Basic Fabrication Steps

Doesn't matter what we're planning to build there are some basic steps that we go through in the process of fabrication or welding up any metal fabricated object. The first step comes in determining the design, concept or shape of the unit we want to build or weld. Sometimes it is something unique that we have designed ourselves. More frequently in industry we have to build a part that conforms to a blueprint or technical drawing. It is from that drawing or sketch that we determine the steps necessary for fabrication. How many of this part, or which part first and which part goes second or just some of the many steps we need to think about before we start. Many times the manufacturing traveler is developed to guide the fabrication steps. A good quality control program will require the use of it.

Once we have put together a plan on what we're going to do, we need to put together a list of tools, equipment and machinery that will be required in the process of fabrication. Sometimes we have everything we need, but frequently we have to rent, borrow or buy some new equipment to meet the requirements of the job. You might even want to manufacture some jigs, fixtures, guides, templates or other specialty equipment necessary to complete the job.

The raw material will need to be cut to length or size depending upon the type of material. Bar, pipe and long shapes will need to be cut to length using a saw or other tool. Plate and she can be cut down with torches,shears and other shape cutting equipment. The bill of materials on the drawing will be a good guide for figuring out how many and what type of parts we need. Any layout that's necessary may also be required at this point. We may also need to prepare the edge of a joint or parts that require some prep before welding. This should be part of the initial plan so that mistakes are not made.

Once all the parts are made, we need the process of fit up to begin. As we fit up the parts, we need to consider how we're going to brace, clamp or secure the parts in position to prevent warpage or distortion during the welding process. We also need to consider any shrinkage that may occur after we get done welding. We should carefully placed tack welds so they get consumed during the normal welding process of the component. Once we think fit up is complete, before we start welding, you should have somebody inspect the part to make sure it meets the drawing requirements.

Once the part is together clamped braced and ready for welding the permanent welds can be placed on the part as needed. Many times it's easy to put the welding symbols on the part itself to help guide the welding and make sure that no mistakes are made. We need to be careful to make sure that the welds are complete and meet the size requirements necessary to meet the design.

Once all welding is complete, inspection should be done to be sure there are no discontinuities or defects that might cause the parts to be rejected by the end user. Inspection should be done in accordance with the criteria of the codes used on the project.

After the part has been inspected and accepted, the finishing process can commence. We need to make sure that any weld cleanup needed is done before finishing starts. Depending on the drawing requirements the part may be painted, plated, powder coated, or other types of finishing. It's apart is made of steel something must be done to prevent corrosion or rusting. If the part is made of stainless sometimes the finish is a process called passivation. Electropolishing is also another type of finishing that can occur.

Check out the Longevity website (www.longevity-inc.com) or YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/longevitywelding) for more details and information about equipment for different welding and cutting processes. Longevity has the right machine for your exact application, so take a look and choose what is the best fit for your materials, product and needs.