Avoid These 4 Mistakes When Making Welding Designs
When you plan products for sheet metal fabrication, you must be aware of how you design parts early to ensure that they are suitable for later manufacturing processes. By considering certain aspects early on, you are less likely to have to return to your design to change it later, saving you both time and money.
Mistake 1: Working Outside Set Standards
Thinking beforehand about how you want to finish your product might seem like a small detail, but it’s worth considering. Will the pieces for sheet metal fabrication come in pre-cut, ready to go into a machine? Or will you need to ship an entire pallet of metal sheets to your metal fabricator?
There might be ways to make the metal pieces easier to fabricate. For example, do you need to drill or tap holes?
It will be tempting to use uncommon tap and drill sizes to make your part unique, but this forces your fabricator to hunt down a specialty tool that they might not have. Instead, it’s better if you stick to standard sizes.
Mistake 2: No Detail
Often, when working with a metal fabrication company for the first time, it’s best to include as much information as possible in your engineering drawings. While these drawings typically appear on the tail-end of the design process for a part, these drawings are essential for manufacturing purposes. They include, for example, the numbers and text that will be used to make the part, which is critical information for a manufacturer.
For example, when specifying the material, be crystal clear with what you want. Saying “aluminium” isn’t enough; it offers too little information. Do you need a material certification to ship with the part? Accreditation for the material is necessary to prove that it matches what you asked for. These decisions affect both the function of your design and the cost.
Mistake 3: Virtually Impossible Designs
If you’re not yet aware, it’s challenging to perform sheet metal fabrication on a part with a fragile, deep wall. Some features are simply more difficult to machine than others, and that difficulty may become insurmountable when using specific materials.
- For reference, thin walls in a section milled out of solid stock could snap off due to too much vibration. Small but deep threads may require your manufacturing partner to purchase a long-reach tap.
- On the other hand, complex 3D surfaces are time-consuming and expensive to machine. The best way to achieve a high-quality finish is to use a computer.
These must be considered during the design phase and avoided if possible.
Mistake 4: Obliviousness to Machine Capabilities
A common mistake is not knowing about the manufacturers’ machines used to create a part. Early on during the design process, it is essential to ask a potential fabricator what machinery they have and what they can do. Learning more about the fabricator’s work and capabilities can provide helpful information for better sheet metal fabrication, including how they like to work, specialties, and materials they use.
Armed with this knowledge, you can modify your design to take advantage of that data, such as in the case of sheet metal parts, where you can factor in how extensive their brake is. For processes like CNC machining, understanding what machine will be used will help you determine what tolerances are “free” and which need tighter tolerances because of the machine’s capabilities.
We reiterate that these tips barely scratch the surface of the many beautiful worlds within manufacturing. Producing a product requires your attention to all areas of the design process. Thus, you and your manufacturer both want to make a successful product, so treat them with respect and let them give you advice in areas where they are experts.
Get in touch with CSM Fabrication Welding today for sheet metal fabrication in Perth! We provide the best metal fabrication and welding service and work with all steel types, including but not limited to aluminium, steel, and stainless steel. Check out our website to know more!