• Caleb Chamberlain

Reimagining Metal Fabrication Design

Working with a fab shop to design a manufacturable sheet metal part can ordinarily take weeks. OSH Cut wants to help you do it in hours.

Designing a fabricated part can be complicated, not only because it requires detailed knowledge of how metal fabrication works, but also because every fab shop will have different tooling, equipment, and capabilities.

A designer or engineer needs to design around available materials, bend radii, k-factors, minimum flange lengths, and maximum box depths. But even then, it can be uncertain whether a design can be bent without colliding with the brake. All of this tends to be shop-specific, requiring significant back and forth with a shop to design for their processes.

Not only does this take an enormous amount of time, it adds significantly to the cost of fabricated parts - shops have to charge enough to cover the high quoting overhead. The result is that even simple fabricated parts tend to be expensive, quoting responses take days (for shops that are fast!) and lead-times tend to be measured in weeks.

Traditional quoting model for fabricated parts

Depending on the complexity of the part, designing a fabricated part for manufacturability can be time-consuming and expensive.

Long quote and lead-times, and high quoting complexity, is a barrier to innovation and product development. Modern CAD tools allow new designs to be created in hours, but getting manufacturability and pricing feedback is a days-long process that can take development timelines from hours and days, to weeks and months.

To fix that problem, OSH Cut provides instant manufacturability feedback for fabricated parts. You can see what that looks like below:

OSH Cut's online quoting system provides instant manufacturability feebback

After a part is uploaded, our system checks for bend relief, minimum flange length, part self-collision, and collisions with the brake or tooling using our available tooling and equipment. If there are any issues, our systems tells you immediately, and shows you what the problem is.

For example, the part below has a channel that is too deep, resulting in a collision with the press brake:

System detects collision with brake during manufacturing

Our system immediately tells you exactly what the problem is, allowing you to iterate. That means you as a designer can spend more time designing, and less time waiting around for a shop to tell you how to modify your design to make it manufacturable.

Design parameters like k-factor and bend radius are also very important. For all our materials, we publish all the data you need in our material catalog, so that you can start correctly from the beginning:

Material catalog shows parameters you should use in your sheet metal design

All of this adds up to give you, the engineer or designer, the information you need to make your parts, when you need it.