What Is The Raw Material For Metal Fabrication?

Fabricators of metal have access to a wide variety of standard raw materials that can speed up production and shorten cycle times. This guide covers the wide range of materials used in metalworking, from raw ores to finished products.

man welding a black metal

Forming, cutting, and other similar operations are all part of metal fabrication, which is the production of metal parts, machinery, and components. Welding, lathing, broaching, grinding, milling, and honing are all common fabrication processes, but many metal fabrication shops also offer specialised services that may better suit your needs.

Metal fabrication is an essential procedure in almost every manufacturing sector, from the auto and electrical to the food and beverage industries. Many fabrication elements and components have become more or less standard over time as a result of the widespread adoption of a smaller number of popular raw materials. Knowing what kinds of metals are on hand and will work for your specific project is a good first step before diving into the fabrication process.

What Is The Raw Material For Metal Fabrication?

The raw materials for metal fabrication can vary depending on the specific type of metal being used and the desired end product. However, some common raw materials used in metal fabrication include:

1. Steel:

Steel is a popular material used in metal fabrication due to its strength, durability, and versatility. It is an alloy made primarily from iron and carbon, with small amounts of other elements such as manganese, sulphur, and phosphorus. The carbon content in steel can range from 0.2% to 2.1%, and this affects the properties of the steel, such as its hardness and strength.

There are several different types of steel, each with different properties and uses. For example, carbon steel is a type of steel with a high carbon content that is commonly used in construction, automotive, and machinery applications.

Stainless steel is another type of steel that contains chromium and other alloying elements to provide resistance to corrosion and staining, making it useful in applications such as kitchen appliances and medical equipment. Other types of steel include tool steel, alloy steel, and weathering steel.

Steel can be produced through different methods such as the basic oxygen furnace (BOF) process, electric arc furnace (EAF) process, and other processes. Once the steel is produced, it can be shaped and formed into various shapes and sizes using metal fabrication techniques such as welding, cutting, bending, and machining.

2. Aluminum:

Aluminum is a lightweight and malleable metal that is commonly used in metal fabrication due to its high strength-to-weight ratio, corrosion resistance, and conductivity. It is a chemical element with the symbol Al and atomic number 13 and is the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust.

Aluminum is produced from bauxite ore through a process called the Bayer process, which involves extracting alumina (aluminium oxide) from the ore and then electrolyzing it to produce pure aluminium metal.

In metal fabrication, aluminium can be used in a variety of forms, including sheets, plates, bars, and extrusions. It is commonly used in applications such as aerospace, transportation, construction, and consumer products. For example, aluminium is often used to make aircraft parts, car frames, and beverage cans.

Aluminium can be fabricated using a range of techniques, including welding, machining, forming, and casting. However, aluminium has lower strength compared to some other metals like steel, so it may need to be reinforced or combined with other materials in certain applications to achieve the desired level of strength and durability.

3. Copper: 

Copper is a reddish-brown metal that is highly conductive and malleable, making it a popular material for electrical wiring and plumbing. It is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29 and is one of the few metals that occur naturally in its elemental form.

Copper is typically mined from underground copper mines and then processed into various forms for use in metal fabrication. Copper can be shaped and formed using techniques such as forging, casting, and machining, and is often combined with other metals to create alloys with specific properties.

One popular alloy of copper is bronze, which is made by combining copper with tin and sometimes other elements. Bronze is often used in decorative metalwork and sculptures due to its durability, ductility, and corrosion resistance.

Another popular alloy of copper is brass, which is made by combining copper with zinc. Brass is commonly used in applications such as plumbing fixtures, musical instruments, and hardware due to its corrosion resistance, malleability, and attractive gold-like appearance.

Copper is also used in various other applications such as roofing, electrical cables, and heat exchangers, among others. However, copper can be expensive compared to some other metals, so its use may be limited to certain applications where its unique properties are required.

4. Brass: 

Brass is an alloy made primarily from copper and zinc, with small amounts of other elements such as lead, tin, and nickel. It is a popular material for metal fabrication due to its corrosion resistance, malleability, and attractive gold-like appearance.

The exact composition of brass can vary depending on the intended application and desired properties. For example, brass with a higher zinc content tends to be more ductile and easier to work with, while brass with a higher copper content tends to be stronger and more resistant to corrosion.

Brass can be produced through a range of methods, including casting, forging, and extrusion. Once the brass is formed, it can be further processed and finished through techniques such as welding, polishing, and plating.

Brass is commonly used in a variety of applications, including plumbing fixtures, musical instruments, hardware, and decorative metalwork.

For example, brass is often used for doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, and light fixtures due to its resistance to tarnishing and attractive appearance. In musical instruments, brass is commonly used for trumpets, trombones, and other instruments due to its ability to produce a rich, warm sound.

However, brass can be relatively soft compared to some other metals, so it may not be suitable for applications where high strength is required. In addition, some types of brass may contain lead, which can pose health risks, so it is important to use appropriate safety measures when handling and working with brass.

5. Bronze: 

Bronze is an alloy made primarily from copper, with tin as the main alloying element. It is a popular material for metal fabrication due to its strength, durability, and attractive appearance. Other elements such as zinc, nickel, and lead may also be added to bronze to enhance its properties.

Bronze can be produced through a range of methods, including casting, forging, and extrusion. Once the bronze is formed, it can be further processed and finished through techniques such as welding, polishing, and plating.

Bronze has been used for thousands of years and was once a popular material for making weapons, tools, and sculptures. Today, it is used in a variety of applications, including electrical components, bearings, and decorative metalwork.

One of the advantages of bronze is its high resistance to corrosion and wear. This makes it a popular material for bearings, where it can withstand high loads and provide long-lasting performance. Bronze is also commonly used in marine applications due to its resistance to saltwater corrosion.

Bronze is often used in decorative metalwork due to its warm, rich colour and attractive patina. Bronze statues and sculptures can be found in public spaces, museums, and private collections around the world.

However, bronze can be relatively expensive compared to some other metals, so its use may be limited to certain applications where its unique properties are required. In addition, some types of bronze may contain lead, which can pose health risks, so it is important to use appropriate safety measures when handling and working with bronze.

Other metals used in metal fabrication include nickel, titanium, and stainless steel, among others.

Conclusion

In conclusion, metal fabrication is a process that involves shaping, cutting, and joining metal materials to create a variety of products and components. Metals such as steel, aluminium, copper, brass, and bronze are commonly used in metal fabrication due to their unique properties and characteristics.

Each of these metals has its unique properties and characteristics, which make them suitable for different applications and industries. Metal fabrication techniques such as welding, machining, forming, and casting are used to shape and join these metals into a wide range of products, from small components to large structures.

For more information, read also about fabrication materials