Ever wondered how skyscrapers stand tall or cars drive smoothly? The secret lies in the meticulous art of welding and the intricate process of metal fabrication. While welding focuses on fusing metals, metal fabrication encompasses cutting, shaping, and assembling them into sturdy structures. 

What is Welding?

Welding is the process of joining two pieces of metal by melting them together, sometimes with a filler material, to create a strong bond. This technique is essential in various industries, ensuring the integrity and durability of metal structures.

How the Welding Process Works

Welding involves heating the metal surfaces to their melting point, creating a molten pool where the metals fuse. Depending on the technique, a filler material might be added to enhance the joint’s strength. As the weld cools, it forms a robust connection often as strong as the base metals.

Types of Welding

  1. Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW): This method uses a consumable electrode coated in flux to lay the weld. It’s versatile and effective for welding different metals under various conditions.
  2. Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW/MIG): Employs a continuous wire feed as an electrode and uses inert gas to shield the weld, making it ideal for non-ferrous metals.
  3. Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW/TIG): Utilizes a non-consumable tungsten electrode and often a separate filler metal, providing precise control and high-quality welds.
  4. Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW): Similar to MIG welding but uses a tubular wire filled with flux, suitable for outdoor welding due to its tolerance to windy conditions.
  5. Submerged Arc Welding (SAW): Uses a continuously fed consumable electrode and a blanket of flux to prevent contamination, commonly used for thick steel sheets​​.

Welding up close

Applications of Welding

Welding is crucial in industries such as construction, automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing. It’s used to build everything from bridges and skyscrapers to car bodies and aircraft components. The strength and durability of welded joints make them ideal for high-stress applications.

Tools and Equipment for Welding

Welding requires specialized tools including welding machines, electrodes, and protective gear such as helmets and gloves. Different welding techniques demand specific equipment, but safety remains a constant priority.

Challenges in Welding

Welding poses challenges like controlling heat and material properties to avoid defects such as cracks and porosity. Additionally, welding in harsh environments or on challenging materials adds complexity to the task.

What is Metal Fabrication?

Metal fabrication involves creating metal structures by cutting, bending, and assembling metal components. Fabricators transform raw materials into finished products, encompassing a broader scope than welding.

How the Metal Fabrication Process Works

The metal fabrication process starts with design and planning. Once a design is finalized, the raw materials are cut to size using methods like shearing, sawing, or laser cutting. The next step involves bending the cut pieces into desired shapes using press brakes or other bending equipment. Finally, the pieces are assembled and joined using welding, bolting, riveting, or adhesives to create the final product.

Cutting Techniques in Metal Fabrication

  • Shearing: A method of cutting metal by applying a great shearing force.
  • Laser Cutting: Uses a laser to cut materials, offering high precision and the ability to cut intricate shapes.
  • Plasma Cutting: Involves cutting through electrically conductive materials using an accelerated jet of hot plasma.

Bending and Forming

Bending involves deforming the metal without removing material. This can be achieved through press brakes, roll bending, and other machinery designed to handle various thicknesses and types of metal.

Assembling and Joining

Assembly involves putting together the cut and bent components. Joining can be accomplished through welding, but also through other methods such as bolting, riveting, or using adhesives, depending on the requirements of the project.

Tools and Equipment for Metal Fabrication

Fabricators use a wide range of tools, including cutting torches, hydraulic presses, and CNC machines. Each tool serves a specific purpose in the fabrication process, ensuring precision and efficiency​.

Welding vs. Fabrication: Overlapping Roles and Distinctions

While welding is a critical component of metal fabrication, not all welders are fabricators, and not all fabricators are welders. Fabricators often need welding skills, but their role encompasses a broader range of activities including design, cutting, and assembly.

Skill Sets and Training

Welders focus on mastering various welding techniques and understanding material properties. Fabricators require a broader skill set, including proficiency in cutting, bending, and assembling metal components. Both roles demand precision and a keen eye for detail.

