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, our machine fabrication process involves techniques such as bending, punching, cutting, and welding. Here at Precision Machine Fabrication we also perform assembly and powder coating as well. Meanwhile, machining entails a broader variety of strategies that utilize alternative technologies.

What is Machining?

Machining and fabrication are different because machining entails a broader variety of strategies that utilize alternative technologies. In general, machining is the removal of excess metal to make a finished product. Common machining practices include milling, drilling, and turning (lathe work).

What is Manufacturing?

When comparing manufacturing vs fabrication, the difference is clear. Manufacturing refers to the assembly of metal parts to create a final product, while fabrication refers to the actual creation of those metal parts. At Precision Machine Fabrication, we do both for our clients.

Learn more about our manufacturing services.

Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication

At Precision Machine Fabrication, we specialize in custom sheet metal fabrication for a variety of industries. We fabricate sheet metal 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?

A metal fabrication shop is a facility that generally starts with flat sheets of metal and goes on to 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 equipment

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 Precision Machine Fabrication 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 being 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.

Precision Machine Fabrication 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 the 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.

Finally, please keep in mind that our team is happy to work on designs supplied by our customers but we do not develop original designs ourselves.

Image of PMF’s fabrication shop

What Our Customers Say

[testimonial_rotator id=548]


Give us a call to discuss your custom sheet metal fabrication needs today!


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. Contact us today to get started on your next project!

Contact Us!

Pin It on Pinterest