The Difference Between Metal Fabrication and Welding

October 26, 2021 | By JETechnology Staff

If you’ve ever wondered if welding and fabrication were the same things, you are not alone. While many people use metal fabrication and welding in the same context, they are distinct terms used to describe separate processes.

The difference between welding and metal fabrication is that welding is a more specific process that is often one aspect of metal fabrication.

What Is Metal Fabrication?

Metal fabrication is the comprehensive process of creating a metal product or machine, from design to formation. Many of the products you use daily are crafted through metal fabrication, including railings, keys, heavy machinery and cars. Welding is a technique used in the fabrication process.

What Is Welding?

Welding is when two pieces of metal with similar compositions and melting points are joined together. The two metals are melted under high heat, then they fuse together as they cool and harden. Welding is an essential process in numerous metal fabrication projects and is used to repair, craft and strengthen many everyday products.

Differences in Fabrication and Welding Tools

Fabricators use a diverse range of tools throughout the fabrication process. There are various cutting tools such as mechanical saws, plasma torches and laser cutters. Fabricators also use lathes to remove parts of the metal and stretchers and shears to create necessary angles to the metal.

Welding uses tools such as welding clamps, power sources, torches and consumable electrodes. Welders also need specific safety equipment, including auto-darkening welding helmets and respirators to protect their eyes and lungs from ultraviolet rays and toxic fumes.

Differences in Fabrication and Welding Processes

Fabrication typically involves many processes, including cutting, machining and bending. Metal fabrication begins with layout and design. When the design is finalized, the next step is usually cutting large metal sheets down to the proper size. Then, the metal is shaped, bent, stretched or cut depending on the end goal to get the desired form.

With welding, the end goal is always the same — to permanently fuse two pieces of material. There are many techniques used to accomplish this result, each with pros and cons. Just a few of the many possible welding processes include gas metal arc welding, flux core arc welding and shielded metal arc welding.

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