What Do Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Do?
Metal Fabricators and fitters position, align, and fit parts of various structural metal products. These products are typically enormous in size and therefore it takes a specialized worker to be able to handle them properly. These objects that they help to construct could be tanks and water towers or frames for bridges and buildings. Although these objects are grand in size, creating them involves technical and very intricate work. A structural metal fabricator can expect to follow specific blueprints and make patterns and templates as guides. As a fabricator, you can expect to work in a noisy and industrial environment or sometimes outside in harsh weather conditions. These are important factors to keep in mind, as well as the knowledge that your productive job can be a highly rewarding one.
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Skills and Abilities
Handling heavy structural pieces requires that fabricators be in top physical condition. This career is demanding, and could require other skills and abilities that could include the following:
- Mechanical knowledge, and the understanding of machines and tools
- Understanding of algebra, geometry, calculus and statistics
- Knowledge of construction and all relevant materials, methods, and procedures involved
- Understanding of design techniques and principles involved in producing technical plans, drawings, and blueprints.
- Critical thinking
- Ability to convey information efficiently and accurately to others
- Social perceptiveness
- Arm-hand steadiness
- Manual dexterity
- Visualization and the ability to imagine how the finished product will look
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Duties
Fabricators can expect to have a variety of occupation-specific tasks as well as general responsibilities that could include the following:
- Verifying conformance of workpiece according to specifications
- Aligning and fitting parts according to specifications
- Moving parts into position by means of hoists or cranes
- Studying blueprints or engineering drawings to determine necessary materials
- Operating fabricating machines, including brakes, rolls, shears, and drill pressers
- Moving materials and finished products by means of large cranes
- Marking reference points onto floors or face blocks
- Position or tightening braces, clamps, ropes, or bolt straps
- Locating and marking workpiece bending lines
- Designing and constructing templates and fixtures by means of hand tools
- Installing containers, boilers, and other structures
- Reshaping metal pieces into established specifications
- Smoothing metal surfaces or edges
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Tools and Technology
Fabricators need to be able to use special machinery to cut metal into the required pieces. The following tools and technology may be used in the process:
- Drill presses, magnetic drill presses, and radial drills
- Hydraulic press brakes and straightening presses
- Metal inert gas welding machines
- Center punches, drift pins, and punches
- Beverly shears, hand shears, and unishears
- Database user interface and query software
- Enterprise resource planning software
- Spreadsheet software
Education and Training for Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters
Typical education needed for this position is a high school diploma or equivalent. Entering a training program or apprenticeship is another helpful way of learning the ropes for this career. Related instructional programs could include courses in machine shop technology or metal fabrications.
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Salary
The average salary for a metal fabricator is $36,000, with the lowest 10% earning $24,700 and the highest 10% earning $55,000. Areas with the highest reported income include Connecticut, Wyoming, and Missouri.
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters Jobs by Geography
It is estimated that there will be an 8% average national increase in demand for structural metal fabricators and fitters. This statistic is highest in Nevada, Arizona, and Florida. If you are interested in this career, be sure to familiarize yourself with the statistics for you area and learn more about available education and training programs.