Fabrication focuses on the assembly of raw materials (typically metal) to build cars, buildings or other industrial structures. Because fabrication is useful in many fields, the topic may be taught in programs such as automotive technology, metal fabrication welding, and fashion (for jewelry fabrication). Programs typically range from eighteen to twenty-four months, depending on the specialty and education level.
Here are some common concepts you'll find in these courses:
- Interpreting blueprints
- Computer-aided drafting
- Quality control
- Protective gear
- Fabrication techniques
- Machine maintenance
List of Fabrication Courses
A blueprints course is one of the most basic classes in a fabrication program. Students learn how to read blueprints and technical drawings for structural fabrications and machines. This course explains the different welding symbols used in blueprints. Skills are developed in extracting a materials list, mapping out dimensions and projecting material needs or dimensions. Students also develop skills in computer-aided drafting and design techniques.
Layout and Development
This course is for fabrication students already familiar with reading blueprints. Students learn how to convert information on blueprints into actual works made of metal or other materials. Skills developed include making metal projects to scale (based off of models), forming jigs and constructing shapes. This class is given in part lecture, part lab format. Time is also spent studying quality control topics.
Welding and Fabrication Safety
Welders and fabricators work with metal, heat sources and cutting tools. As such, it is necessary to be aware of safety precautions and the correct way to dispose of materials. A welding and fabrication safety course takes students through OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) requirements. Skills are developed in the safe handling of fabrication materials, equipment and tools. This course also covers protective gear such as eyewear and what to do in case of emergencies.
Punching and Shearing Systems
Punching and shearing machines produce weldment (metal parts) to be used in fabrication or development of structural parts. This course is intended to teach students how to use a power shear and punch. Skills are developed in the set-up and maintenance of fabrication machines, as well as the different methods used to cut metal. A punching and shearing systems course may involve field trips to industrial locations so that students can understand the variety of cutting machines used in the field.
A fabrication tools course introduces students to the various tools used in welding and fabrication careers. Students complete hands-on training using electric and air-powered tools. Skills are developed in assembling, die cutting, grinding and sanding metal parts. Students work with metal chipping, shearing, punching, drilling and polishing tools as well. This course is taught through project assignments. Students learn through practical skill-building.