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Different Types of Metal Cutting

Metal fabrication is an essential step in creating all sorts of metal parts, components and machines. During almost any fabrication process, the metal materials required will need to be cut — however, there are several different types of metal cutting approaches you can choose from.

Which type of metal cutting is right for your application? To help you decide, here’s a look at some of the most commonly used metal cutting technologies and approaches.


Grinding is a metal cutting process used in fabrication. The actual metal grinding is used to rid metal components of rough edges by deburring, smoothing out welds and, in some cases, creating sharp edges.

Grinding is almost always done by hand using a grinding machine, though some larger operations have finishing machines they use for the process. There are many different types of machines used for grinding, including bench grinders, cylinder grinders, surface grinders, bit grinders and more. Because grinding is a manual process, it’s often one of the more intensive and expensive steps in fabrication.


Drilling is another important action for metal fabrication. Metal drilling is used to create holes of precise specifications in a metal component or surface. The hole itself is created by applying pressure and rotation on top of the metal component or surface.

When creating parts and components that will be fastened to other metal components or to components made from other materials, it’s often necessary to create holes for fasteners to pass through. Different types of metal will require different levels of pressure and various types of tools, depending on the specific drilling needs.


Also known as metal spinning, metal turning is a metalworking process wherein a tube or disc rotates at a high speed to help form metal in the desired configuration. The turning process is typically conducted by hand or through use of a lathe, and the technicians who perform turning are highly skilled at forming parts and components during the fabrication process.


Also known as welding, metal burning is the process of heating metal components to such a temperature that they can be broken and formed along a pattern. Burning and welding are often used to join two different metal components, and specialty tools are required for successful burning and welding. Metal burning’s roots lie in blacksmithing, a forge welding specialty that involved heating and hammering in an effort to join together iron and steel.

Water Jet

The water jet process includes mixing water with metal abrasive and then applying it at high force to the metal component that needs forming. The water jet approach allows for precise metal surfacing during the fabrication process. Many professional fabricators lean heavily on water jet forming and cutting because it is comparatively fast and inexpensive. The water jet process also produces the clean surfaces and smooth edges quality fabricated materials are known for.


Plasma is one of the newer approaches to metal cutting. In the plasma cutting process, fabricators use plasma torches that pass an electrical arc through oxygen or a different inert gas. This electrical arc simultaneously blows away unwanted molten metal and melts away the metal surface for forming and shaping. The plasma approach can be used to cut or form different types of metal, including aluminum, brass, copper and stainless steel.


For the utmost in precision and control, choose laser metal cutting technology for your application. During the laser cutting process, a highly concentrated light beam at a high temperature is used to cut a component to specific shapes and sizes. Given how precise laser cutting is, a computer system is typically used in tandem to manage the process.

Laser metal cutting processes are typically used for fabrication when adherence to plans and precision when compared to design drawings are of the highest importance. Laser cutting is also one of the most intensive and expensive approaches to metal cutting.

Contact APX York Sheet Metal to Learn More

Do you need assistance and support for different types of metal cutting? At APX York Sheet Metal, fabrication is our specialty. We work on OEM manufacturing parts, conveyor belt systems, construction equipment, electrical boxes and panels, industrial enclosures and cabinets, plus more. We have the tools, the people and the resources to execute different types of metal cutting methods quickly and effectively.

APX York Sheet Metal is a family-owned company with more than 71 years of experience in the fabrication industry, and it would be our pleasure to support your fabrication needs. When you need high-quality metal cutting and other services, there’s no better team than the one you’ll find at APX York Sheet Metal. Contact us online today to learn more about the different metal cutting processes we offer.

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