Amazing companies choose PROTOTEK for high-quality parts done fast!
Sheet Metal Services – Working with PROTOTEK
Deep capabilities in sheet metal and machining – design, sheet metal services, manufacturing, finishing, and even complex assemblies.
What do we do?
- Sheet Metal Parts & Assemblies in as Fast as 1-3 Days
- CNC Milled and Turned Parts in as Fast as 1-3 Days
- Complex Parts
- Same Day or Emergency Jobs – Call us Now!
About our fast, flexible personalized service:
- ISO-9001:2015 Certified, ITAR Registered
- Quotes within 24 Hours – Call us if you need it faster!
- Estimates with or without CAD Models
- We Want Complex Jobs – We Quote Parts Others Reject
Because every job is unique, and many require special considerations for materials, finishing, custom work, and/or urgent delivery – our sheet metal services quotes are turned around by seasoned estimators who confirm all aspects of your job. No automated quoting that works on cookie-cutter algorithms here to limit your project or your imagination. We figure out the best way to run your job first – and that’s why we deliver so many jobs that other shops turn away.
Our sheet metal capabilities start below but they don’t stop there. Want to talk to someone about a job, upload a file for quote or call us now.
NO CAD MODEL, NO PROBLEM
QUOTES WITHIN 24HRS
PARTS & ASSEMBLIES – ONE STOP SHOP
NO ORDER TOO SMALL
EXPEDITED PARTS IN 1-3 DAYS
PROTOTEK AS SEEN ON MANUFACTURING MARVELS®
- Manufacturing Design Assistance
- Laser Cutting - Punching
- Material Graining
- Drilling - Countersinking - Tapping
- Forming - Bending
- Hardware Insertion
- Mechanical Assembly
- TIG, MIG, Spot Welding & Weld Grinding
- Welded Assemblies & Frames
- Up to 5-Axis Milling
- Horizontal & Vertical Milling
- 9-Axis Mill-Turn
- CNC Routing
- Surface Grinding
- Lapping & Polishing
- Welding / Post-Weld Machining
- Heli-Coils / Hardware Inserts
Cutting & Engraving
- Wire EDM Cutting
- Waterjet Cutting
- CO2 Laser
- Quality Engineering Assistance
- CMM Inspection Services
- First Article and AQL Inspections
- Compliance and Document Control
Plastic & Composite Fabrication
- Plastic Thermoforming - Bending
- Cryogenic Deflashing & Deburring
- Plastic Welding
- Thermal, Adhesive, & Mechanical Bonding
- Vapor Polishing
- Radiological Film-Cutting Services
- Manufacturing Design Assistance
- Tooling and Fixture Fabrication
- Electro-Mechanical Services
- Welded, Mechanical, & Small Parts Assembly
- Wire Harnessing
- Laser Cutting – Polymers & Metals
- Insert Installation
- Powder Coating
- Chemical Agent Resistant Coating
- Silk Screening
- Laser Engraving
- Chem Film
- Black Oxide
- Bead Blasting
Comprehensive Guide to Sheet Metal Services
Sheet metal services are often used for their high versatility, durability and precision, which makes them ideal for an array of projects ranging from prototypes to parts. Sheet metal fabrication is often used for end-use applications like chassis, enclosures and brackets.
What is Sheet Metal Fabrication?
Sheet metal fabrication is a process that involves bending, punching and cutting thin sheets of metal to create industrial-grade metal components. Sheet metal parts are well-known for their strength and durability, and they’re used in a variety of industries, including automotive, aerospace and defense, communications, industrial, consumer goods and more.
Sheet metal fabrication is a multi-step process that may require multiple people from design to finishing and quality control. Sheet metal comes in a variety of metals and can be formed for almost any purpose. Sheet metal materials include steel, aluminum, magnesium, brass and bronze, just to name a few.
What is Prototyping?
A prototype in manufacturing is an early model of a product that is used to create aspects of the final product. Prototypes demonstrate that a concept is feasible and give a preview of the design’s aesthetics. Prototypes often reveal details about manufacturing methods, materials and costs. Customers may provide input on prototypes so changes can be made before a large quantity is produced.
Sheet metal is often used for prototyping, because it comes in many finishes and is relatively fast. It also gives the option to use a less expensive metal for prototyping before executing the full project.
Rapid Sheet Metal Services
There are many services that can be used in sheet metal fabrication, including…
Laser Cutting – Punching
Punching is a machining technique for removing scrap metal from a sheet of raw metal. It entails compressing a tool through a sheet of raw metal with a punch press. Punching is generally faster and less expensive than laser cutting.
Laser cutters cut sheet metal by focusing light energy into a laser beam and supplementing it with cutting gas. The sheet stays fixed as the laser head moves in the ‘X’, ‘Y’ and ‘Z’ axes, unlike punches. Part numbers and labels can also be etched with lasers. Laser cutters are more precise and give a more finished edge.
