Sheet Metal Fabrication 101

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Take a look around Indianapolis. What do you see? No doubt steel buildings standing tall, and cars zooming past. But how are they made? 

Sheet metal fabrication is not just used for construction or commercial products, but for all the tools and machines we see and use every day. The process involves many different steps. Before beginning your own project, you should understand how it all works and what is possible through Indianapolis sheet metal fabrication. 

What is it?

Sheet metal fabrication is a manufacturing process by which sheets of raw material are transformed into metal structures and parts. Companies that partake in this are known as fabrication shops, or fab shops.

Structural fabrication is necessary to create the steel structures needed for construction. Commercial fabrication is used to manufacture car and plane parts, as well as household appliances and small tools, like nuts and bolts. Industrial fabrication is needed for the parts that make up the machinery which create commercial products. 

Although different metals such as aluminum and copper are used, steel is one of the most common. Stainless and carbon steel can be shaped by machines, yet have a sturdiness that provides structural support.

How does it work?

To create a design, metal fabricators use computer software to create a 3D prototype. Calculations such as stress levels, as well as other important specifications, are double checked and put into place.

The actual fabrication process is complex and can involve many steps:


This can be achieved with or without shears. Processes without shears include laser beam cutting, plasma cutting, and water jet cutting. Additionally, punching is for creating holes and blanking is for removing smaller pieces of metal from the original material.


Press brake machines can bend and fold metal into angles. The stamping process uses dies and a press machine to form a sheet into a specific shape. Coining, flanging, rolling, and embossing are also involved in this stage.

Welding and Finishing 

To join pieces together, they are welded. Before sending the final product out, it is sharpened and polished to perfection. Oftentimes, a powder or paint coating is applied. Other finishes and sealants are available to protect it from damage and corrosion.

Begin your project

Mainstay Manufacturing has all the professional metal fabricators and advanced tools for quality sheet metal fabrication in Indianapolis, Indiana. 

To learn more about the specific processes we use, visit https://mainstaymfg.com. Contact us to get started on your next project!