Metal Fabrication Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Frequently Asked Questions About EVS Metal

How can I get in touch with EVS Metal or request a metal fabrication quote?

For general inquiries and facility direct lines, please see our “Contacts + Locations” page. For quotes and project estimations, please see our “Request a Quote” page. You can also call our toll-free number at 1-888-9-EVSMET.

How many precision sheet metal fabrication facilities does EVS have?

EVS Metal has four metal fab facilities, all in the U.S. They are located in Riverdale, New Jersey (also the company’s HQ); Pflugerville, Texas; Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania; and Keene, New Hampshire. EVS’s TX and PA facilities also have substantial CNC machining capabilities. All four facilities are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, from automated bending robots to the latest turret punch presses. 

What types of fabricated metal parts and products does EVS Metal produce?

EVS has the capabilities in-house to manufacture nearly any type of product that can be fabricated using precision sheet metal processes. These include metal enclosures, assemblies and weldments, as well as individual parts. 

What sets EVS Metal apart from other metal fabricators?

Unlike most metal fabrication companies, EVS Metal is an end-to-end fabricator that keeps all of its processes in-house. From design and engineering assistance, to fabrication and finishing, all the way to final product delivery, EVS has the capabilities to do it all, all under one roof.

What areas does EVS Metal serve?

EVS Metal serves customers across North America. Our facilities are conveniently located just outside major urban areas and business hubs, such as New York City, Philadelphia, Boston, Austin, Dallas and Ft. Worth. We offer delivery of orders within a 300-mile radius of our locations via our fleet of trucks, and we are able to arrange shipping as well when parts need to be transported over longer distances.

What does EVS stand for?

EVS stands for Electronic Vision Systems, an operating corporation that purchased the assets of a very small metal fab shop back in 1994. The name of the corporation was not changed, and the founders decided to use EVS Metal as the DBA company name. All invoices and orders are addressed to EVS Metal.

When was EVS Metal founded?

EVS Metal was founded in 1994, in New Jersey, by Scott Berkowitz and Joseph Amico. Both men still own the company today, and occupy executive roles that require their direct involvement in the company’s operations.

Is EVS Metal ISO 9001 certified?

Yes, all four of EVS’s metal fabrication facilities are ISO 9001:2015 certified. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Metal Fabrication

What is the definition of metal fabrication?

Metal fabrication is defined as the process of producing precise shapes from sheet metal including aluminum, steel and stainless steel. These metal shapes, whether bent, laser cut or CNC machined, can then be used to build more complex parts, weldments, assemblies or fully-finished products.

What types of metal fabrication are there?

Metal fabrication consists of three main types: subtractive, non-subtractive, and additive.

What is subtractive metal fabrication?

Subtractive metal fabrication occurs when metal material is removed from a workpiece to create the desired shape. CNC machining is an example of subtractive fabrication.

What is non-subtractive metal fabrication?

Non-subtractive metal fabrication occurs when the space of the workpiece is changed without removing material. Bending is one example of non-subtractive fabrication.

What is additive metal fabrication?

Additive metal fabrication is the creation of the workpiece itself via means such as 3D printing.

What is a metal fabricator?

A metal fabricator can be a company or an individual. Organizations like EVS Metal are fabricators, but so are CNC machining center operators or fiber laser operators, for example.

What is a metal fabrication job shop?

A metal fabrication job shop is a fabricator that is capable of manufacturing parts and products in smaller quantities than might be possible in very large companies. In job shop fabrication, every machine is utilized to its greatest possible capacity with the utmost efficiency. 

What is a contract metal fabricator or manufacturer?

Contract fabricators are third-party manufacturers. They fabricate specific parts and products for companies that may or may not have the capacity, desire or specialized machines required to produce the materials or items they need in-house. This is done on a contract basis i.e., over a specified timeframe and pre-agreed-to cost. 

What is an OEM in metal fabrication and manufacturing?

