Before You Shop: Learn About Steel Fabrication

When you're shopping for the best steel fabricator, you'll want to go into the discussion armed with some knowledge about how the process works. There are many different steel fabrication processes that can affect the properties of fabricated steel. Here is a basic rundown of steel types and processes.  

Types of Steel

The first thing to note is that there are many different steel product types to choose from. Stainless steel, for example, is a very versatile type of steel that is used across industries. But you may be looking for a type of steel with special qualities. As an example, weathering steel is a product that goes through a different manufacturing process to become resistant to outdoor elements. If your steel will be used primarily outside, then you might opt for this rougher, tougher version of fabricated steel. For other uses, you might need spring steel, which is another common type of fabricated steel that has bouncy properties. 

Processes of Fabrication

Aside from choosing a type of steel, you may also need to learn about the processes that can put your metal into the format that you need. For instance, there are several cutting methods that can be used to cut the steel. Plasma torches and water jets are two powerful options. Lasers are also available at some locations. Speak with your steel fabricator about the size and shape of products you need, since the cutting techniques can affect the price. 

Folding the steel can also affect its strength; if the folding is not done well, it can put uneven pressure on the steel and make it vulnerable. One great tool for folding steel is the brake press. This tool will use force to pinch the steel into the desired shape. Learn about your company's options for steel folding and how they affect the strength of your product. 

Welding is another manufacturing process that you may need to use to join several pieces of fabricated steel together. The types of welding materials and outcomes vary greatly, so ask to see examples of welded products from your vendor. 

This brief intro should give you enough vocabulary to begin talking with your steel manufacturer (such as one from Countryside Welding) to decide which types of steel will be right for your project. Note that any process applied to the steel can affect its strength, so make sure that you learn about how your needs will affect steel quality.