Other Processes

Examples of alternatives processes that can be used when working with metal.

Other machining processes


Your design may require holes to be drilled for various reasons. It is advisable to drill any holes before welding parts together for two reasons.

  • It is easier to measure out the correct position for a hole.

  • It is safer, and gives better results to drill metals with parts clamped in a vice. Proper hole drilling technique can be advised by Fab Lab technicians.

If you are using the Metal Laser cutter to fabricate parts, include required holes where possible.

The principle tools in the process are:

  • Drilling machine

  • Drill press

  • Drills (bits)

  • Center punch

  • Cutting fluid

If you are not familiar with these tools and processes, and have not yet received a level 3 induction, ask a Fab Lab technician to instruct you.

Cold bending

Bending metal is an easy method to add form to your project and can reduce more complicated process such as cutting or welding.

  • Magna Bend (for sheet materials).

  • Bar bender (for bar)

  • Tube Bender for bending a limited range of tube sizes.

  • Section Roller for custom curves (5mm steel rod and 3mm x 25mm flat bar)

Tool Tips

The tools you require for your project may change depending on the materials you've chosen. Here are some tips when choosing tools:

Cross contamination

Oxidisation/rust can contaminate a tool. Metals can be 'infected' by oxidisation. For example, if you have used a grinding disk to clean a rusted piece of carbon steel, using that same disk on stainless steel can cause it to become infected. This is because specially treated stainless steel still contains iron. Where possible, have separate tools for stainless and carbon applications.


Many tools have consumables, for example, and angle grinder which consumes grinding disks. For safety and efficiency it is important to follow the guidelines set out for each tool during the Level 03 induction. If you are unsure about a tool and its consumables, ask Fab Lab technicians.


Most tools you'll use will require power. Therefore an awareness of power leads, their locations and their condition, is an essential factor in working safely. Ensure all power leads and extension leads are orderly and not tangled. Many of the tools designed for metalwork have extra insulation on their power leads; however it is important to conduct visual checks of power tools before plugging them in. If you are unsure about the condition of a tool, consult Fab Lab staff immediately.

Last updated