sheet metal DFM

It’s hard to believe we’ve been blogging regularly for nearly two years now! We love using this space to keep customers informed about shop updates and Design for Manufacturing (DFM) tips that can save them time and money.

Today, we’re rounding up seven can’t-miss blogs from 2022 on designing for sheet metal fabrication services. 

1. What Is a Manufacturable Model and Why Is It Important for Metal Fabrication Services? 

3D models play a critical role in most manufacturing processes.
Customers use 3D models to visualize a product before it becomes tangible and engineer load calculations to prove a product will meet specific design criteria—to name a couple of common use cases.

Sheet metal fabricators rely on 3D models for different but equally important reasons. A big one is programming machines to create customers’ parts as quickly and accurately as possible.

For this reason, we encourage all customers to provide manufacturable models when requesting metal fabrication services.

Read the quick tips 

2. DFM Tips: Best Practices for Designing Tube Laser Parts 

When your custom fabrication requires metal tubes or structural members, tube laser cutting is the best bet for speed, precision, flexibility, and accuracy. 

However, as with any manufacturing method, there are standard best practices to follow when requesting tube laser cutting services: 

  • Watch the weight
  • Allow space for an initial cutoff and subsequent part-offs
  • Tolerance tube laser parts from the center
  • Avoid over-tolerancing tube laser parts
  • Consider bundling materials 

Read more about each tip

3. How to Design a Sheet Metal Part Any Shop Can Make in Their Sleep 

When you need a high-quality sheet metal part turned around quickly and cost-effectively, it helps to make your precision sheet metal fabrication partner’s job as easy as possible.

We share our industry secrets for designing sheet metal parts any shop can make in their sleep: 

  • Design flanges long enough for the particular material thickness 
  • Avoid designing features too close to bends
  • Use readily available materials
  • Draw your model as sheet metal
  • Radius sharp corners
  • Be flexible about your bend radius
  • Provide a drawing in addition to a model 
  • Leave room for tooling to bend the part 

Read more about each industry secret

4. Four Guidelines for Avoiding Ugly Sheet Metal Parts 

Nobody likes an ugly part! 

One thing that sets Ameritex apart from your typical garage shop is that we can make your custom fabrications look just as good as they function. But it’s hard to achieve a cosmetic finish when the design itself doesn’t support that goal. 

Here are four simple guidelines for avoiding ugly parts when you request sheet metal fabrication services: 

  • Avoid raw metal edges
  • Avoid fully welded assemblies
  • Avoid large expanses of flat sheet metal
  • Compensate for the radii of bends and structural pieces in your assembly 

Read more about each guideline.

5. Sheet Metal Corner Treatments You Should Know About 

Corner treatments serve essential functional, mechanical, and cosmetic purposes, so it’s important to be mindful of best practices for using them. 

We take a closer look at the different corner treatments you should know about before designing your next part: 

  • Corner reliefs
  • Gaps and overlaps 
  • Corner chamfers and radii 

Read more about each corner treatment

6. How Your Fabricator Can Help with Your Sheet Metal Fabrication Design 

When designers and engineers request quotes for metal fabrication services, our standard practice is to conduct a Design for Manufacturability (DFM) review to ensure that each part and assembly can flow through our shop efficiently. 

In most cases, we identify opportunities to optimize designs to improve quality, cost, and lead time. Unfortunately, we don’t always have enough time to make these adjustments without impacting customers’ delivery timelines. 

You deserve the best custom fabrications, and we love building perfect parts. That’s why we recommend involving us early in the design phase instead of waiting until you’re ready for a quote. 

Read more about involving your sheet metal fabricator in the design phase

7. Best Practices for Weatherproofing Sheet Metal Fabricated Enclosures 

In our experience providing sheet metal fabrication services for NEMA 3R, NEMA 4, and NEMA 4X enclosures, we’ve identified helpful tips and best practices that we want to pass on to our customers: 

  • Design NEMA 3R enclosures to shed water
  • Design gaskets in all openings of NEMA 4 and 4X enclosures
  • Design bolt hole centers strategically 
  • Identify the right latching for your enclosure 

Read more about each tip

Get a Quote from Ameritex

When you need sheet metal fabrication, tube laser cutting, or precision machining services, Ameritex is here to deliver. Request a quote for your next project