Sheet metal prototyping is the subtractive manufacturing process of fabricating new-concept products to verify form and function.  It is a versatile and efficient rapid prototyping method used in on-demand manufacturing and metal fabrication across various industries. Each fabrication method can be used for a variety of metals. 

Xometry offers high-quality sheet metal prototyping for a variety of applications, from automotive parts like fenders and floor plans to medical parts like prosthetic components and wheelchair frames. Choosing Xometry for your sheet metal prototyping needs ensures a fast turnaround of high-quality, precise components coupled with exceptional customer service.

Sheet Metal Prototyping Process

The sheet metal prototyping process consists of four steps: design review, digital modeling, production, and final quality inspection. Before sheet metal prototypes are made, the product’s design must first be reviewed and verified for compatibility with the various sheet metal fabrication methods. In this initial stage, the material type, geometry, and appearance requirements are considered to determine the manufacturing method best suited to produce the prototype parts. Once the product design is verified and deemed suitable for sheet metal fabrication processes, the process flow, process parameters, tool paths, and machine settings are created. The production of the sheet metal prototypes will then begin once the process flow and parameters are established. After the sheet metal prototypes are produced, a final quality inspection is completed to ensure dimensional tolerances and aesthetic requirements are met. The parts are then shipped to the company who initially requested the parts to be made.

Materials and Techniques Used for Sheet Metal Prototypes

Many different materials and techniques can be used for the fabrication of sheet metal prototypes. Similarly, many different fabrication methods can be used to convert raw sheet metal material into finished parts. Common materials used for sheet metal prototypes include: steel, stainless steel, aluminum, copper, bronze, titanium, and nickel alloys. Xometry also uses various fabrication methods for sheet metal manufacturing which include: laser cutting, waterjet cutting, plasma cutting, CNC bending, CNC forming, and welding.

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