History of Sheet Metal Fabrication: From Egyptian Jewelry to CNC Machining Services

precision cnc machining servicesPrecision CNC machining services are essential to dozens of modern industries, including the military, health care, lighting, automotive, and energy industries. Currently, industrial sheet metal is the number one most common type of metal used in manufacturing jobs, and you can even find plates of sheet metal lining the iconic art-deco facade of the Chrysler Building. Without precision CNC machining services, the industries that rely on metal fabrication would be significantly less productive and constantly struggle with fabrication efficiency and metal quality.

Luckily, thanks to advancements in technology and metal fabrication, 5 axis machining is a viable option for machining companies across the globe — but it wasn’t always that way.

Sheet metal itself has been used for countless purposes across the millennia. In fact, scholars estimate that sheet metal was first used at some point between 5,000 B.C. and 4,000 B.C. Early sheet metal fabrication can even be traced back to Egyptian jewelry, which utilized natural metals like copper, silver, and gold and some prehistoric techniques to achieve a luxurious appearance. Ancient Egyptian metalworkers would overlay a copper alloy with gold or silver sheets, which was shaped into place. Similar techniques were likely used by other early civilizations, and sheet metal has been observed in Roman and Mycenaean artifacts as well. These techniques all utilized malleable metals like gold or silver, which allowed metal workers to rely on simple hand tools such as hammers.

During the 1400s, Leonardo da Vinci famously drew a sketch outlining his idea for a rolling mill, which debuted about 100 years after his sketch. The famous 1590 rolling mill featured two heavy cylinders that pressed various kinds of metal to alter their thickness — an old fashioned, but effective, fabrication technique.

Following the first rolling mills, the 17th century saw factories heating up cast iron in order to liquefy material in furnaces, but it wasn’t especially effective since it relied on a single flame. Industrial plants, however, soon began producing lead and tin plates, while Russian engineers began designing a new system for heating metal: a hydronic-based heating system.

While inventors and metalworkers around the world experimented with various sheet metal fabrication techniques, the history of sheet metal really began in earnest in the lead up to the Industrial Revolution. This exciting time in manufacturing history resulted in a surge of sheet metal fabrication work, new innovations, and, eventually advancements in workplace regulations and technology that are still in place to this day.

A combination of improved heating sources and advancements in rolling mill design allowed metal workers to create large amounts of sheet metal from a wider variety of metals. In fact, the rolling mills developed during the Industrial Revolution are very similar to the machines used in metal fabrication today.

The history of machining began with a very basic tool. Shears, essentially heavy duty scissors, were used to cut sheet metal into desired shapes. Of course, as technology improved in the 19th and 20th century, sheet metal machining evolved past the shear.

With the advent of computer science in the 1950s, metal workers could use precision CNC machining services to create ever more sophisticated parts. Eventually, precision CNC machining services evolved into the high tech 5 axis machining used by our metal fabrication company today.

Thanks to precision CNC machining services and other high tech advancements, the future of sheet metal looks just as promising as it did in the past. It’s estimated that the international metal fabrication equipment market will grow by nearly 7% by the year 2020, and it will likely continue to rise in the years that follow.

If you want to learn more about our precision CNC machining services or work with a Pennsylvania CNC machining company to ensure a high quality metal fabrication job, contact York Haven Fabricators today.

YHFab Gets New Equipment!

precision cnc machining servicesYork Haven Fabricators invests in a new Hurco VMX Machining Center. Our machining center delivers high performance capabilities to any machining application. Whether you are doing batch production or die/mold work, York Haven Fabricators can machine your parts in larger quantities, with higher quality, and deliver in less time.

precision cnc machining services

If you want to learn more about all the benefits of precision CNC machining services or work with a credible CNC machining company, contact York Haven Fabricators today.

About Precision CNC Machining: How It Works

precision cnc machining servicesPrecision CNC machining services are essential for dozens of industries. Everything from telecommunications and Fiber Optics to food manufacturing and aerospace technology relies, in some form, on precision CNC machining services.

