Sheet metal fabrication is ideal for creating durable but inexpensive parts for prototypes and end-use production runs. Sheet metal offers a wide range of strength, conductivity, weight, and corrosion-resistance in addition to several finish options.
These tips will help optimize your next project to help save you time and money.
1. Utilize In-House Services
Work with a fabricator that offers engineering services, which could help reduce your material, production, and shipping costs.
Engineers may also discover flaws in your design, which would otherwise remain undiscovered until the final product is manufactured.
2. Choose Materials Carefully
The choice of materials is one of the biggest drivers of finished part costs. Fuel costs, trade deals that affect tariffs, and market fluctuations can affect metal prices.
Use stock sheet metal sizes to avoid unnecessary costs associated with special orders. If you are creating a prototype, consider using a less expensive metal (like aluminum).
3. Cost-Cutting Design Choices
Design to a standard gauge: Use a standard gauge when designing your parts to avoid costs associated with variable gauges. Thicker metals may also restrict forming options for your part.
Avoid complexity: The more complex the part, the more expensive it is to manufacture. Design for simple angled bends, with a radius equal to or greater than the thickness of the sheet metal.
Tolerance call-outs: Limit tight tolerances that are not critical to a part’s functionality.
Uniform bend orientation: Bends should be designed in the same direction to avoid part reorientation, which will save both money and time. A consistent bend radius is easier to manufacture and more cost-effective.