Career Pathways

Welders and fabricators can pursue various career paths, from working in industrial settings to specializing in artistic metalwork. Certification programs and apprenticeships provide essential training and open doors to advanced opportunities in the field.


Welding and metal fabrication are indispensable processes in the metalworking industry, each with its unique functions and challenges. Welding focuses on joining metals, while fabrication involves transforming raw materials into finished products. Both require specialized skills and tools, and together, they form the backbone of modern manufacturing and construction.

Understanding the difference between welding and fabrication not only clarifies the roles of professionals in the field but also highlights the intricate artistry and technical expertise involved in shaping the metal structures that support and enhance our daily lives.

Do You Need A Metal Fabrication or Welding Project Done? If You Can Dream it, We Can Customize it.

Sheet metal fabrication is a cornerstone of modern manufacturing, crucial to various industries from automotive to aerospace. This intricate process transforms flat sheets of metal into diverse shapes and structures, utilizing specialized tools and techniques.

The Basics of Sheet Metal Fabrication

Sheet metal fabrication is the process of forming, cutting, and assembling metal sheets into functional products. It involves several stages including cutting, bending, and joining. The versatility of sheet metal allows for the creation of a wide range of products, from small components to large structures.

The Sheet Metal Fabrication Process

Design and Prototyping

The journey begins with design and prototyping. Engineers use CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software such as Solidworks or Catia to create detailed blueprints and technical drawings. This ensures precision and feasibility before moving to production.

Cutting Techniques

Cutting is the first major step in the fabrication process. Various cutting methods are employed depending on the material and required precision:

  • Laser Cutting: Utilizes a high-powered laser to melt and vaporize the metal, offering high precision and clean edges. It’s ideal for intricate designs and tight tolerances​.
  • Waterjet Cutting: Uses a high-pressure stream of water mixed with an abrasive substance to cut through metal. This method is versatile and can handle various materials and thicknesses without introducing heat, which can distort the material​.
  • Plasma Cutting: Involves ionized gas to heat and cut through the metal. It’s faster than other methods and suitable for thicker materials, though it may introduce some heat-affected zones​​.

Sheet Metal Fabrication

Forming and Bending

Once cut, the metal is formed and bent into shape. This is achieved through several methods:

  • Brake Pressing: A manual process using a clamping bar and plate to bend the metal, suitable for small-scale production and prototyping​.
  • Roll Bending: Similar to brake pressing but used to create cylindrical or conical shapes​.
  • Press Brake Bending: Utilizes hydraulic machines with punches and dies for precision bending, suitable for sheets up to 6mm thick.

Joining Techniques

Assembling the cut and formed metal pieces into a final product involves various joining methods:

  • Fasteners: Includes screws, rivets, and bolts which provide secure and removable connections.
  • Welding: Melts the metal surfaces to fuse them together, creating strong, permanent bonds. Common welding techniques include MIG, TIG, and spot welding.
  • Adhesive Bonding: Uses specialized adhesives to join parts, offering weight reduction and improved aesthetics​​.

Finishing Techniques

Finishing enhances the appearance, durability, and functionality of the final product:

  • Painting: Provides a protective layer and allows for customization through various colors and finishes​.
  • Powder Coating: Involves applying a dry powder that is cured to form a durable, attractive finish​.
  • Anodizing: An electrochemical process that creates a protective oxide layer on the metal surface, enhancing corrosion resistance and providing a decorative finish​.

Types of Sheet Metal

Sheet metal comes in various types, each with unique properties suited to different applications:

  • Steel: Known for its strength and durability, it is commonly used in construction and automotive industries.
  • Aluminum: Lightweight and corrosion-resistant, ideal for aerospace and marine applications.
  • Stainless Steel: Offers excellent resistance to corrosion and staining, used in kitchen appliances and medical devices.
  • Copper: Valued for its excellent electrical conductivity, it is commonly used in electrical and roofing applications​.

