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How to Make Customized Metal Parts?

Making customized metal parts is an important part of the manufacturing industry. Customized metal parts are widely used in various industries from paper holding clips to airplane parts. When you get into your car and pick up your phone or hand a tool, the parts you used are the results of customized metal parts fabrication. In our daily life, we rely on the customized metal parts. Without metal parts, we are not able to build houses, electronic appliances or vehicles operations.

Today, we will talk about the complete metal fabrication guide and explain everything you must know when creating customized metal parts which include metal fabrications definitions, types, applications, surface finishing options and more.

What is customized metal parts creation?

Metal fabrication refers to the process of producing metal parts like bending, cutting, assembling, shaping or molding metal into a desire shape. In metal parts making process, the end parts are fabricated from the raw or semi raw material instead of assemble ready-made components. Metal parts fabrication process use sheets. Rods, billers and bars of stock metal materials to produce new metal parts.

Metal Parts

Two main types of metal materials

We can see there are many types of metal materials around us in our life. Two main types of metal materials are hard metal and soft metals.

Hard metal

consists of metal matrix which uses hard material to hold together. Compared to alloys, pure metals or hardened steel, hard metal is tougher. Although hard metal is harder, is will fragile. Hard metals are used to make cutting material such as drill, milling cutters, chisels and more. Hard metals are also used to form and punch tools. Compared to other metals, hard metal are more temperature resistant. Examples of hard metals are tungsten, steel, titanium and chromium.

Soft metal

Soft metal is the special class of metal material which has low hardness. The soft metal is a surface engineered material. Soft metal can be a solid lubricant for rolling and sliding applications. The soft metal reduces the friction in mechanical parts and has better anti-wear ability. Examples of soft metal are zinc, tin, aluminum, copper, brass, gold, lead, silver, thorium, magnesium and bronze.

How to produce metal parts?

There are many type of manufacturing available to produce metal parts.

CNC machining

CNC machining is a manufacturing process which is controlled by a computer to cut raw material into the desire shape by the material removal process. There are many kinds of machining operations in CNC machining. Each machining operations can be used according to the complexity of the geometry and surface needed. CNC machining is a metal part creation for low to medium volume.

CNC Machining

The two main categories of CNC machining are CNC turning and CNC milling. The CNC milling machines has a multi-point tool. The milling process uses rotatory cutter to remove the material from the metal stock and get the desired shape of the metal part. CNC turning is a single cutting edge removes the excess metal from the rotating workpiece to create a cylindrical structure in the metal parts.

CNC machining is widely used in automotive telecommunication, electrical, machinery, electronics, aerospace and medical industries. For example, bushings, shafts, pins, rods, gearboxes and heads are built by CNC turning.

Extrusion

Extrusion involves pushing heated metal into a die. The die creates the shape in a tube or an L-shape. Extrusion allows structuring more complex shapes. Metal parts produced by extrusion need post finishing like drilling, cutting, and machining. Hot extrusion can produce large parts with high complexity. Cold extrusion can produce small parts with less complexity. Hot extrusion works under a high temperature and keep the material from hardening. Cold extrusion works under room temperature as the material has less oxidation, closer tolerance and is stronger. Extrusion is widely used to produce cosmetic and precision parts as it provides smooth surface for painting and finishing. Extrusion is used in automotive industries as well. Applications for extrusion include windows, railing, flooring and more.

Extrusion

Stamping

The stamping process can make shape, images and letters on the metal parts. Two types of stamping is hydraulic and mechanical process. Stamping process bends, punches and cuts the metal sheet to make the desired parts. Stamping operation includes blanking, metal coining and four slide forming. Stamping process is scalable for high volume and complexity with low cost.

Stamping process involves many different techniques which include punching, bending, embossing, coining and flanging. It could be single-stages operation or a multiple-stages operation. Stamping usually uses a cold metal sheet.

Stamping process is used to produce millions of parts in electronic, appliance and automotive industries yearly. Stamping process is suitable for produce functional parts such as enclosures, brackets and chassis in high-volume.

Forging

Forging is a manufacturing process which use localized compression forces to shape metal parts. It is a process of heating and shaping metals. The weight of forged parts ranges from kilograms to a hundred metric tons. Compared to casting and machining, forging can produce stronger metal parts. Forging is economical and produces less waste. Forging process only has five steps: heating, performing, forging, cooling and finishing. Forging does not need a metal reduction in liquid. Heating metal is enough for the forging that make the metal parts stronger.

Applications of forging have wheel spindles, kingpins, shafts, torsion balls and more.

Casting

Casting is one of most flexible metal part manufacturing processes. Casting is ideal for making a wide range of complex shape metal parts. Casting process pours the liquid material into a mold that is a prebuild hollow cavity of desire part. Then, it cools and solids, and eject form the mold to get the casted metal parts.

Two casting methods include investment casting and die casting.

The investment casting uses the wax model of the end parts. The wax is coated with ceramic. When the ceramic is hardened, the wax is heated and drained out. The hardened shell of ceramic is the mold for the desired metal part. The molten metal is poured into the mold and left to cool and separate from the mold. Investment casting is able to produce complex parts with details. It is able to fulfill low volume needs.

Die casting process forces the liquid metal into a mold under hydraulic pressure. The steel molds are used to produce intricate shape which ensure repeatability, accuracy and effectiveness. Die casting is ideal for producing castings in small to medium size in large production run.

Casting applications include washing machines, metal pipes, automobiles parts and more.

Metal Injection Molding

Metal injection molding is a process that metal is powdered and mix with binder material to create feedstock. The feedstock is solidified and shaped into the end parts. Metal injection molding process is ideal for high volume production. Metal injection molding process is cost-effective. During metal injection molding process, the mixture of metal and polymer is created in the first step. The process melts and inject the powder feedstock into the mold, the cool and solidify to get the mold shape. The last step is the molded parts eject from the mold and clean it.

Metal injection molded applications include airplanes, medical equipment, fitting, ornaments, computer, office parts, home appliance parts, medical devices and more.

Surface finish options for metal parts

Surface finish offer environment protection and aesthetic to metal parts. Surface finishing process improve the features like surface roughness and corrosion resistance. Some surface finishing process increase the mechanical and electrical properties. Surface finish treatments include electroplating, electroless plating, anodic oxidation, chemical treatment, vacuum plating, hot dipping, painting, thermal spraying and more.

Surface Finishes

Conclusion

Metal is an important material for many industries. It is used to produce many household items which makes our life more convenient and better. In this article, we have discussed how to create metal parts. Hope it helps. Contact us today!

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