An OEM is an original equipment manufacturer. Metal fabrication OEMs produce finished parts or products for companies that then incorporate them into their own, more complex products. An example of an OEM product would be a computer chip. The OEM would manufacture and then sell their chips to a computer company, like Dell or Asus. 

What are the most common metal fabrication processes?

Common primary metal fabrication processes include CNC machining, cutting, forming and welding. Secondary metal fab processes include metal finishing, assembly, hardware insertion and mechanical and electromechanical integration. Other processes are considered value-added, such as inventory management, shipping and delivery. 

Frequently Asked Questions About CNC Machining and Machine Shops

What is CNC Machining?

CNC machining is the controlled removal of metal or plastic to create specified shapes via the use of machines under the guidance of automated computer numerical control systems. It is a solely subtractive fabrication and manufacturing process that involves “chipping” away material, rather than cutting, in order to create the desired shape. 

What is a CNC machine shop?

A CNC machine shop is a company, division or department within a larger organization dedicated solely to CNC machining processes. 

What are the parts of a machining system?

A machining system is made up of three parts: the machine, the workpiece, and the tool. The machine powers the tool, which shapes the workpiece, usually a piece of metal. Machining centers can be built for vertical (most common) or horizontal machining processes. 

What types of CNC machining processes are there?

There are four primary types of CNC machining processes: turning, milling, grinding and drilling.

What is CNC milling?

CNC milling utilizes rotary cutters to selectively remove metal from a stationary workpiece. The cutting tool is mounted on a rotating spindle and removes material by advancing into a block of material (the workpiece), forming a shape by changing the pressure used, speed of the cutter or direction of the axels. 

What is CNC drilling?

CNC drilling utilizes a rotating cutting tool to remove material in order to create round holes, only, in a stationary workpiece.

What is CNC turning?

CNC turning differs from milling and drilling in that the workpiece is rotated, rather than the tool, in order to remove material; hence the name, “turning.” The selected machining tool is programmed to move to and from the piece, as well as up, down, and side to side, in order to create the desired shape.

What is CNC grinding?

CNC grinding utilizes a high-speed, abrasive wheel to remove small amounts of metal from the workpiece, which remains stationary throughout the machining process. While still considered machining, this can also be the first step of the surface refining and finishing process.

Frequently Asked Questions About Forming Processes in Metal Fabrication

What is sheet metal forming?

Sheet metal forming is a blanket term for a number of different subtractive and non-subtractive sheet metal fabrication processes, including:

  • Punching
  • Bending
  • Curling
  • Ironing
  • Laser cutting
  • Hydroforming

What is CNC cutting in metal fabrication?

CNC cutting is also known as “die cutting.” These processes do not create “chips” of material, instead using precise, clean “cuts” to change a workpiece’s shape — often large pieces of sheet metal. 

What types of CNC cutting are there?

The main types of CNC cutting processes are punching and blanking (both are considered types of CNC stamping processes as well), fiber laser cutting, CO2 laser cutting, waterjet cutting, and plasma cutting. 

What is CNC punching?

The CNC punching process is a type of metal stamping that utilizes automated “rams” to create holes or other clean shapes in sheet metal. The rams hold “tools” of various shapes and sizes that are able to “punch” shapes, such as holes, into the metal at incredibly high speeds. This creates very small pieces of scrap metal in the process. CNC turret punch presses can be combined with automatic tool changers (ATCs) that create significant efficiencies, including decreasing setup times and allowing for lights-out operation. 

What is CNC blanking?

CNC blanking has similarities to punching. Blanking tools still punch precise shapes into sheet metal, however, the piece that’s punched out of the metal isn’t scrap; instead, it is the part that is generally kept and either used on its own, or combined with other pieces to be assembled into more complex parts or products. The remainder of the sheet is then scrapped, once the pieces have been punched out of it. 

What are fiber laser and CO2 laser cutting in metal fabrication?

