Everything you need to know about metalworking

Metalworking as a field is a science, hobby, trade, art, and industry. It improved from the discovery of smelting various ores, producing different types of metals including the ductile and malleable ones. Modern metalworking processes which are diverse and specialized can be categorized into various areas which will cover in this article. In a machine shop, there are a number of machine tools that are capable of working precisely and using the workpiece with ease.


Today we’ll be looking at the definition, types, processes, advantages, and disadvantages of metalworking.


Metalworking Definition

Metalworking is the process of working with metals to develop individual parts, assemblies, or large-scale structures. The process is so broad starting from large ships and bridges to precise engine parts and even bolts and nuts.

Various types of metalworkers

Metalworking machine operators are experts and are knowledgeable in setting up and operating equipment that can be used to shape and assemble metal products. As there are various areas it could be bending of metal parts for component bodies or assembling by adding bolts and nuts or maybe welding. Whereas machinist operators are responsible for creating different work parts and ensuring they meet the specifications of the outlined blueprints. The following stated below represent the types of metalworkers in various areas of metalworking:

  • Machinist
  • Tool and die, makers,
  • Cutters
  • Welders

Metalworking Processes

Metalworking is generally divided into three categories such as forming, cutting, and joining. Each of these categories contains various processes. All operations must be marked out and measured depending on the desired finished product. The marking out is the process of transferring designs or patterns to a workpiece which is the first step in the handcraft of metalworking.

Let me quickly discuss this metalworking Casting process.

Casting process:

Casting is the process of producing metal parts of any shape even the intricate ones by pouring molten metal into a mold cavity and allowing it to cool and solidify. This is achieved with no mechanical force and can be done in various forms depending on the parts to be produced. Forms of casting include:

Read more: List of best glues for metal

Forming processes

Forming processes are done to modify metal or workpieces by deforming the object without removing any material. It is done with a system of mechanical forces or with heat for bulk metal forming.

Bulk-forming processes:

In bulk metal forming, the workpiece is typically heated up to the stage of becoming plastic. Plastic deformation is when a workpiece is exposed to heat or pressure in order to make the workpiece more conducive to mechanical force. This process is historically performed by blacksmiths along with casting but the advancement of the processes has industrialized them. The bulk-forming process includes:

  • Cold sizing
  • Forging
  • Powder metallurgy
  • Rolling
  • Extrusion
  • Friction drilling
  • Burnishing
  • Drawing

Sheet forming process

These types of forming processes can be done at room temperature by the application of mechanical force. But the recent developments involve the heating of dies or parts when performing the operation. There has been huge progress in die stamping after the advancement of automated metalworking technology. This method can encompass punching, bending, coining, and other several ways that are listed below to modify metal at less cost which results in less scrap.

  • Decambering
  • Bending
  • Deep drawing (DD)
  • Hydroforming (HF)
  • Flow forming
  • Coining
  • Hot metal gas forming
  • Spinning, Shear forming or Flowforming
  • Hotpress Hardening
  • Rubber pad forming
  • Raising
  • Roll forming
  • Roll bending
  • Repousse and chasing
  • Sharing
  • Stamping
  • Superplastic forming (SPF)
  • Wheeling

Cutting processes:

Cutting in metalworking is of various types, wherein metals are brought to a specified geometry by removing excess material. The operation can be done with various kinds of tooling in order to leave a finished surface part that meets specifications. The waste removes from a cut metal is called chips, or swarf, and excess material.

Cutting processes in metalworking fall into one of two major categories:

The various techniques available for cutting metal include:

  • Machine technologies are turning, drilling, milling, sawing, grinding
  • Manual technologies are a saw, chisel, shear, or snips, they are used in other fields apart from metalworking
  • Welding/burning technologies we have laser, oxy-fuel burning, and plasma. Other technologies may be available but these are the common ones.

Joining processes

This is the process of assembling parts together or putting two or more metal parts together. It can be achieved in various forms depending on the types of material to be joined.

The following are the types of joining processes in metalworking:


Welding is a fabrication process that joins metal or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. The process is often done by melting workpieces and creating a molten pool that cools to become a strong joint. a filler material is added to the joint in some conditions and pressure is sometimes used in conjunction with heat.

There are different energy sources that are used for welding which include:


Brazing is another joining process in which a filler metal is melted into a capillary formed by the assembly of two or more close paths. The filler metal reacts metallurgically with workpieces and solidifies in the capillary, creating a strong joint. In this process, the workpiece is not melted and it is much similar to soldering but occurs at an excess temperature of 450 degrees Celsius. Brazing produces less thermal stress than welding and the joint tends to be more ductile than weldment. This is because alloying elements cannot segregate and precipitate.


This process occurs at a temperature below 450 degrees Celsius. It is similar to brazing because the filler is melted lower temperature and drawn into a capillary to form the joint. due to the lower temperature and different alloys used as fillers, the metallurgical reaction between filler and workpiece is minimal which makes the joint weaker.


Riveting is a joining process in fabrication techniques. It is a two-headed and unthreaded pin that holds together pieces of metal together. Holes must be drilled or punched through the two pieces of metal to be joined. The holes on a part that is aligned allow the rivet to pass through the holes and using a rivet gun to perform the operation some utilize the hammer and forming dies (by either coldworking or hot working).

Read more: Everything you need to know about industrial metal finishing processes

Heat treatment process

This process is not a primary metalworking process, it is often performed before or after the metalworking process.

The heat treatment process is performed on metal to change its properties by means of heating with the desired cooling process. Metals are heat-treated to alter the properties of strength, hardness, toughness, ductility, or resistance to corrosion. Heat treatment processes include:

  • Annealing
  • Precipitation
  • Quenching
  • Tempering

Applications of metalworking:

The following is the application of metalworking in various

Advantages and disadvantages of metalworking


The following stated below represent the advantages of metalworking giving the reason for choosing the field:

  • Manufactured produce last for a decade
  • Cost efficiency is high when comes to long-term and high-volume lines of production
  • High heat resistant
  • Metalworking is broad
  • Materials are strong
  • Humans cannot do without metalworking
  • Metalworking produces decorative items
  • Metalworking is an industry


Despite the great benefits of metalworking, some disadvantages might still be seen. The following stated below are the limitations of metalworking:

  • Requires skillful person in all areas
  • A project usually takes time
  • Expensive starter fees
  • Serious care must be taken in the yard
  • One must be knowledgeable in the various machine before usage

That’s it in this article “Everything you need to know about metalworking”. I hope you enjoyed the reading, if so, kindly comment, share, and check another interesting post below. Thanks!


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