How To Do Quality Control On Third-Party Metal Fabrication Projects

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Folks in the metal fabrication industry tend to be proud of the quality of their work. However, customers still need to know how to assess the quality of the results they receive. If you expect to get an item from a fabricator, keep an eye on these factors while assessing the results.

Heavy Welds

A lot of fabrication work also requires welding services. You should check the piece for the quality of the welds. If you see spots where the welds look like knobs on an old tree, that's a sign the welders had to do lots to either fix a mistake or make an idea work. You probably don't want these issues for aesthetic reasons, and they may also signal issues with the item's structural integrity.

Aggressive Sanding

When fabricators see defects protruding from items, they frequently have to sand them down. This is normal, but it should be evident in many areas. Also, it shouldn't look like someone had to sand or grind some areas down a lot. The best metal fabrication work tends to look effortless and clean.


Some machining processes will produce rough surfaces. However, someone at the fabricating company should check for burrs as part of the quality-control process. If you're seeing evidence of burrs, then the quality control at the fabricating firm may be suspect.

Color Distortions

Notably, some processes will distort the colors of the metals involved. However, this is something the fabricating team should have told you about at the start of the process. If they didn't, that likely means they didn't expect distortions to appear. If you see areas where the metal looks distorted like the sun reflecting off oil in a puddle, you should be concerned.

This is especially true if your specifications include tolerances for the metal up to a certain temperature. You should monitor for distortions if you're worried overheating could undermine a structural element.

Loose Components

You may have a fabricated piece that has moving parts. When these come together, they should be tight within your specifications. If there is play in the assembly, someone may have messed up. For example, they might have used a reductive machining process without accounting for the loss of metal.

Even at scales of like 1/32 of an inch, this can create too much play. Whenever the measurements looked good in the CAD program, they should be good in the finished product. If not, that may be a sign you need to find another fabricator.

For more information, contact metal fabrication services near you.