Laser cutting is generally carried out via an automated process that utilizes a fiber or CO2 laser with high-speed cutting heads. These lasers create super sharp, even cuts in sheet metal in order to shape it to customer specifications. CO2 lasers are generally less efficient than fiber lasers and require more energy to run. Fiber lasers can cut almost any metal much more safely and easily than a CO2 laser as the fiber laser beam is not reflected. Therefore, it’s more easily absorbed by the material in order to create the precise cut required for most metal fab projects.

What is water jet cutting?

Water jet cutting is the use of a supersonic stream of water, sometimes mixed with abrasive material, to cut shapes or designs into a metal workpiece. The pressure of the water is so great that it almost instantly erodes the metal, creating the desired shape. Water jet cutting is very good for cutting thick metals; however, it is not as precise as laser cutting, which is much better when working within tight tolerances, especially those required for most precision sheet metal fabrication projects.

What is plasma cutting?

Plasma cutting is a type of thermal cutting. It utilizes high-velocity ionized gas to create a super-hot stream of plasma that is able to cut through any conductive material, including a wide range of metals. Although it can be very useful when cutting thicker materials, plasma cutting generally doesn’t result in great quality when cutting thinner metals, like sheet metal, and it is less energy efficient, and as well as less environmentally friendly than a fiber laser.

What is CNC stamping and pressing in metal fabrication?

CNC stamping can cover a wide range of metal fabrication processes, including punching, blanking, embossing, coining, flanging and bending. Some of these processes are subtractive, in that metal is removed from the workpiece. Others are non-subtractive, meaning that they use high pressure to press a design into the metal, or to create precise bends, without removing any material from the metal sheet.

What is CNC sheet metal bending?

CNC bending is the most common type of metal forming, and is carried out by automated press brakes. Some parts only require single, simple bends, meaning the metal’s shape is only changed at one axis point in a V, U or channel shape. More complex parts can be formed when additional bending operations are performed on the same workpiece. CNC bending can be done by both human operators, as well as automated bending robots.   

What is sheet metal embossing?

Embossing uses pressure to create precise recessed or raised designs or textures in a sheet metal workpiece by pressing a die against a static piece of sheet metal, or moving the metal through a roller die. It is a non-subtractive process.

What is sheet metal coining?

Coining is a basic type of sheet metal bending, and another non-subtractive stamping process. Coining essentially “squeezes” the metal while it is confined between two closed dies in order to produce the desired shape. 

What is sheet metal flanging?

Sheet metal flanging takes a previously bent workpiece and then creates a second bend in one of the workpiece’s “faces,” only in the opposite direction of the initial bend. This creates the “flange” or shelf-like shape. Flanging may be used to create connections to be used later in a more complex part or product, or to reinforce the workpiece’s bent edge. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Metal Fabrication Equipment and Machines

What is an automated turret punch press and how does it work?

Automated turret punch presses utilize small tools, called “punches,” to quickly cut small but very precise holes or shapes into sheet metal, creating small amounts of scrap material. The tools are programmed and carried out via CNC. The most modern turret punch presses can be connected to automatic tool changers in order to make job setup times faster and more efficient, and allow companies to process orders 24 hours a day without an operator onsite.  

What is a CNC press brake and how does it work?

Automated CNC press brakes use dies and extremely high pressure to create precise bends in metal sheets. Some press brakes can be connected to bending robots, which automate the process even further, including part loading and unloading. These robots are so efficient that they allow metal fabricators to triple or quadruple the number of setups and jobs they can run in a single day.

What are cutting lasers and how do they work?

CO2, fiber and plasma cutting lasers are the most common types used in metal fabrication. 

CO2 lasers are an older type of cutting technology, and because of this, are generally less expensive to purchase than other types of laser cutting machines. They also tend to be slower at processing parts, but are still very flexible and work well on a wide variety of metals. They are excellent cutting machines for use with thicker materials.