Sheet Metal Fabrication Steamy

Common Applications of Sheet Metal Fabrication

Sheet metal fabrication finds its place in countless applications across various industries. Here are some of the most common uses:

Automotive Industry

Sheet metal is extensively used in the automotive industry to create body panels, chassis, and other structural components. Its durability and formability make it an ideal material for this purpose.

Aerospace Industry

In the aerospace sector, sheet metal is used to manufacture aircraft components, including fuselage panels, wings, and engine parts. The lightweight nature of materials like aluminum is particularly advantageous here.

Construction Industry

From HVAC systems to roofing and structural components, sheet metal plays a crucial role in the construction industry. Its versatility and strength are key factors in its widespread use.

Electronics and Electrical Industry

Sheet metal is used to create enclosures, brackets, and other components in the electronics and electrical industry. Copper, in particular, is prized for its excellent conductivity.

Benefits and Limitations of Sheet Metal Fabrication

Sheet metal fabrication offers numerous benefits but also comes with some limitations.


  • Versatility: Sheet metal can be cut, bent, and shaped into virtually any form.
  • Durability: Products made from sheet metal are often strong and long-lasting.
  • Precision: Advanced tools and techniques allow for high levels of accuracy.


  • Cost: The initial setup and tooling can be expensive.
  • Complexity: Some designs may be challenging to achieve.
  • Material Limitations: Not all metals are suitable for all applications.

Key Tools in Sheet Metal Fabrication

Various tools are used in the sheet metal fabrication process, each serving a specific purpose. Key tools include:

Press Brakes

Used for bending sheet metal into precise angles, press brakes are essential for creating complex shapes.


These tools are used for cutting sheet metal into smaller pieces. They come in various forms, from manual to hydraulic shears.

Laser Cutters

Laser cutters offer high precision and can cut through various thicknesses of sheet metal with ease.

Welding Equipment

Welding equipment is used to join pieces of metal together. Various welding techniques, such as MIG, TIG, and spot welding, are employed depending on the material and application.

Welding Equipment


Sheet metal fabrication is a dynamic and essential process in modern manufacturing. Combining precision, versatility, and strength, it enables the production of a wide range of products used in diverse industries. Understanding the intricacies of this process is crucial for anyone involved in manufacturing and engineering. By mastering the techniques and tools of sheet metal fabrication, manufacturers can continue to innovate and create high-quality products that meet the evolving needs of various sectors.

For more detailed information on sheet metal fabrication, refer to our website or contact us below.

How can we make your next project high-quality, efficient and customized to meet your needs?

Metal fabrication is a comprehensive process that involves transforming raw metal materials into finished products. This process includes several techniques such as cutting, bending, and assembling, and is essential across various industries. Understanding the nuances of metal fabrication can help appreciate its significance in modern manufacturing and construction.

As the backbone of manufacturing and construction, metal fabrication’s significance cannot be overstated. This process ensures that structures are safe, durable, and capable of withstanding various stresses and environmental conditions. From towering skyscrapers to delicate medical devices, the precision and expertise involved in metal fabrication are what bring these structures to life.

Understanding Metal Fabrication

Metal Fabrication Definition: Metal fabrication is the act of constructing machines and structures from raw metal materials. This process encompasses various techniques including cutting, bending, and assembling, often facilitated by advanced machinery and skilled labor.

