Ideas are sprouting in heads every single day, and plans are being laid out every moment. In order for those dreams and ideas to become reality, however, there must be parts that are available to bring them into fruition.
The most useful way of bringing those parts into existence is via the process of sheet metal fabrication, as it is a relatively easy and cheap way to create many parts. It can be cheaper, though! Below you will find five great money saving tips to remember when fabricating sheet metal.
The driving factor behind the price of sheet metal fabrication lies in the material that is used. This is why it is highly beneficial to choose the proper materials when beginning the process. Of course, you have to use materials that are appropriate in regards to whatever the project they will be used in, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have to absolutely break the bank in order to obtain them. Keep it simple and avoid getting fancy, and you should fair rather well.
There are many things to consider when designing a part. It has to really form well, as well as be compatible with a variety of factors. For instance, the thickness of the material that you use can make it quite difficult to actually form the bends necessary for the part you are attempting to make. Naturally, this is up to the personal needs of your project, but being mindful of the sheet metal gauge that you use can make the project much easier to work with, and that is never a bad thing for a good project.
It’s understandable that the more complex and, in a word, complicated your part is to craft, the more expensive that it will be. If you are looking to keep things nice and inexpensive, then it is highly recommended that you keep your folds as simple as possible without sacrificing the integrity of the part. A great way to simplify the part is to design for simple angled bends that have a radius equal to or greater than the thickness of the sheet metal. There’s nothing wrong with a simple, efficient part, and it will most likely work just as well, if not better, than an intricately designed one.
There are only a few surfaces of a part which are absolutely crucial to it’s function, meaning everything else is negotiable. More tolerance callouts within a part, the more expensive it is. Therefore if you’re after a certain budget frame when crafting a part, you will want to leave as few of those in as possible. Tolerance callouts refer to features such as radii, hole diameters, distances, etc. Eliminating these and only leaving in the ones that are crucial to the part is a good way to maintain a certain price point that you are comfortable with.
Direction of bends actually have an effect on price. Bends in the same plane should be flowing in the same direction. This helps avoid part reorientation, which easily saves both money and time, two things that we all need more of. Also, keeping the bend radius consistent will help to make the parts much more cost effective. This way, you can keep the cost of your projects low, if it’s absolutely necessary or desired.