Custom metal fabrication design is the initial creative endeavor to bring a project to life. In fact, the entirety of a fabrication project, and its success, is very much a creative process in response to a need or a concept for a product that begins with and rests on its design. As it serves as the instructional component to communicate how a part, component, or product will be fabricated on the shop floor, optimizing the design is not only the best way to ensure the desired outcome, but it is essential for the project’s success. Design optimization improves production and methods to produce a high-quality product. It provides a more efficient, streamlined, cost-effective product that adds to its value and quality. Here are 6 tips to optimize your custom metal fabrication design, and bring your project from visualization to reality.
Perhaps the best way to optimize your custom metal fabrication design is by partnering with an experienced, well-established custom fabrication shop. Experience is a valuable resource. Fabrication shops that have a history of working on similar projects as yours can provide insight on ways to optimize your design, from selecting the optimal material to meet application requirements to the necessary fabrication techniques required for its production. A collaborative, reciprocal relationship with an experienced fabricator is an opportunity to receive valuable input, feedback and recommendations on every aspect of your design.
2. Bird Dog the Details of Your Design
When you request a quote, it is important to be as specific in your design as possible to receive an accurate estimate. Bird dog the details of your design—its measurements and dimensions, tolerances, desired material and its thickness, fabrication techniques required—even the amount of screws needed, and so forth. The greater level of detail will give your fabricator a better idea of what you are looking for in a finished product to provide you with a more accurate assessment and better estimate of the project cost.
3. Be Thorough
The custom metal fabrication design you submit to your fabricator is, in many respects, a master plan for your product. To optimize your plan, your fabricator needs to have a thorough understanding of your project requirements and goals. Providing clarity in what you want to be fabricated can help move the project from design to fabrication in a much more cost-efficient, timely manner. The design submitted to your fabricator should be engineering and shop ready, with technical specifications, plans and profiles, your project liaison and coordinator, the timeline for completion, and any other relevant information to keep you on target, at budget, and avoid costly revisions and mistakes well into the project.
4. Prototype Before Production
Another, highly advisable way to optimize your design is to test it before production. It is the foremost way to ensure your product meets design specifications, that the design itself translates into the desired product, and that the product works as designed and intended in real-world conditions. Your fabricator can offer such means as 3D modeling first, and then the fabrication of a prototype or, depending on the product, a series of prototypes to help test your design before production. Prototyping allows you to tweak and perfect your design. Once accomplished, you and your fabricator can begin the production stage for your product.
5. Material Selection
A key component in design optimization is selecting the right material to ensure your desired product meets its application requirements. From a practical standpoint, for a product to function as intended, it must be made with materials that have the applicable mechanical properties for it to function as designed. Material costs are the greater part of any project budget. Consider an appropriate material with the properties required for the application to perform as designed. Your fabricator can help guide you in selecting an optimal material with the desired properties that will ensure the integrity of the design and its functionality.
6. Choose a Single Source Production Partner
Quest-Tech is a custom metal fabricator that has the expertise to optimize your design and quickly transfer it into a quality finished product. We work with our partners from prototype to production to ensure the product design they submit is the product they desire.
To learn more about how to optimize your custom metal fabrication design or to inquire about a specific project, please contact us at Quest-Tech today.