Large or small, a successful metal fabrication shop depends on having the tools to manipulate many different kinds of metals. There are a lot of things that can be accomplished with basic hand tools but for detailed projects, custom prototyping, and shaping metal, the tools required go beyond the basics. Setting up your shop and laying out the best workflow for you is going to be a personal choice but finding the tools you need will be a priority if you are just getting your shop started.
Finding The Tools Of The Trade
Getting started in custom metal work is not something you just wake up and decide to do. Learning to use the machinery involved takes time and training but once you have some training, setting up a shop at home to work in can take a little work. Finding affordable equipment that will work for you is the first step. Often you may find used equipment at auctions and equipment sales but be aware that not every piece you find will be free from damage. Look over anything you are considering for your shop very well. The equipment you buy may have to last a while so get the best tools you afford as you get started.
Some Basic Tools
There are a lot of different kinds of machines that you might want for your shop but starting with a few basic pieces can get you started and do most of the work you want to do. A good welder is important. It needs to have a good heat range and be usable for the kinds of material you want to work with. MIG or TIG welders are good all-around machines with a lot of options. A good fabrication table made from steel is important as well. The table needs to be strong enough to hammer on as well as allowing you a place to weld, cut, and bend materials you are working with. A lathe and a milling machine are both great options but may wait for later if you are on a tight budget.
As you start to set up your shop, you should take a look at the electrical service that feeds the area that you will be working in. A shop in the basement or garage is nice but if your electrical service is limited, you might need to have an electrician come and install a higher amperage service with 220-volt lines in the shop area to run your machines. Most homes only have a residential service and while more power may be available at the pole, the breaker box and service entrance have to be able to handle the electrical requirement of the equipment you will be using.
Contact a company, like Tri-State Fabricators Inc, for more help.