Fiber lasers are a newer cutting technology, and tend to be more expensive than CO2 lasers. Because of their higher cost, many metal fabrication shops have not been able to invest in these high-tech machines. They are extremely fast and exceptionally precise, able to work within very tight tolerances with incredible accuracy on even very thin sheet metal. They are also more energy efficient than most other cutting machines. 

Plasma lasers use heat to cut through conductive materials via streams of super-hot plasma made from ionized gas. Like CO2 lasers, they are a very good choice for cutting thicker metal, but doesn’t produce the highest quality cuts when used on thinner sheet metal. They tend to be less energy efficient as well, and therefore less environmentally friendly and more expensive to run.

What is a hardware insertion machine?

Automated hardware insertion machines greatly speed up the process of part and product assembly by automating the insertion of hardware into precut holes. This hardware includes different types of fasteners, like nuts and studs, that will allow the part to be more quickly and easily assembled in a later step.

What is a robotic welding cell?

Robotic welding cells look a little bit like cubicles for welding robots. They are often 3-sided, and are built to contain the robot and its control system and sensors, as well as the workpiece and welding table on which the robotic welding process takes place. 

What is a CNC machining center?

A CNC machining center is a station that is built to automate machining operations including milling, drilling, turning and grinding. These stations can be built for vertical (VMC) or horizontal (HMC) machining.

Which is better, vertical machining or horizontal machining?

Neither vertical (VMC) or horizontal (HMC) machining is better than the other. However, they each have different strengths and weaknesses. For instance, VMCs generally utilize thinner, longer tools, which can make them a better choice to use with workpieces that require more detail. HMCs, on the other hand, tend to utilize thicker and shorter cutting tools, which makes them a good option for making heavier or deeper cuts in materials. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Metal Finishing Processes

What are polishing, graining, buffing & deburring? 

Polishing, graining, buffing and deburring machines each carry out a type of subtractive finishing process that removes very small pieces of metal from a workpiece’s surface in order to smooth and refine it. The degree to which the surface is smoothed over depends on the requirement of the item being fabricated. For example, some items require just enough graining to create a uniform surface before being painted over. Others may require a perfectly smooth cosmetic finish, like highly reflective #8 mirror finishing. 

What is automated powder coating?

Powder coating is a metal finishing process that utilizes electrostatic means to apply dry, free-flowing, colored powder to a fabricated part or product. Once applied, the coated metal undergoes heat curing, which hardens the powder into a highly durable, uniform and solid coating. Automated powder coating lines pull pieces that are “hung” from the powder coat line through the process without operators having to move them from station to station. This means parts can go from coating to curing without ever being touched. Powder coating is a protective finish as well, which helps to prevent corrosion, tarnishing and other types of wear.

What is direct-to-substrate printing?

Direct-to-substrate printing (DTSP) uses an industrial-sized inkjet printer with a very large printer bed that allows it to print designs on objects both big and small. The printing is ultra-high-quality and full-color, able to print designs and images directly onto a wide variety of substrates, including stainless steel, aluminum, plastic, glass, PVC, ceramics and acrylics.  Another advantage of direct-to-substrate printing is the ability to print on surfaces that are not flat, such as spheres or cylinders. This is often how custom water bottles or golf balls are made, for instance. 


Silkscreen printing and painting utilize a fine mesh panel and a blade/squeegee to transfer ink onto a substrate like plastic or metal. Generally, custom stencils are used during the process to block paint from entering areas of the substrate that should not receive ink. Silkscreening is very useful for adding finer design elements on top of wet paint or powder coat as a finishing touch, but it is a decorative finish, not one that is protective against outside elements.

Wet Paint Finishing

Wet paint finishing requires products to be either painted by hand, or via automated sprayers. Painting is somewhat durable, depending on the type of paint used, but user error makes it easy to create an uneven surface application, or obvious drips or runs in the coating. This is why in most cases, powder coating is the preferred choice for fabricated metal products, due to its even, consistent, long-lasting finish.

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