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What Is Fabrication in Welding?

Mar 19, 2021 ·

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The process of welding uses heat and pressure to join metals and other materials together to form new shapes and objects. Material called filler is added to help meld the original pieces.

Welding is used in a range of industries. From automotive maintenance and production to shipbuilding, the skills welders have are utilized and valued.

There are a lot of techniques involved in the process of welding, including what is known as fabrication. Fabrication is defined as taking raw stock material to create an end product. This differs from welding because it covers the entire process of creating a product — from design and cutting to formation and finishing.

Since the two are so closely related, it’s not uncommon for welders to also know fabrication techniques. If you’re interested in finding out more about the process, keep on reading!

What Is Metal Fabrication?

Metal fabrication uses a variety of methods to build structures, machines and other products from raw materials. These materials can include castings, formed and expanded metals, flat metals, plate meal, and welding wire.

Items produced using metal fabrication can include:

  • Cutlery
  • Architectural metals
  • Hand tools
  • Car parts
  • Bolts, nuts and screws
  • Pipes and fittings
  • Forging and stamping projects

Many custom projects and parts are also produced using metal fabrication techniques.

Metal fabrication generally falls into three main categories: industrial, structural and commercial.

  • Industrial fabrication refers to the creation of pieces used in other equipment, which are often used by manufacturers.
  • Structural fabrication pertains to metal parts used in buildings, shops and skyscrapers.
  • Commercial fabrication refers to commercial goods and products, such as appliances.

Fabrication Process

There are many different steps in the fabrication process, some of which are interchangeable depending on what’s being produced. In all instances, the first step is to create a design to work from.

Depending on the scope of the project, some fabricators choose to work with hand-drawn diagrams. For more complex or detailed work, there are computer-aided design (CAD) programs that help with planning and testing models to match exact specifications.

With projects that have a number of parts or high complexity, working prototypes are often created. These help with visualization and allow customers to test them for real-world applications.

Types of Fabrication

After the initial design process comes the step of forming the product itself. There are different methods that can be used depending on what’s being made. These include:

  • Welding: The process of welding is one of the most commonly used fabrication types. It involves the joining of separate metal parts using a combination of heat and pressure. There are many different types of welding that can be used depending on what the project entails.

A welding student makes a cut on a piece of metal in a UTI lab.

  • Cutting: Another common metal fabrication processes is cutting, where sheets of metal are split into smaller sections. The metal can sometimes be pre-shaped before cutting, but most cuts are made on surfaces that have not been molded into anything yet.
  • Machining: This process removes portions from a piece of metal and is often performed using a lathe. The metal is rotated and corners and edges are trimmed so the piece can fit within a desired set of measurements.
  • Casting: During casting, molten metal is poured into a mold and then cooled to form a shape or object. Casting is one of the most flexible types of fabrication, which makes it a good choice for complex shapes or to eliminate extra steps in a project.
  • Stamping: The stamping method involves the use of a press to raise metal without puncturing it, resulting in specific shapes and patterns. This is how letters or images are formed on a metal sheet or panel.
  • Punching: With punching, holes are formed when a piece of metal is placed between a punch and a die. The purpose of punching in most cases is to create holes for the purpose of fastening latches.

Final Steps in the Fabrication Process

After utilizing various methods to form a product, one of the final steps is the finishing process. This is where protective coatings are applied to the outside of the finished work piece to make it look good and to ensure durability.

Some larger projects might require professional installation when completed. Larger and more complex fabrications often need the skill of trained engineers or welders for installation.

Maintenance often happens after installation, since it’s important to keep equipment and other products in good shape to improve longevity. Routine servicing and cleaning of these pieces often get worked into a project plan.

Pursue a Career in Metal Fabrication

Does the process of metal fabrication interest you? If you enjoy working with your hands and putting things together, a career in the field could be a great fit.

You can position yourself to step into the field with an education in welding. The Welding Technology program at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) helps prepare students for careers in a range of industries by teaching them the four main types of arc welding.1

By experiencing these processes, students at UTI gather knowledge and experience that can be taken into different sectors. The Engineering and Fabrication course in the program covers the specifics of fabrication. This course helps students learn how to read blueprints and acquire the right math skills for the planning and fabrication of projects.

Enrolling in the Welding Technology program at UTI can give you the hands-on experience and education you need to pursue a career in metal fabrication.2 The best part is, you can graduate from the program in just 36 weeks.

With classes opening every six weeks, you can apply today and start on the path toward a future you’re excited about! You can also request more information from us here or by calling 800-834-7308.

UTI Campuses That Offer Welding Training

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1) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

2) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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