Tag Archives: engineering

Learning About Metal Fabrication

Metal fabrication is an extremely sought after trade in many industries.

Likewise with specific trades, metal fabrication takes time; and learning the methods of working with metal, training through college and apprenticeships are necessary.

If you are looking for a career in metal fabrication, it is important for you to learn the correct techniques to ensure you are prepared and have the appropriate knowledge for a job in the metal fabrication field.

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Steel fabrication

Steel fabrication is the name given to the process of bending, cutting and shaping steel alloy to create a product.

Cutting would be done by sawing, shearing, or chiselling (all with manual and powered variants); torching with hand held torches (including oxy-fuel torches or plasma torches) and through numerical control cutters, using either a laser, torch or water jet.

Bending is the process of hammering (either powered or by hand) or through press brakes and other similar tools. More recent techniques will use press brakes to either coin or air-bend a metal sheet into a desired form. CNC-controlled back-gauges will use any hard stops in order to position cut parts to then place bend lines in the appropriate position. CNC-controlled press brakes can now be programmed to be seamless and efficient through off-line programming software.

The assembly will be done by binding with adhesives, threaded fasteners, riveting, welding or more bending in the form of a crimped seam. Structural steel and sheet metal are the typical beginning materials for fabrication, along with the welding wire, flux, and fasteners that will join the cut pieces together. The end product from fabrication could be called a fabrication.

Frequent raw metals that are utilised by metal fabricators are:

– Plate metal
– Formed and expanded metal
– Tube stock
– Welding wire/welding rod
– Casting

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Welding is the key focus of steel fabrication.

The parts that have been formed and machine will then be assembled and tack welded into place and then checked again for accuracy. It is possible a fixture may need to be used to locate the parts for welding if multiple weldments have been ordered.

The welder will then continue to finish the welding against the engineering drawing if the welding is has a detailed plan, or against their own judgment on the chance no details have been given.

Precautions may need to be taken to prevent any warping of the weldment due to the heat. It may call for a re-design of the weldment to use less weld, welding in a staggered fashion, using a stout fixture, covering the weldment in sand during cooling, and the straightening operations once done welding.

The straightening of steel weldments that have warped would be done with an Oxy-acetylene torch; heat would be applied to the steel in a linear sweep in a slow motion. The steel should have a net contraction, once cooled, following the direction of the sweep.

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Welding: a history

The method of welding is the practice of using heat to join materials together, using equipment that utilises open flame, an electric arc or laser light.

Middle Ages – The Bronze Age is the earliest evidence of welding that can be traced back.
An early example was the welding of gold boxes that belonged to the Bronze Age, the Egyptians had also apparently learnt the art of welding – several of their iron tools were made using the joining method.

1800 – A milestone in the history of welding was the use of open flames (acetylene) as it allowed the manufacture of intricate metal tools and equipments.
The discovery of acetylene was made in 1836 by an Englishman named Edmund Davy; acetylene was since utilised by the welding industry.
Another tool that was used extensively in welding metals was that of a battery operated tool which could produce an arc between carbon electrodes, invented by Sir Humphrey Davy.

1880 – In 1881, Auguste De Meritens, a French scientist succeeded in fusing lead plates by using the heat generated from an arc.
Later an electrode holder was manufactured by Russian scientist Nikolai N. Benardos and his compatriot Stanislaus Olszewski.

1890 – The 1890’s popular method of welding was carbon arc welding.

1900 – Strohmanger first introduced coated metal electrode in 1900, to help with the stability of the arc, a coating of lime would have been applied.
More welding methods would have been developed during this time, including seam welding, spot welding, flash but welding, and projection welding.

1920 – This was the first introduction of automatic welding, specifically used for repairing and molding metals.

1930 – The development of stud welding was in this time period by the New York Navy Yard.
Stud welding was increasingly used for shipbuilding and the general construction industry,

1950 – The CO2 welding process had become popularised by Lyubavskii and Novoshilov in 1953, becoming a part of the process of choice for welding steels.

1960 – Advancements in the 1960s saw dual shield welding, inner shield, and Electroslag welding were among the most important developments in that decade.

Most Recent – The most recent developments in the welding industry include the friction welding process developed in Russia and laser welding.

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What are Hydraulic Cylinders?

Hydraulic cylinders are devices that converts the energy stored in the hydraulic fluid into a force used to move the cylinder in a linear direction.

Hydraulic cylinders

An example of a hydraulic cylinder

The device consists of a cylindrical barrel, piston, and a piston rod.
The piston within the barrel is connected to the piston rod, and the cylindrical bottom and head closes the bottom and the head of barrel respectively.
The cylinder head is situated where the piston rod exits the cylinder.


Hydraulic cylinders are classified according function.

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How do hydraulic cylinders work?

How exactly do hydraulic cylinders work?

hydraulic cylindersHydraulic cylinders are a complicated technology; they work from a mixture of pressure and movement in the cylinders themselves, which gives the energy of motion. Pressure is formed in the cylinders through hydraulic fuel, which stores the pressure under the cylinders. The energy in the oils are converted to motion through this process. In a hydraulic system, a motor consists of at least one hydraulic cylinder, but there are usually more. A pump is used to control the oil-flow in the system, which is part of the generator in the hydraulic system.

A hydraulic cylinder is built from a barrel, piston and piston rod. The piston itself is put into position inside the barrel, being connected to the piston rod. The base of the cylinder, and the head, are responsible for the closure of the head and base of the barrel. The bottom of the cylinder and the piston rod are then mounted through brackets. The piston in the cylinder consists of a number of seals and rings.

The process begins with the piston rod moving outwards, which builds in motion as the hydraulic fluid enters the base of the cylinder. A reversal of this is possible, where hydraulic fluid goes back into the reservoir from being pushed by the piston.

Varying classifications of hydraulic cylinders:

Single Acting Cylinders:

In single cylinders, the process is rather simple: the fluid is pressurised from one side in both the expansion and retraction process. A spring is used to return the cylinder to its original position.

Double Acting Cylinders

In double acting cylinders, any pressure generated from the fluid can be applied in both directions, which gives more power compared to single cylinders. The springs used in single cylinders aren’t used in stroke applications that require a large process, as there are problems associated with the spring.

hydraulic cylinder

An example of a hydraulic cylinder

What should you consider when buying a hydraulic cylinder?

These specs will need to be classified, yet here’s what you should be looking at:

  • Stroke
  • Bore Diameter
  • Cylinder Type
  • Rod Diameter
  • Operating Pressure Levels

For more on hydraulic cylinders, how they work and what they’re used for, please visit our website here.