we gain a deeper appreciation for the significance of sheet metal processing in our daily lives. Whether in the construction of automobiles, airplanes, or electronic devices, sheet metal processing continues to shape the world around us with its precision and versatility.