Types of Metal Fabrication Processes

  1. Cutting: This fundamental process involves slicing metal sheets into desired shapes and sizes. Traditional methods like sawing have evolved into modern techniques such as laser cutting, waterjet cutting, and plasma arc cutting, which offer precision and efficiency​.
  2. Drawing: Drawing involves pulling metal through a die to reduce its diameter, often used to create wires. This can be done at room temperature (cold drawing) or at elevated temperatures to ease the process.
  3. Folding: Folding manipulates metal to bend at specific angles, commonly using a brake press. This process is crucial for shaping sheet metal into desired forms​.
  4. Forging: One of the oldest fabrication techniques, forging shapes metal using compressive forces. This can be done at various temperatures, including cold, warm, and hot forging, depending on the metal and desired properties​.
  5. Extrusion: This process forces metal through a die to create objects with a fixed cross-sectional profile, such as pipes and tubes. Extrusion can be performed hot or cold, each method suited to different metals and end uses​.
  6. Casting: Metal casting involves pouring molten metal into a mold to achieve a specific shape. This versatile process is ideal for creating complex geometries and is widely used in manufacturing​.
  7. Welding: Welding joins two metal pieces by melting their edges and fusing them together. Various welding techniques, such as arc welding and gas tungsten arc welding, are employed based on the material and application.
  8. Stamping: Stamping involves placing metal sheets between dies and applying high pressure to shape the metal. This process combines punching, bending, and other operations to form parts with precision​.

Each of these processes plays a crucial role in metal fabrication. Cutting is often the first step, creating manageable pieces from large sheets or bars of metal. Bending follows, shaping these pieces into forms that can be assembled into more complex structures. Welding ensures these parts are securely joined, while machining refines the shapes and dimensions. Finally, assembling brings all the parts together into a cohesive whole.

Metal Fabrication

Structural Metal Fabrication

Structural metal fabrication focuses on creating components for buildings and other large structures. This includes beams, columns, and girders that form the backbone of construction projects. The strength and durability of these fabricated pieces are crucial for the safety and integrity of the structures they support.

In structural metal fabrication, precision and strength are paramount. Beams and columns must be capable of supporting immense loads, often under challenging conditions. The fabrication process involves stringent quality control measures to ensure that every piece meets the necessary standards. This includes rigorous testing for strength, durability, and resistance to environmental factors such as corrosion.

Commercial Metal Fabrication

Commercial metal fabrication involves producing metal parts and products for various commercial applications. This can range from retail fixtures and furniture to components used in the service industry. Precision and quality are paramount in commercial metal fabrication, ensuring that the final products meet the required standards and specifications.

In commercial applications, aesthetics can be as important as functionality. Retail fixtures, for example, must not only be sturdy and functional but also visually appealing. This demands a high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail in the fabrication process. Additionally, commercial metal products often need to meet specific regulatory standards, requiring meticulous documentation and quality control.

Custom Metal Fabrication

Custom metal fabrication is tailored to meet specific needs and requirements. It involves creating unique metal parts and structures that are not available off the shelf. This process is highly flexible, allowing for a wide range of designs and applications. Custom metal fabrication is often used in specialized industries where standard components won’t suffice.

The customization process begins with a detailed design phase, where engineers and designers collaborate to create bespoke solutions. This might involve unique shapes, sizes, or materials to meet specific requirements. Custom fabrication often employs advanced techniques such as CNC machining or 3D printing to achieve the desired results. This approach allows for a high degree of precision and flexibility, catering to unique and complex needs.

How Different Metals Are Fabricated

Different metals require different fabrication techniques. For example, steel is often cut with plasma or laser cutters, while aluminum may be machined or bent using specific tools to avoid cracking. Understanding the properties of each metal is crucial for selecting the appropriate fabrication methods.

Steel, known for its strength and durability, is a staple in construction and manufacturing. Its fabrication often involves high-temperature processes like welding and plasma cutting. Aluminum, on the other hand, is lighter and more malleable, making it suitable for applications where weight is a concern. Fabricating aluminum requires lower temperatures to prevent warping and cracking, and it is often machined to precise specifications.

How Does Custom Metal Fabrication Work?

Custom metal fabrication begins with a detailed design phase, where engineers and designers work together to create precise plans and specifications. These designs are then translated into physical products using various fabrication techniques. The process often involves iterative testing and adjustments to ensure the final product meets all requirements.