Computer numerical control (CNC) machines have been providing modern precision services since World War II, becoming industry standard during the late 1960s. Today, since industrial sheet metal is the number one most common type of metal across the manufacturing sector, CNC machining is used much more frequently for sheet metal fabrication than in days gone by. But this type of machining has been providing precision tool automation for decades, and with recent developments in the computer industry, the term “precision machining” has taken on an entirely new meaning.

But how does the actual machining process work?

Computer aided machining now allows for the manufacturing of very precise, very necessary parts with the most precise specifications. This type of machining can produce all kinds of complex components with a degree of accuracy never before seen. Whether it’s lathes, routers, mills, grinders, or dozens of other tools and components, all of these can be controlled by CNC precision machining.

Today, 5 axis machining is similar to traditional CNC machining, but it uses CNC machines to move a workpiece along five different axes simultaneously. Because of the five axes, much higher levels of precision are able to be obtained and very small complex parts can be controlled. Though 5 axis machining involves highly advanced technology and increased accuracy, this process remains quite affordable.

Thanks to a stronger emphasis on precision and accuracy over the years, CNC machining can reach tolerances as low as 0.002 inches. No matter what industry you’re working in, you’re going to need State of the Art programming software, as well as highly accurate and highly capable tools, to ensure success. Proper CNC machining is necessary in all aspect of manufacturing and programming.

Plus, thanks to the Internet, it’s never been easier to share designs with precision CNC machining services, even if they’re on the opposite side of the world. Your specifications and designs can be easily downloaded and stored so that quality machine shops can produce your parts down to the thousandth of an inch.

There are so many careers that would be essentially obsolete if it wasn’t for precision CNC machining. Though the technology has rapidly improved over the last few decades, it looks like CNC machining isn’t going anywhere. If you want to learn more about all the benefits of precision CNC machining services or work with a credible CNC machining company, contact York Haven Fabricators today.

Sheet Metal Fabrication: 3 Aspects to Focus On

sheet metal fabricationSheet metal fabrication is an essential part of the manufacturing market. Dozens of industries are impacted by various sheet metal procedures and not just across the United States. In fact, by the year 2020 the international metal fabrication equipment market is expected to grow by nearly 7%.

Because of the importance of sheet metal fabrication, it’s good to know some of the best ways to manufacture these sheet metal parts. From 5 axis machining to 3D printing, there are all kinds of fabrication methods that require skilled and knowledgeable design workers. Here are some aspects of metal fabrication that you should know about.

Sheet thickness
The metal wall thickness is essential for each piece of sheet metal no matter what it’s being used for. Metal parts should maintain a uniform wall thickness throughout the entirety of the fabrication process, too. It should be relatively easy to maintain the same thickness throughout because the single sheet of metal is all you’ll be using.

Sheet metal brake bends
A sheet’s bends can make or break an entire product. Bends in the same plane should be manufactured to go in the same exact direction as the other bends to avoid the focus of the sheet being drastically shifted during fabrication. If the bends remain consistent, however, you’ll save money and time. A good rule of thumb for preventing sheet fracturing is to have the inside bend radius the same as the sheet’s thickness. In addition to bends, curls are just as important. Sheet holes should be located away from the curl and the curls’ outside radius should be at least twice the sheet’s thickness.

Sheet metal hems
Hems are folds to the edge of a part the result in rounded and safe edges. A sheet’s hems can be flat, tear-dropped, or open, but it all depends on the sheet’s thickness or overall radius. It’s not recommended to use flat hems, however, because they often lead to fractures.

If you want to learn more about precision CNC machining services for quality manufacturing or find some of the best sheet metal fabrication Pennsylvania has to offer, contact York Haven Fabricators today.

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5 Axis Machining 101: How It Works

5 axis machiningMetal fabrication is a complicated process that requires both experienced labor and high quality machinery. The major benefit of 5 axis machining is the ability to machine couples shapes in a single set-up, subsequently providing greater machining productivity and making the entire task more time efficient.

