Sheet Metal Fabrication is
the process to form metal sheets to the
desired shape or structure using techniques like cutting, bending,
punching, folding, and assembling. It is used in a wide range of
applications in a variety of industries. As it is a group of processes and
manufacturing methods, it requires a lot of experience, skills, and expertise
to form sheet metal into the desired shape to get a better-finished product. It
is where the sheet metal prototype is useful in the fabrication process to
prevent any manufacturing error or defects.
Sheet metal prototype is a rough draft or mock-up model of the final product that is built long before the manufacturing begins. It allows designers and manufacturers to test the quality and finish. Sheet metal prototyping is done using various methods such as CNC machining, 3D printing, sheet metal forming, and 3ERP for creating metal prototypes. Depending on the prototyping process, a variety of materials such as aluminium or steel are used to create metal prototypes that closely mimic the final product.
Metal Prototype over Plastic Prototype:
In some instances, designers create plastic prototypes of parts that will be manufactured using metal. This works in some cases where the manufactured part doesn’t have any mechanical or functional role and doesn’t require characteristics like strength, conductivity, or ductility. But, if the mechanical and functional characteristics are important in your application to perform some kind of role, metal prototypes are the way to go. A metal prototype can mock those characteristics easily and can be tested on different parameters for functional roles.
Metal prototypes are also better even your parts don’t have any functional role because they can offer a looks-like appearance that will help you conceptualize your final product in a better way. Sheet metal prototypes offer long-term benefits and increase the chance of the commercial success of your final product.
Sheet metal materials for prototyping
Various metals are used to create sheet metal prototypes depending on the application and roles. Manufacturers use different grade metals for prototyping sheet metal products. Some cheaper metal options that you can use for your metal prototypes are:
· Stainless steel
· Galvanized steel
· Galvannealed steel
· Cold-rolled steel
· Copper (C101; C110)
Brass (CDA 260)
Benefits of Sheet Metal Prototyping:
Prototypes are used to replicate, learn, and test to provide a real-life experience of the final designs and their functions. Creating the right prototype is essential to avoid any error or production defects that can cost you a lot more. This is where the sheet metal prototype can be beneficial in many ways:
Metal prototypes offer better functional or mechanical performance by mocking the real characteristics of the material that will be used for final production.
· You can perform more accurate testing with designs, appearance, and performance.
· It increases the commercial value of your products.
· It is easier to move to the final production.
It is cost-effective in the long run.
A sheet metal prototype allows you to replicate the final finish of your product that you want to achieve commercially. It is the foundation of your successful manufacturing process and we are capable of providing the best solutions for your metal prototypes.