How Custom Metal Fabrication Works: The Primary Operations

Metal fabrication is the process of creating metal products or components from raw materials through different operations. Designing, cutting, bending, welding, assembly and finishing are some primary operations that make custom metal fabrication work.

Primary Operations in Custom Metal Fabrication


Every metal fabrication project starts with a design. In this process, design engineers and fabricators analyze the concept, specifications, and characteristics of the metal component before going into production.

This process sets custom metal fabrication apart from the traditional fabrication. Custom metal fabricators work on designs and specifications set by the clients. Some clients and projects might also require custom engineering from the metal fabricators.


Metal cutting is the first step in a custom metal fabrication project. Raw materials are cut to certain sizes or shapes indicated in the project specifications. There are different techniques in cutting metal — water jet, laser-cut, plasma cut, lathe, and grinding.


Metal bending is the process of applying force to the material until it deforms to a certain shape, which is commonly a “V” or “U” shape. Metal bending can be done with different machines, tools, and techniques. Hydraulic, pneumatic, mechanical and CNC press brakes are some examples.


Welding is commonly mistaken as the same process as metal fabrication. Welding and metal fabrication are different from each other.

Welding is the process of joining metals together using high levels of heat. There are different methods to weld metal such as gas metal arc welding, also referred to as metal inert gas (MIG); gas tungsten arc gas welding or tungsten inert gas (TIG); and flux cored arc welding (FCAW).

Assembly and Finishing

The last process in custom metal fabrication is the assembly and finishing of metal parts. Metal components undergo this processes to ensure strength, durability and other blueprint specified qualities.

When it comes to metal finishing, there are 4 common finishing options for metal fabrication projects — galvanizing, metal plating, powder coating and anodizing.

Many industries need metal fabrication in their operations — from tanks to belt guards to diffusers and more. Custom metal fabrication has 3 key advantages over the traditional fabrication.

Contact OK Fab and Machining now and get a quote or custom engineering assistance for your next project!