Fabricating is the act of creating metal structures. There are many tasks that are part of the fabricator's work, including cutting, grinding, welding, and assembling these structures. Often fabricators work on assembly lines, but many jobs also include metal fabrication tasks such as blacksmithing and ironworking.
The first step in the fabrication process is to cut the metal by using manual cutters such as a chisel or saw, torching metal with handheld torches, or using numerical control cutters such as a laser or water jet. The next step is to bend the metal into a desired shape using a manual or automatic hammer or via press brakes. The final step is assembling, performed by welding, using adhesives to bind metals together, using threaded fasteners, and through other techniques depending on the product and company.
Historically, fabricators’ work was almost entirely on assembly lines, but manufacturers are beginning to move toward smaller teams of assemblers. In these cases, the fabricator may either be a worker or a team leader. Fabricators may work for a number of companies manufacturing a wide variety of products, from cars to televisions to weapons.
Employers generally prefer candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent, though higher education is rarely necessary. Often employers look for candidates with experience in machine shop or electrical work, and military experience may be viewed favorably. The hours for a fabricator vary depending on the company and specific line of work, though it’s not uncommon for a fabricator to work night shifts.
Measure work piece dimensions to determine accuracy of machine operation.
Read job specification to determine machine adjustments and material requirements.
Set stops or guides to specified length as indicated by scale, rule or template.
Perform various fabrication techniques such as saw, sand, polish, glue, seam and cut.
Perform minor machine maintenance.