The initial design phase is critical, involving detailed discussions and planning to ensure that the final product meets the client’s needs. Advanced software tools are often used to create detailed models and simulations. Once the design is finalized, the fabrication process begins, using techniques like CNC machining, laser cutting, and welding. Throughout the process, quality control measures are implemented to ensure the final product meets all specifications.

Why You Should Outsource Metal Fabrication

Outsourcing metal fabrication can offer several advantages. Specialized fabrication companies have the expertise, equipment, and resources to handle complex projects efficiently. This can lead to cost savings, higher quality products, and faster turnaround times. Additionally, outsourcing allows businesses to focus on their core competencies while leaving the fabrication work to the experts.

By outsourcing metal fabrication, businesses can leverage the expertise and advanced equipment of specialized firms. This can lead to significant cost savings, as there is no need to invest in expensive machinery or training. Moreover, specialized fabricators often have established quality control processes, ensuring that the final products meet all necessary standards. This approach also allows businesses to focus on their core operations, improving overall efficiency and productivity.

Techniques in Metal Fabrication

Metal fabrication employs a variety of techniques to achieve precise results. Some advanced methods include:

  • Laser Cutting: Provides high precision and is ideal for intricate designs.
  • CNC Machining: Uses computer numerical control to automate the fabrication process, ensuring accuracy and efficiency.
  • Water Jet Cutting: Uses high-pressure water mixed with abrasive materials to cut metal without generating heat.

Industries Relying on Metal Fabrication

Numerous industries depend on metal fabrication for their operations. These include:

  • Construction: For beams, columns, and other structural components.
  • Automotive: For frames, body parts, and engine components.
  • Aerospace: For aircraft frames, landing gear, and other critical parts.
  • Manufacturing: For machinery, tools, and equipment.

The Evolution of Metal Fabrication

Metal fabrication has evolved significantly over the years. From ancient blacksmithing techniques to modern CNC machining, the field has continually adapted to new technologies and materials. Today’s fabricators use advanced software and machinery to achieve unprecedented levels of precision and efficiency.

The evolution of metal fabrication is marked by significant technological advancements. Ancient blacksmiths used hammers and anvils to shape metal, relying on skill and experience. The industrial revolution brought about new machinery and techniques, such as steam hammers and rolling mills. In the modern era, digital technology has revolutionized the field. CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machines and CAD (Computer-Aided Design) software allow for precise control and complex designs, transforming metal fabrication into a high-tech industry.


Metal fabrication is a dynamic and indispensable part of modern industry. From the towering skyscrapers that define our cities to the intricate components that power our technology, the impact of metal fabrication is all around us. Understanding this process not only highlights its importance but also underscores the remarkable skills and technologies that make it possible. Whether you’re in construction, manufacturing, or any other industry, metal fabrication is a cornerstone of progress and innovation.

How can we make your next project high-quality, efficient and customized to meet your needs?

High-quality welds are the best way to ensure a successful metal fabrication project. Every single weld is important as they build on each other to ensure the final product’s structural integrity and longevity. Without sufficient welding quality control, mistakes can compromise the entire custom metal fabrication.

There are many ways that welding mistakes can cause disastrous and costly consequences. Even minuscule holes can invite rust, and poorly-fused welds can lead to breaks, eventually causing things like product failure or failure to meet OSHA industrial access regulations or industry-specific requirements.

Properly trained welders, along with a well-documented WPS program, can prevent project mishaps and delays.

Finding a Company

Finding a company that you can trust could be a challenge if you don’t know what to look for. Welding Procedure Specifications are a great way to determine the quality of the work you will receive. Having Welding Procedure Specifications is essential for every welding company because it maintains quality standards across every weld. It isn’t just a nice guide to follow. Under various international standards, a WPS is required to ensure a stable weld.

