Making My Backroom More Functional

Flipping Homes? Why You Need a Metal Fabricator On Speed Dial

by Phil Lawrence

Metal fabricators are a flipper's best friend. If you're thinking of flipping homes for a living, the number of your local metal fabricator should be an important entry in your address book. This is the person who can help you customize, repair, or replace hard-to-find metal fences and railings, door and window frames, lighting fixtures and more. If you need ornate ironwork to match a vintage gate or if you need an oddly shaped light fixture to fit into a small space, your local metal fabricator can use a variety of skills and techniques to help:


A metal fabricator cuts metal pieces in a number of ways, depending upon the type of metal and the project at hand. He or she may use machine-powered equipment such as a CNC router to make precision, computer-generated cuts, or your fabricator might use a more old-school approach to get the job done -- such as a hand torch or metal saw. Regardless of the technique used, cutting metal is typically the first step in metal fabrication. 


Once the necessary pieces have been cut from the right metal -- whether iron, steel, aluminum, copper or another material -- a metal fabricator might need to bend them to make them conform to the design. Bending may be done by heating the metal to a high temperature that makes it pliable,and then using hand tools to hammer it into the desired shape. Metal may also be bent using mechanical means such as a press brake -- a machine that's used to bend sheet metal. Once the bends have been made, the final piece can be assembled.


Assembling a special-order metal project can be done by welding, by seam-crimping or by using stud welds, adhesives or rivets. All will result in a solid finished project that's durable and attractive. 

Metal fabricators are usually experienced in working with various types of metals. They may be college educated or have served an apprenticeship under a more experienced fabricator before striking out on their own. A good rule of thumb to follow is to assign your fabricator a simple side project to determine whether he or she is someone you would enjoy working with on a regular basis. If all goes well, you'll have a new contact you can count on to help when you're out there in the flipping trenches, trying to make old homes look new again. 

If you're thinking of hiring a metal fabricator on the industrial level, look into local specialists, such as PWC Fabrication Inc.