Key Components for Your Metal Fabrication Estimate

Aug 29 2016

steel beams stacked for shipping

Massive projects require proper and intricate planning. Cost estimation is usually a core aspect during the planning process. At the same time, you will have to clearly specify the needs of the project, especially if it will involve specially crafted elements like structural steel or sheet metal. Thanks to the use of current technology and machines, large scale metal fabrication projects are now more cost-effective than in the past. However, despite the reduction in metal fabrication costs it is still important to properly estimate the cost of your project. You can largely determine your estimate by considering the following factors:


Materials Used

You will need to present your project requirements to a fabricating company if you want customized metal pieces. In turn, the company will choose the appropriate raw materials and determine the fabrication process required. Each raw material and its respective fabrication process will lead to different estimates. Common materials for fabrication processes include:

  • Welding Wire
  • Castings
  • Fittings
  • Hardware
  • Expanded metal
  • Sectional metal
  • Flat metal

For custom fabrication, castings are the best pick. They provide a high degree of flexibility and customization for precise shapes.


Labor Required

Welder working in fabrication shop.Apart from the physical work involved in metal fabrication, skills required to run CAD software will influence the cost. The best fabricators highly depend on Computer Aided Design to guarantee customer satisfaction. Such fabricators hire highly qualified software specialists to work with clients to transform their ideas into actual metal products.

Computer Numerical Control (CNC) also plays an important part in ensuring precise metal bends and cuts. The process involves the application of pressure, force, and heat. CNC greatly boosts production speed and quality. However, the amount of other physical work required to complete the entire fabrication process influences the number of casual workers. The number of workers involved will affect the fabrication estimate.


Machines Needed

Cranes come in handy when transporting fabricated metal pieces. The best metal fabricating companies not only have manual overhead cranes, but also automatic ones. While running on rails attached to powerful ceiling beams, the cranes can handle custom fabricated metal pieces weighing thousands of tons. With such machines at their disposal, you will end up paying high service charges when you contract such fabricating firms. However, your decision will be worth it since they deliver high quality pieces.


Required Finishing

The nature of your project will also determine the type of finishing the metal pieces require. Achieving a particular surface texture, smooth edges, resistance or appearance are the basic options for finishing fabricated metal. Quick and effective finishing techniques like metal vibratory are expensive hence will lead to higher estimates. Fabricators that use high-end painting and metal blasting machines like the GFS downdraft paint booth will quote highly than others. Regardless of the finishing method, the process presents the following benefits:

  1. Chemical resistance
  2. Enhanced electrical conductivity
  3. Resistance to tarnish
  4. Improved durability
  5. Improved look


Assembly Cost

If the final metal product you require involves assembling the parts, you will have to consider the assembly cost in your estimate. At the same time, confirm with the fabricator if the production costs will be inclusive of the delivery charges. Such information will further help you estimate the expected costs.

Clearly, considering the components highlighted above will help in determining the best cost estimation for your metal fabrication needs. The estimated cost can increase or reduce depending on factors like the fabrication time and technology used. Apart from the cost estimation aspect, it is highly recommended to work with established fabricating companies that do all the processes in-house.

Download our Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Metal Fabrication Company

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