In simpler terms, a block of material is manipulated until the unnecessary bits have been removed and the target object is all that’s left. Hopefully this will help you better understand how 5 axis machining is used within the metal fabrication industry.

5 Axis CNC Machining — Computer numerical control (CNC) manufacturing uses a multiaxis machining software system to support the milling away of access material by either water jet cutting or laser cutting. With these precision CNC machining services, the amount of human labor is drastically reduced for each milling task, a more precise surface finish can be obtained, and much more complex parts can be manufactured.

A 5 axis CNC machine simultaneously moves a tool to perform a milling job and remove excess material from an object. However, 3 axis machining only moves a part in two directions while the tool moves up and down. The number of axes for multi axis machines can range from 2 to 9, with 5 being the most common.

The 5 Axes Configurations — A 5 axis machine’s specific configuration determines which rotational ages (of the three) it will utilize during a milling task. A common style of 5 axis machinery operates with an A-axis rotating about the X-axis and a C-axis rotating about the Z-axis. Consequently, a swivel-rotate-style axis machine operates with a B-axis rotating about the Y-axis and a C-axis rotating about the Z-axis.

Getting The Most Out of 5 Axis Machining — Since 5 axis capabilities are often under-utilized across various industries, it’s important to use high quality equipment and take excellent care of its maintenance needs.

“Some may have the machine but not understand it’s full capability, or they may not have the software that’s needed to create a cutting program that would utilize the machine’s full capabilities,” said Mike Finn, Mazak America’s industrial applications engineering manager. “When you’re doing high-speed 5-axis machining, the servo drives on the machine and the response time is very important to avoid shortcutting or overshooting when machining.”

If you want to learn more about how 5 axis machining can help your company, or find some of the best sheet metal fabrication Pennsylvania has to offer, contact York Haven Fabricators today.

FAQ: Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining

cnc machining companyComputer numerical control (CNC) machining is an integral part of various industries, from the military to automakers and energy companies. If your business is working alongside a quality CNC machining company, then it’s important to understand the ins and outs of the sheet metal fabrication industry.

While we can’t teach you everything there is to know about this complex process in a single blog post, we can give you the basic resources you need to work well with a precision sheet metal fabrication company. Here are a few frequently asked questions about understanding precision CNC machining services, sheet metal fabrication, and industrial metal uses.

What type of metal is used most in the industry?
When it comes to the manufacturing industry, industrial sheet metal is the most commonly used type of metal.

How long has sheet metal been in use?
According to most scholars, sheet metal was first implemented for industrial use between 5,000 and 4,000 B.C. As far as CNC machining and other modern precision fabricating machines are concerned, however, they were introduced after the Second World War. With advancements in computer and laser technology, machining tools have gotten more and more precise.

How does the sheet metal industry affect U.S. employment?
Currently, fabricated metals, in terms of employment, are responsible for the third largest manufacturing industry throughout the United States. As of 2015, the most common metal fabrication profession is a machinist.

Has sheet metal improved over the years?
Sheet metal is much more durable today than it was just 10 years ago, let alone 5,000 years ago. Over the last decade, for example, steel parts have become much more dent resistant and are even up to 30% stronger.

How much metal is recycled every year?
Though there are numerous uses for sheet metal across various industries, these metals are easily recycled as well. Approximately 69% of all waste steel is recycled every year across North America, making it one of the most commonly recycled materials on the planet.

What does the future look like for the metal fabrication industry?
The need for sheet metal will likely never go away. By the year 2020, it’s projected that the international metal fabrication equipment market will grow by nearly 7%. Because the military, automobile companies, energy companies, and even medical companies rely on sheet metal, the industry is proving resistant to other negative trends in the manufacturing sector.

These are just a few common questions we’ve heard at our CNC machining company over the years. If you want to learn more about the sheet metal industry, 5 axis machining, or speak with a credible CNC machining company, contact York Haven Fabricators today.

Sire Custom Performance Film Documentary

Here is a short documentary about Los Angeles based automotive fabricator Yannick Sire. A true artist in his field, he created a twin engine monster from scratch, with spare parts, and no computer aided design, in his garage.