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Steel fabrication refers to the building of machines, structures and other equipment, by cutting, shaping and assembling components made from raw materials.
Steel fabrication shops and machine shops have overlapping capabilities, but fabrication shops generally concentrate on the metal preparation, welding and assembly aspect while the machine shop is more concerned with the machining of parts.
Wrought iron is commercially pure iron. In contrast to steel, it has a very low carbon content. Wrought iron is tough, malleable, ductile and easily welded.
Before the development of effective methods of steelmaking and the availability of large quantities of steel, wrought iron was the most common form of malleable iron.
Many products described as wrought iron, such as guard rails and gates, are made of mild steel. They retain that description because they were formerly made of wrought iron or have the appearance of wrought iron. True wrought iron is required for the authentic conservation of historic structures.
A forge is the workplace of a smith or a blacksmith. A forge is sometimes referred to as a smithy.
The basic smithy contains a forge, also known as a hearth, for heating metals. The forge heats the workpiece to a malleable temperature or to the point where work hardening no longer occurs.
Welding is a fabrication or sculptural process that joins materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, by causing coalescence. This is often done by melting the workpieces and adding a filler material to form a pool of molten material (the weld pool) that cools to become a strong joint, with pressure sometimes used in conjunction with heat, or by itself, to produce the weld.