Sheet metal joining is the essential process for stainless steel sheet, aluminium sheet and other sheet metal fabrications, especially for the products made of 2 or more pieces of metal sheets assembled together, so we also name this process as sheet metal assembly. Sheet metal Joints with rational design & exquisite workmanship provide the final products with a solid and reliable structure, and that can greatly ensure the products are used with quality and longevity and widely acceptable by many consumers.

Sheet Metal Joints & Joining Techniques| Sheet Metal Fabrication Services | TBK Metal

Types Of Sheet Metal Joints

There are several types of sheet metal joints (sheet metal joining techniques) that are commonly applied by metal fabricators. How to choose a proper type depends on some factors and conditions of your metal product assembly. The manufacturer can flexibly perform a most proper way to fabricate for their specific products according to cost budget, application, size, function, and more properties. Below are some types of sheet metal joints commonly applied by fabricators.

Mechanical Joint

Mechanical joint means that assemble and joining sheet metal pieces together with some hardware or fasteners such as screws, bolts, or nuts. Mechanical joining is the ideal solution for a metal fabrication strategy as it provides simplicity and flexibility. That allows you to be able to reassemble the products or replace the parts or accessories inside the products since the fasteners you are utilizing for the installation are removable.

Welding Joint

Welding jointing is for assembling the metal products by welding the metal sheets together. Most fabricators use such a sheet metal joining technique as products with welding joints that provide durable strength and permanent structure. If a sturdy structure is required for your projects, then a welding joint is the proper solution for you to consider.
Welding is a popular sheet metal joint method that is widely used, not only that, it’s also traditional that was used several hundred years ago. Most metal products fabricated in the industry apply welding joints. One of the reasons why welding is widely applied is that metal pieces with welding joints can achieve their larger sizes and not influence their properties.
As welding technology has developed, it can be utilized in a variety of conditions. You might think that welding is only conducted in a damp and duck environment. What’s astonishing is that you can do this work underwater, even in outer space. Performs welding underwater to overcome the joining process that is impossible to be conducted in the water. As practices of welding are getting improved and refined, some important industries & fields, such as medical and aviation, obtain more and more benefits from welding.

Folding / Tab Joint

Folding joining is performed without any fastener and additional accessories, so it’s a cost-effective method for making sheet metal joints. What you only need to do is to place the metal pieces on the bending machines. The edges of the two pieces of sheet metal are bent and folded, they buckle and clamp each other together.
This joining method is more simple and convenient than other types, it can quickly achieve assembly. However, it doesn’t ensure perfect positioning that needs some additional auxiliary manners to complete. Folding joining is suitable for metal without fragility such as aluminum, copper, soft steel, etc.

Rivet Joint

Applying the rivet joining process also has a long history. It became a main part of the modern assembly, as it’s widely used in various applications, such as metal tools, constructions, cars, and so on. The cost of this procession is cheaper than welding, but it comes with durability and strength that is just a little lower than welding, though, assemblies with this sheet metal joining technique get a more robust structure when it’s under pressure and at varying temperatures. The Eiffel tower and other symbolic buildings were built with numerous rivets.

Brazing Joint

The brazing joint process is also called soldering joint, which is for assembling metal sheets by using the filler metal at a melt-point temperature that can bond two parts together. Fabricators commonly utilize brazing to enhance the joining strength after two pieces of metal are bonded together. There is a difference between the brazing joint and the welding joint, as the material for the welding joint is not metal, but the filler for the brazing joint is metal.

Clinching Joint

Clinching joint is a permanent joining process that applies the mutual fixation of deformation (looks like a button) between two or more metal sheets to clamp each other together. This method utilizes a cold-forming process, it’s excellent for the application of joining different thicknesses and types of metal. Although the operation is simple, it’s not suitable for the metal products that need to be disassembled in the future.

Adhesive Joint

This type of sheet metal joining techniques is performed by using adhesive bonding between two metal sheets. The assembled products can be disassembled by chemical solvents. For adhesive joints, pressure needs to be applied to enhance the bonding strength after the adhesives are placed on the sheet surfaces.

Pros & Cons Of Different Types Of Sheet Metal Joining Techniques

From the descriptions about several process types of sheet metal joints, we can briefly understand some properties about them, but all of them have their own advantages and disadvantages, below is a table that can let you understand the advantages and disadvantages of these sheet metal joining techniques so that you can have an idea to know which one is the most proper one for your projects.

Joining TypesProsCons
Mechanical JointLow cost & reliable,
Easy assembly,
Allows disassembly,
Temporary assembly,
Allows bling joint,
A wide variety of fasteners,
For various applications.
Need additional fasteners such as nuts & standoff,
Seals are required if waterproof is needed.
Welding JointPermanent joint,
Joints features with leak-proof,
High load-carrying capacity,
Allow complex shapes & structures.
Material properties change near the welded points.
Joining quality is difficult to inspect.
Welding in thin sheets can cause deforming and burn-though.
Folding / Tab JointLow cost & reliable,
Permanent joint,
Allows different metal types,
Fasteners are not required.
Can’t achieve waterproof joints,
Require a long joint area to enhance joining strength.
Rivet JointLow cost of materials & operations,
Allows blind joints.
Part disassembly can cause damage to the parts.
More stress concentration near the riveted points.
Additional riveting setup is required.
Brazing JointLow temperature minimize distoration.
Permanent or temporary joint,
Allow different metal types,
Speed operation,
Damaging chance of parts is less.
Low joining strength,
High temperature cause disjoint.
Clinching JointPermanent joint,
Low cost of operation,
Requires additional fasteners,
Allows different metal types and thicknesses.
Cost of initial setup is high.
Clinching JointNo deformation as in welding,
Provides excellent fatigue strength,
Damps vibration and absorbs shock.
Need extra pressure and heat to enhance the bonding strength,
Surface need to be cleaned.
Useful life is influenced by the environment.

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