Sheet Metal Fabrication: A Guide on the Best Processes

Sheet metal fabrication techniques are cutting, bending, shaping, joining, welding, and riveting a wide range of sheet metal materials. At Marlin Steel, we pride ourselves on our ability to fabricate products and components from numerous metals, including steel, 304/316/330 stainless steel, and galvanized steel and aluminum. Each of our products is carefully designed and engineered to withstand harsh environments precisely calculating loads using state-of-the-art finite element analysis software (FEA), so you know that you are getting the highest quality products on the market that will withstand your environment for years of hard use

What are the Common Applications for Sheet Metal Fabrication?

Marlin Steel uses TRUMPF and Lincoln sheet metal fabrication capabilities to create a variety of custom and stock products. Some of the items we manufacture using our state-of-the-art sheet metal fabrication processes include:

  • Sheet metal baskets. Our metal baskets are designed to facilitate the free movement of liquids and gases through the open space of the basket. Our robust sheet metal baskets are ideal for use in drying applications, where items can be washed and then dried quickly for a faster cleaning cycle time, transportation, and storage devices.
  • Custom cleaning baskets. Our custom cleaning baskets can be manufactured to your specifications and designed to meet even the most stringent industry specifications. With Marlin's custom cleaning baskets, you can wash parts or clean food handling equipment or produce quickly and efficiently, thereby reducing the potential for E. Coli, salmonella, and listeria contamination. 
  • Custom stainless steel baskets with dividers. Marlin's custom stainless steel baskets with dividers are ideal for use in ultrasonic cleaning applications. They allow users to keep parts organized throughout the cleaning process and are perfectly aligned for robotic pick-and-place applications. 
  • Ultrasonic cleaning baskets. Marlin Steel's ultrasonic cleaning baskets are custom-engineered to meet each customer's needs. We manufacture our ultrasonic cleaning baskets and inserts from stainless steel as a single unit to mitigate the risk of chipping and deformation over the life of the basket. Comprehensive stress testing and virtual prototypes help ensure the integrity and durability of each design.
  • Material handling baskets. Marlin Steel provides superior quality material handling baskets and containers for a wide variety of applications. Whether you need wire mesh or perforated sheet metal, our experts have the knowledge, skill, and experience to create custom material handling containers to meet your particular needs. 
  • Expanded metal baskets. Expanded metal allows for the design and manufacture of baskets from a single piece of metal. This process eliminates the risk of weak points in the basket that result from weaving or welding joints. 
  • Hoist baskets. The expanded metal manufacturing process facilitates the creation of baskets of virtually any size. For example, automotive and aerospace OEMs and suppliers often require very large stainless steel baskets for dipping oversized parts during electropolishing and other finishing processes.
  • Sterilizing baskets. The medical and pharmaceutical sectors rely on custom-manufactured stainless steel baskets, carts, and trays that can handle the electropolishing process to create a smooth surface on the microscopic level. This process eliminates crevices and cracks that can harbor harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. 
  • Autoclaving baskets. Autoclave baskets and trays must tolerate repeat exposure to high heat up to 132°C (260°F). These baskets and trays hold equipment as it gets sterilized by high-temperature steam.

Techniques to Fabricate Sheet Metal Racks (How Marlin Fabricates Your Sheet Metal Racks)

How Does Marlin Cut Steel?

Laser Cutting

Laser cutting provides an ideal method for correcting overstretching or cutting complex shapes and designs. This process creates smooth cuts without placing stress on the material, resulting in a stronger structural design.

Metal Punching

Marlin uses CNC metal punching to create customized sheet metal forms with speed and efficiency. Each week we create thousands of custom sheet metal products with any shapes, holes, countersinks, and counterbores for our customers using cutting-edge CNC punching equipment.

Metal Bending

Metal brake bending precisely bends sheet metal into a desired shape using a press brake. The accuracy of the bend is essential to the efficacy of the final product. Modern press brakes can achieve highly accurate bends on complex fabrication projects. 

Precision Press Braking 

Precision press braking is exceptionally accurate, and Marlin Steel uses only the latest press braking technology. With our fleet of 3 Trumpf press brake machines, we can create precision components by using up to 230 tons of bending force. With precision press braking, you get superior quality sheet metal forms with outstanding accuracy to meet even the most stringent tolerance limits. 

Precision press brakes are capable of high-volume production in a wide range of sizes, making this process one of Marlin's fastest and most efficient metal fabrication techniques. 


Medium-frequency welding uses semiconductors and a power inverter to increase current to approximately 1 kHz, then runs that current through a transformer to process it into usable DC electricity for the weld. Marlin Steel uses a computer-controlled Medium-Frequency Direct Current (MFDC) machine for medium-frequency welds so the weld cycle is so short burrs and sharps can’t form.

Metal inert gas (MIG) and tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding use electrical arcs to heat metal alloys and melt them together. Depending on the application and metal being welded, different inert gases are used to direct and control the weld, in order to create exceptionally accurate and durable welds. MIG welding uses a consumable electrode to create a weld pool, resulting in strong and reliable welds. TIG welding provides highly accurate and aesthetically pleasing welds on thinner materials. Marlin’s robotic capabilities can weld 1400 items on ten foot long tables that move with the weld heads so that parts do not need to be removed to different weld fixtures, improving tight tolerance quality.

Ask the Metal Fabrication Experts at Marlin Steel

Marlin Steel has been creating custom metal forms since 1968, including washing baskets, racks, material handling containers, carts, and much more. For more information on our metal fabrication capabilities and how they can benefit your operation, please contact us or request a quote today.