Sheet Metal

Parts made with sheet metal are highly heat resistant and offer a wide variety of applications. From airplane wings to RF shields, Fast Radius can help you produce high-quality applications with sheet metal.

Producing parts with Sheet metal

Cutting and bending

Includes 90% of all sheet metal manufacturing and involves cutting the sheet with a laser, bending with a press brake, and finishing as needed.

Stamping

Refers to a number of operations, including bending, blanking, coining, embossing, and punching.

Roll forming

Ideal for creating longer pieces of sheet metal with complex cross-sections, offering high production rates and good surface finish.

Stretch forming

Suitable for low-quantity production of large parts with shallow contours.

Drawing

Produce shallow or deep parts with relatively simple shapes at a high production rate.

Spinning

Utilized to produce axisymmetric parts of all sizes with good surface finishes.

Rubber-pad forming

Produces sheet metal that is protected by rubber membranes and is most commonly used to draw and emboss simple or complex shapes.

Superplastic forming

Can produce complex shapes with fine details.

Peen forming

Most suitable for large sheets with shallow contours.

Explosive forming

Typically used to produce very large pieces of sheet metal with relatively complex shapes

Magnetic pulse forming

Works best for shallow forming, bulging, and embossing operations, particularly on sheets made of more malleable metal.

Galvanized steel

Coated with a thin layer of zinc to guard against corrosion and stands up well against water exposure. Galvanized steel can be further divided into electro-galvanized sheets or hot-dipped metallic-coated sheets. Electro-galvanized sheets have a smoother appearance, but hot-dipped sheets are more resistant to corrosion. All galvanized steel is susceptible to corrosion via saltwater.

Stainless steel

Produced by adding chromium to molten steel, stainless steel tends to be stronger than galvanized steel. It is also rust-resistant and can be safely exposed to saltwater, which, combined with its mechanical strength, makes it a leading pick for construction projects.

Alloys

Stainless 301, 303, 304, 316, Steel 1018, A36, Low Carbon, Aluminum 5052, 3003, 2024

FINISHING/POST-PROCESSING OPTIONS

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Sand blasting

Involves shooting jets of an abrasive material at the metal to clean the surface and is often used as a preliminary step to remove impurities prior to painting or additional treatment.

Brushing

Uses abrasive brushes to clean and score a metal surface. It can serve as a final finish, and it’s commonly used to finish appliances.

Polishing

Creates a smooth, glossy surface and can be used either as a final finish or as a preliminary step before other finishing processes.

Powder coating

Involves applying a dry powder to the surface and then curing it with heat, resulting in a durable surface.

Plating

Can be done electrolytically or electroless to inhibit corrosion, harden a surface, reduce friction, and prevent wear.

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Common Sheet MEtal Applications

Sheet metal can be made from almost any kind of metal, but the most common materials are galvanized steel and stainless steel. Common applications include:

Consumer-facing products

Cabinetry, walls, and roofing.

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Aerospace

Airplane wings and other aerospace parts.

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Automotive

Automobile bodies and other automotive parts.

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Sheet Metal advantages and challenges

ADVANTAGES

  • Versatile
  • Durable
  • Inexpensive
  • Scalable

CHALLENGES

  • Requires specific design for manufacturing expertise
  • Difficult to make adjustments late in the design process
  • Thickness requirements

Sheet Metal resources

Learn more about the sheet metal services we offer at the Fast Radius resource center.

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