Fabricators make, and maintain customized precision equipment; and many other products made from metal sheets. They also may work with fiberglass and plastic materials. Fabricators first study plans and specifications to determine the type and quantity of materials they will need. They then measure, cut, bend, shape, and fasten pieces of sheet metal. Fabricators use computerized metalworking equipment. This enables them to perform their tasks more quickly and to experiment with different layouts to find the most efficient approach. They cut, drill, and form parts with computer-controlled saws, waterjets, shears, and presses.
Before assembling pieces, Fabricators check each part for accuracy using measuring instruments such as calipers and micrometers. After the parts have been inspected, workers fasten seams and joints together with welds, bolts, cement, rivets, solder, specially formed sheet metal drive clips, or other connecting devices.
It is important for experienced Fabricators to keep abreast of new technological developments, such as the use of computerized layout and laser-cutting machines. Workers often take additional training, provided by the union or by their employer, to improve existing skills or to acquire new ones.