No matter how experienced your welding company appears to be, you shouldn’t rely on them to simply guess the best way to accomplish a specific weld. They should provide you with a list of specifications that guarantee their welders can execute an excellent weld in any situation. To maintain consistently high standards, you should look for a Welding Procedure Specification for every type of weld you require for your project.

What is a Welding Procedure Specification?

A Welding Procedure Specification, or WPS, is a formal written document describing standard welding procedures.

Like a recipe for welders, these procedures provide clear direction for welders to make quality products up to code and industry standards. They will include any details and information that are required to make the desired weld.

These are proven and tested procedures that include but are not limited to information such as the materials needed, the tools required, the processes to follow, the techniques they employ and finally, confirmation of the desired outcome.

A WPS goes beyond knowing you will get a great weld. Although a WPS will ensure the welded components meet design requirements, it can also help you determine what company you should go with when hiring someone to create your product. Knowing a company’s welders have skills that are in line with a particular WPS can give you peace of mind and ensure your product will pass inspection and do exactly what it should.

Why You Need Welding Procedure Specification

A company that has an established process to ensure their welders follow Welding Procedure Specifications means you know what you will get without having to see the finished product. Because the WPS should record all pertinent welding information, such as plate dimensions, material type, and welder and operator identifications, it is easy to guarantee the quality of the work.

Here at Yarbrough Industries, we hold our welders to the highest standard. We can provide Welding Procedure Specifications for the most common welding types, including MIG, TIG, welding of carbon steels, stud welding, and welding stainless steels for structural purposes. We are also willing to create a custom WPS for your product when the basics aren’t enough.

At Yarbrough Industries, we only employ certified, safety-conscious welders as part of our documented quality control program. Our Quality Control program adheres to industry-specific safety standards, such as material thickness, in each custom metal fabrication. We provide our clients with documentation for every fabrication, including quality inspection and detailed photographs. Our dedicated manager ensures every metal fabrication meets or exceeds safety and quality standards.

If you’re ready to work with a custom metal fabricator that practices what they preach when it comes to welding quality, give us a chance to say, “Yes, we can do that!” by contacting us today.

Get direct access to industry-leading content

This industry moves fast, but you can move even faster if you’re up to date on trends, technical developments, and best practices. The Yarbrough Industries blog is a go-to source for valuable, timely and detailed information. Sign up to ensure that you don’t miss a single post.

Yarbrough Industries recently attended a training by Airgas on “Unlocking The Hidden Costs of Welding”.

What We Covered with Airgas

This class covered the Gas Metal Arc Welding of mild steel using multiple metal transfer modes, including Short Circuit, Globular and Repelled Globular, Projected Streaming and Pulse Spray.

The class taught our technicians better ways to identify and quantify weld quality standards to ensure our customers have only the best quality products. It also educated us on new ways to develop welding procedures that meet those standards, while increasing productivity and cost-effectiveness.

Airgas Training Focus

The course focused on training our welders, operators, supervisors and management on their specific applications to create an easier workflow. Quality standards were one of the most important aspects that were repeated because they impact both cost and productivity.

Training Yarbrough Industry technicians to become even better at their jobs means we can be more productive with less and pass those cost savings on to our customers.

Treating welding as an exact science where all variables are tightly controlled helps each individual to consistently meet quality standards, ensuring a better final product. One of the goals of the class was to reiterate that they are a major player when it comes to helping their company or their customers. They learned that by adding metal when welding, it can be done as precisely and accurately as removing metal when machining. They were also given an opportunity to develop their own procedures which set the standards for quality.

As with anything worthwhile, the benefits received from something is in direct correlation with the effort and diligent work put into it. Thanks to this incredible training, customers can be assured that Yarbrough Industries will continue to meet the most stringent quality requirements and provide the best work at the lowest cost.

Get direct access to industry-leading content

This industry moves fast, but you can move even faster if you’re up to date on trends, technical developments, and best practices. The Yarbrough Industries blog is a go-to source for valuable, timely and detailed information. Sign up to ensure that you don’t miss a single post.