Aerospace Metal Fabrication 101

Aerospace Metal Fabrication - Picture of Airplane

Metal fabrication is a key service that is applicable to a wide range of industries, including aerospace. The critical and often complex nature of aerospace components necessitates precision. These components are crafted through a variety of metal fabrication services, from drawing and forging to welding and extrusion. In this blog, we’ll cover how metal fabrication works and how it serves the aerospace industry.

A Quick Overview of Metal Fabrication

Industrial metal fabrication is essentially any process that cuts or forms raw metal into a desired stock or custom product. These techniques can be used on nearly any type of metal, though steel and stainless steel, copper, aluminum, nickel, and brass are some of the most common. Metal fabrication services are an efficient, cost-effective way to produce a high quantity of identical components. 

There are different metal fabrication processes, and the one you use depends on several factors such as the type of metal you’re working with, the desired size and shape of the component, and any particular characteristics the component requires. In many cases, you can combine multiple processes to achieve the desired final product. Metal fabrication processes include:

  • Drawing. This process involves forcing molten or sheet metal through a die to create the desired shape. Deep drawing applies specifically to parts that have depths that are greater than their diameters. 
  • Forging. Whereas drawing uses tensile force to shape the metal, forging relies on compressive force. The metal is hit with a hammer or die to achieve the desired shape.
  • Extrusion. This technique is common for creating pipes and other cylindrical components. 
  • Punching. This is the process of creating holes or indentations in a piece of sheet metal for decorative or functional purposes.
  • Welding. There are many types of welding, all of which are used to join similar or dissimilar pieces of metal together via heat and pressure.
  • Drilling. Drilling is a standard process for creating circular holes. 
  • Milling. In this common subtractive manufacturing process, a milling machine or router is used to remove bits of material to create the desired shape. 
  • Turning. Common for creating cylindrical components, a piece of metal is turned on a lathe while being shaped with a cutting tool. 

Aerospace Metal Fabrication

Aerospace components must meet stringent standards for quality, reliability, and safety. Metal fabrication processes – especially when carried out by a top-notch fabricator – allow for the complexity, repeatability, tight tolerances, and durability these products require for use in exceptionally harsh conditions. Titanium, stainless steel, aluminum, and carbon steel, along with specialty metals and alloys, are commonly used in aerospace metal fabrication to produce components like:

  • Switches and relays
  • Instrumentation
  • Oxygen generation and pressurization systems
  • Engine controls
  • Sensors
  • Actuators
  • Antennas
  • Fuel systems

This is only a sample of the wide array of components that can be produced through precision metal fabrication processes. Regardless of the exact part you are looking to bring to life, it is important to choose a metal fabricator that fits the following criteria:

  • Offers transparency and regularly-communicated updates throughout the entire fabrication process (i.e. turnaround time)
  • Goes above and beyond in terms of customer service before, during, and after fabrication. For instance, does their team offer design & engineering support and recommendations? 
  • Upholds certifications relevant to aerospace requirements and follows stringent quality control and, ideally, has a quality assurance department in-house

Choose Aerospace Metal Fabrication Services at Manor Tool

Since 1959, Manor Tool has grown to become a world-class metal fabrication company, and we offer a wide range of metal fabrication services to meet the needs of the aerospace, automotive, energy, medical, oil and gas, and construction industries. 

With our years of experience in working with the aerospace industry, we have an in-depth understanding of the unique challenges and requirements of this sector, and we can help you create components that are capable of holding up in aerospace environments.

From our ISO 9001:2008-certified state-of-the-art 44,000-square-foot facility, we can provide everything from prototyping and high-volume production to finishing and secondary machining. 

Contact us to learn more about our metal fabrication services for the aerospace industry, or request a quote to get started.

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