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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 one’s. 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 numbers 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 form large ships and bridges to precise engine parts and even bolt and nuts.

Various types of metalworker

Metalworking machines operators are expert 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 part and ensure they meet the specifications of the outlined blueprints. The following stated below represent the types of metalworker in various area 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 operation must be marked out and measured depending on the desired finished product. The marking out is the process of transferring designs or pattern 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 mould cavity and allowing it to cool and solidifies. 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: Different types of Casting tools and equipment

Forming processes

Forming processes are done to modify metal or workpiece 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 to less scrap.

  • Decambering
  • Bending
  • Deep drawing (DD)
  • Hydroforming (HF)
  • Flowforming
  • Coining
  • Hot metal gas forming
  • Spinning, Shear forming or Flowforming
  • Hotpress Hardening
  • Rubber pad forming
  • Raising
  • Roll forming
  • Roll bending
  • Repousse and chasing
  • Shearing
  • 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 one’s.

Joining processes

This is the process of assembling parts together or putting two or more metal part together. It can be achieved in various form 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 create a molten pool which 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 path. 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-degree Celsius. Brazing produce less thermal stresses than welding and the joint tend to be more ductile than weldment. This is because alloying elements cannot segregate and precipitate.


This process occurs at a temperature below 450-degree 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 make the joint weaker.


Riveting is a joining process on fabrication techniques. It is a two-headed and unthreaded pin which hold 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 which is aligned allow the rivet passed through the holes and using rivet gun to perform the operation and some utilize the hammer and forming dies (by either coldworking or hot working).

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Read: 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 metal working process.

The heat treatment process is performed on metal to change their properties by the 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 are 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 skilful person in all areas
  • A project usually takes time
  • Expensive starter fees
  • Serious care must be taken in the yard
  • One must knowledgeable in the various machine before usage

That’s it on 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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