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Metal fabrication is a broad term referring to any process that cuts, shapes, or molds metal material into a final product. There are many different fabrication manufacturing process processes and the process used depends on both the beginning metal material and the desired end product. Fabrication is used for both custom and stock products
The umbrella term additive manufacturing (AM) gained popularity in the 2000s,[6] inspired by the theme of material being added together (in any of various ways). In contrast, the term subtractive manufacturing appeared as a retronym for the large family of machining processes with material removal as their common process. The term 3D printing still referred only to the polymer technologies in most minds, and the term AM was more likely to be used in metalworking and end-use part production contexts than among polymer, inkjet, or stereolithography enthusiasts
As with many modern fabrication techniques, sheet metal manufacturing can be automated and parts produced directly from CAD models. The technology uses a variety of materials and a range of processes for shaping finished components and products. This is, of course, true of many processes, but cost-per-piece for sheet metal generally drops more steeply than for a subtractive process like machining