Machining vs. Fabrication

What is Fabrication?

So what is metal fabrication? Fabrication involves creating objects and parts from raw materials such as sheet metal. More specifically, fabrication involves techniques such as bending, punching, cutting, and welding. Here at PMF we also perform assembly and powder coating as well. Meanwhile, machining entails a broader variety of strategies that utilize alternative technologies.

Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication

At Precision Machine Fabrication, we specialize in custom sheet metal fabrication for a variety of industries. We fabricate parts, assemblies, and chassis for the commercial, electronics, computer, communications, medical, home appliance, retail, industrial, and power-management industries.

At first glance, however, people can assume that we are a machine shop. We are more accurately considered a metal fabrication shop. Many people don’t know the difference between the two facilities and often get the two confused. 

What is A Fabrication Shop?

Metal fabrication facilities generally start with flat sheets of metal and go onto laser cut, punch out, bend, weld, powder coat, and assemble finished parts.

What Does A Machine Shop Do?

Most machine shops, on the other hand, start with blocks of metal (round, square, or rectangular solid rods or tubing) and create finished parts through sawing, milling, drilling, and turning processes.

Image of PMF’s Machine Fabrication Process
Image of PMF’s Sheet Metal Fabrication

Sheet Metal Fabrication Shop

If you think about it in regards to the art world, machine shops “sculpt” metal into a finished form by removing the excess material while fabrication can be more closely related to making origami through cutting, bending, and forming a flat sheet into a finished form.

While we are not a machining company, PMF does offer an in-house machine shop. But, it is primarily focused on small-run jobs that supplement our primary production portfolio. We also utilize this equipment to modify tooling and develop fixtures in-house.

Metal Fabrication Projects We Don’t Do

While PMF does perform metal fabrication projects in a wide variety of industries, there are certain areas we cannot focus our efforts in. For example, PMF does not offer HVAC or ductwork services. Despite the equipment and processes are similar in this type of fabrication, the business models are very different and there is little overlap. As a result, we focus on high-precision, close-tolerance fabrication of custom parts for OEM’s instead.

PMF does not offer residential fabrication services. Our internal process as a fabrication shop is better suited for medium to high volume production. Furthermore, we do not have to resources to provide cost estimates and design services necessary for most residential projects. We are generally unable to perform “one-off” jobs or backyard projects.

In order to be competitive in the medium- to high-volume market, our production schedule must remain firm. We find that it’s both disruptive and not profitable for us to focus on these individual one-time jobs for individuals. If you’re looking for help with this type of project, however, give us a call and we will try to suggest local fabrication shops better suited to help you.

What Our Customers Say

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We pride ourselves in being able to handle any job, deliver on time, and guarantee the highest level of quality. From prototype to production, Precision Machine Fabrication are your go-to custom metal fabrication experts. Find out how we can support your next project!


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