Metal fabrication and machine work are used in many different ways. A good metal fabrication shop will often have machinists, welders, CNC operators, and fabricators working together or one person that is skilled in all of those areas. When you need something made from metal, a manual machining fabrication shop can help create the item to meet your needs.

Machine Work

Making a product out of a piece of raw metal is not as simple as it may look, but a skilled machinist will often be able to use manual machining skills to shape and design items with just a few tools in addition to a good eye for the design. While there are some machinists still working with manual machinery, many of the processes are becoming computer-driven, so finding someone skilled enough to work without a computer is becoming less common. 

CNC (Computer Numerical Control) machinery is on the rise and can be used to mill, turn, drill, and cut metal in one machine. From there they create the item from a CAD (computer-aided drafting) design. Using CNC machinery requires a different skill set because of the design and programming that needs to be done before the work starts, but modern fabrication shops often have a designer or programmer in-house and machinists operating the CNC machines in the shop.

Product Design

If you have an item or product you need to be made, you will need to have a design for the steel fabrication shop to work from. If you are working with a shop that has a designer in-house, they can take your rough sketch and put together a design. They will however need the dimensions of the item and may have you walk them through the design so they understand your needs correctly. 

Once the design is complete, the steel fabrication shop can begin work on the item for you. Manual machining, CNC machining, or a combination of the two can be used to make the item for you. If you are going to need to recreate the item multiple times, the machine shop may want to make a CNC program so they can reproduce it without the need for a lot of setups each time. 


Sometimes the way an item or part is made will get the part close to what you need, but there may be some trial and error that you need to work through. Prototyping the item is simply having the steel fabrication shop make a part so you can try it, and then make adjustments to the design until it works for you.

Sometimes this means changing the part slightly, and other times it means remaking the item with significant changes to the design. The design may change as you work through this process, so working with a shop to prototype your design can take some time, but will be worth it in the end.