Graining is the method of giving sheet metal pieces a consistent surface finish. This is accomplished by grinding the metal with a belt grinder.
Drilling – Countersinking – Tapping
Drilling produces higher-quality holes that can be used in materials of greater thickness. After that, thread-tapping and countersinking are often done. Thread tapping produces threads inside the drilled hole so that a bolted link can be made later. Countersinking a drilled hole eliminates the sharp edge, provides a bevel, and a recess (deep bevel) for a blind bolt head.
Forming – Bending
Cold working activities such as metal bending and shaping allow the sheet metal to be shaped to configurations that allow for creation of the optimal parts.
Hardware insertion gives sheet metal parts more depth for load bearing threads. Hardware insertion makes use of existing holes created by high-precision machines like a laser cutter or a waterjet cutter, which improves the accuracy of the fastener’s placement.
Describes the process or final product of putting together sheet metal project components on an assembly line.
TIG, MIG, Spot Welding & Weld Grinding
Welding is used in creating more than half of all of the products manufactured in the United States. MIG welding is the fastest option, but the results are not as smooth as TIG welding.
The spot welding process is used primarily for welding two or more metal sheets together by applying pressure and heat from an electric current to the weld area.
Weld grinding is an important step in many metal fabrication processes, and it involves extracting excess weld metal in a clean and efficient manner.
Welded Assemblies & Frames
Sheet metal can be used to create complete welded assemblies and frames for large projects.
Metal Design Considerations
When it comes to metal design, it’s important to consult with an expert to ensure none of the design elements negatively impact the durability of the final product. There are many ways to customize a metal project, each with its own considerations.
Bending is used to deform a material to an angular shape through the application of force. It is one of the most common sheet metal design methods and may also be called press braking, flanging, die bending, folding or edging.
The thickness of the sheet metal will affect how it should be handled and the force needed to apply design methods.
An incision cut along the sides of a proposed bend in sheet metal to prevent tearing and part deformation during the bending process. Bend relief lengths and widths vary between projects and depending on the metal used.
Slots and Holes
Holes and slots must be at least as wide in diameter as the material is thick. It’s also important to consider distance from the edge. If a material is 0.036 in. (0.914mm) or thinner, the hole should be 0.062 in. (1.574mm) from the material edge; if the material is thicker than 0.036 in. (0.914mm), the hole should be at least 0.125 in. (3.175mm) from the material edge to avoid distortion. Hardware inserts may affect these requirements.
Tabs and Notches
Tabs and notches also come with distinct requirements for effective metal fabrication. Notches must be at least the thickness of the material or 0.04 in. (1.016mm), whichever is greater, and no more than 5 times the width of the material. Tabs must be at least 2 times the thickness of the material or 0.126 in. (3.200mm), whichever is greater, and no more than 5 times the width.
Hemming is a metalworking technique that involves rolling the edge of sheet metal over and onto itself, forming a two-layer field. There are two types of hems, open and closed. The tolerance of a hem is dependent upon the hem’s radius, material thickness and features near the hem. Ideally, the minimum inside diameter should equal the material thickness, and a hem return length of 6x material thickness.
Conical holes are cut into a manufactured item to allow a screw, nail or bolt to be inserted flush with the surface.
Offsets are used to create Z-shaped profiles in sheet metal parts.
Welding fuses metal parts together by melting them together with high heat and then allowing them to cool. There are multiple types of welding, and the ideal strategy will depend on your material and project.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Are you a broker or a manufacturer?
We are a full service sheet metal and machining manufacturer with four U.S. production facilities across the nation allowing us to deliver your high-quality parts FAST.
Does PROTOTEK manufacture in higher-volume quantities?
We focus on prototypes to low-volume production and can do larger runs. All our parts, from one – to 100 – to 1,000+ are always delivered with production-quality finish.
What are your payment terms?
PROTOTEK offers Net 30 payment terms for established customers with good credit.
What file formats are required or suggested for requesting a quote?
We accept .STP, .DWG, .IGS, .PDF, Parasolid files, and more.
What if I need help with my part design?
Our estimators are on hand to discuss your specific job needs. Our expert team can help you move your project smoothly through the design process and on to delivery.
If I do not have a CAD model, can you quote/fabricate my parts?
Yes, we can work directly from your drawings. Additional engineering charge (NRC) may apply depending on complexity.
How do I submit my NDA and other document requests?
Submit your NDA, Approved Vendor and other document requests to your sales rep or estimator.
How long is a quote valid?
Our quotes stand firm for 7 days from the date of issue.
How fast can I get my order?
Lead time for standard orders is 10 business days. Expediting options are available, including emergency service – down to as fast as 1-2 business days, depending on complexity of work and materials.