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Metal Forming vs Welding: How Understanding Metal Affects Your Metal Projects

“What is metal forming? How is this type of metal fabrication service different than cutting and joining methods, such as welding? How will metal forming change (or better) the outcome of my metal project?”

These are the kinds of questions that we frequently hear from clients that are not yet familiar with the processes of metal working. “Is metal forming better for my project?” they ask. Our answer?

Maybe!

Firstly, we must work to encourage an understanding of the metal working processes with our clients. Most people are familiar with welding—we’ve all been told as children to be careful to look away when we see someone wielding welding equipment. We probably all used a soldering iron at some point during our high school shop class.

Cutting and joining methods are far more familiar to people than metal forming, so our first task is to help you understand metal forming. As designers and engineers, we know all the tricks to optimizing your metal project, both for time and cost savings.

What is metal forming?

Metal forming processes, in highly simplified terms, use stress and pressure to form desired shapes into metal. These processes can include any of the following:

  • Rolling, where the metal is passed through a pair of rollers

  • Extrusion, in which metal is pushed through a hole or cut shape

  • Die forming, in which metal is stamped by a press onto or around a shape (die)

  • Forging, where the metal is shaped by localized compression

  • Indenting, where a tool is pressed into the metal to create a shape or hole

These are just a few of the ways that we practice metal forming here at Cutting Edge Laser. We also use stretching techniques, spinning, and bending. Any of these processes may include hot forming (the use of heat to make the metal more pliable), but cold forming is also commonly used at our facility.

Why We Love Metal Forming:

The metal forming process allows us to create a cohesive whole. Rather than pieces and bits of metal being cut and joined multiple times throughout a project, creating a look of a puzzle, metal forming allows one piece of metal to become a whole formed object. This jointless, seamless piece of metalwork not only has a wonderful strength to it, it also achieves a beautiful cohesive look as a whole.

Additionally, it usually is able to save lots of time (and therefore money!) for our clients. Rather than the laborious steps involved in slowly piecing something together, we are able to carefully create the end result in one go, or by creating multiple metal formed pieces and quickly joining those fewer pieces together to create the whole.

Not only this, but metal forming almost invariably produces items with uniform characteristics across its subprocesses than its contemporary processes, cutting and joining. This uniformity benefits clients by:

  • Ensuring all manufactured items measure up to the same quality standards

  • Ensuring a uniform look for the end product

  • Ensuring any pieces that must be joined or used in conjunction with other uniform pieces will match precisely, saving labor time and discarded materials

While cutting and joining methods, such as welding processes will always be a useful and beneficial capability, it may be that for your next metalworking project, metal forming will better suit your wallet and your end goals.

Talk to our experts about your metalworking projects—lets see whether traditional technology or cutting edge methods will be your best fit. Our metal forming processes give you the best of both worlds— they can save you money while producing a higher quality product. 

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