There are many industries that rely on steel parts. Steel is widely used because it is resistant to heat and extremely durable yet able to be cut and shaped into any form during the fabrication process. Whether you are the manager for a manufacturing facility or an HVAC contractor, there will likely come a point when you need to have steel fabricated. Depending on the complexity of what you need, there may be several people involved in the process. In this guide you will learn what the general process is and which professionals can help to get the job done.
Metal architectural designer
For complex designs, you will need an architect who specializes in metal designs. An architect is someone who designs a look. They draw out the look on paper or use computer aided design software. Sometimes, they use cardboard or plastic to create 3D models of their designs to best show how the finished project will look.
A structural engineer takes the design from the architectural designer and determines what is necessary to make the finished product structurally sound. The structural engineer will determine the type of metal that is necessary and what the required sizes are to make sure the finished product or building will be safe for use.
The steel detailer takes the architect's design and the requirements from the structural engineer to develop drawings that will be read by the steel fabricator in a machine shop. The steel detailer also provides instructions in a layout to show the fabricator how to piece all the various parts together. The detailer also shows where the welding and soldering should be on the parts.
In some shops, the steel detailer uses a CAD software system to upload his or her drawings, measurements and instructions for the machine shop and the steel fabricator. In larger machine shops, another person may do this as their sole job. Once the information is entered into the system, the computer sends it directly to the machine that cuts the sheet metal. This is an additional step that smaller machine shops may not use, but it can reduce waste from each sheet of metal.
Sheet metal cutter
A sheet of metal will need to be cut into the correct sizes according to the plans developed by the steel detailer. This can be done with a manual cutting machine or an automated one that is connected with the computer-aided design software. Even if the machine is automated, there should always be someone there at the cutting machine. This individual will make sure that the tool is aligned properly before it starts making cuts in the sheet metal. Then, the cut parts will be ready for the steel fabricator.
The steel fabricator is the one who works all the magic by taking the flat individual pieces and transforming them into the finished product for their clients. The steel fabricator needs to be able to read and interpret the blueprints and technical drawings from the steel detailer. The fabricator needs calculate the temperance of the metal and make adjustments to achieve the correct angles for construction. This typically involves additional cutting, bending, welding and soldering.
Some machine shops employ or contract with all of these professionals to help their customers achieve the best results. However, some machine shops may ask their customers to bring in a design that has already gone through the designing process with the architect and structural engineer. Call the machine shops in your area of check out the site to find out what they require from their customers to begin the process.