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Stand Out with One-of-a-Kind Metal Fabrications: Average Costs

Last Updated: December 07, 2023

Ryan Maguire
Fact Checked By: Ryan Maguire
15 Year Expert in construction, landscape design, home improvement and maintenance.

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The cost of metal fabrication has dropped in recent years due to new processes and technology that are developing daily.

These innovations are reducing overhead and increasing production. Every aspect of metal fabrication, from steel production to transport, from fabricating to erection, has seen a decrease in price over the last decade.

Metal Fabrication Costs #

Metal fabrication for custom manufacturing typically costs $20 to $200 per hour in shop fabrication fees. Additional cost factors include:

  • Material - Steel costs $1-$5 per lb, aluminum $3-$12+ per lb, high grades more

  • Sheet Gauge- 18 gauge is cheapest at $1-$5 per sq ft, down to 11 gauge at $5-$8+

  • Type of Project - Simple brackets or small parts vs. complex custom components

  • Machine Use - Bending, cutting, welding, grinding equipment hourly rate at $50-$200+/hour

  • Labor - Skilled welder/fabricator fees of $25-$100+ per hour

Delivery and installation needs to be factored in to total price as well.

For a 10' x 10' bespoke steel canopy structure budget $1,500-$3,000 for fabrication and materials.

A food truck outfit with custom stainless equipment and fixtures might run $60k in fabrication time and high-end metals.

Simplistic safety railings are $100s, where a 3-story interior mall staircase can easily surpass $100,000 in custom metalsmithing.

Sheet Metal Fabrication

Real Life Metal Fabrication Cost Examples #

  • "I own a powder coating shop and had a batch oven frame fabricated from 3/16" mild steel. The 10ft x 5ft frame and floor grate was $2,850 in materials, cutting and welding." - Mike T.

  • "Our restaurant needed a new custom 3 sink bar unit fabricated in stainless with overhead storage racks. The heavy gauge fabrication plus installation was $7,500." - Mona S.

  • "We had a sheet metal shop create a large custom range hood, sink apron cover and kitchen backsplash paneling made from brushed aluminum. Fabricating those architectural elements totaled $12,000." - Jeff I.

  • "As a contractor I hired a metal working shop to create Door Entry & Driver Assist Railings for school accessible bus ramps. They formed the rails from rolled steel with yellow powder coat for $950 each." - Paige S.

  • "An artist welded a sculptural 8ft tall tree sculpture commission I purchased made from thick iron squares and recycled train gears that weighted 600lbs. Material and his shop rate came to $7,200." - Sam W.

  • "My company needed economic warehouse shelving so had industrial grade units made to spec. With framing, decking, finishes each steel shelving unit cost around $4,250 in full service fabrication."- Josiah M.

As shown metal fabricators charge widely varying fees based on custom design specifications, materials required, equipment demands, labor skills and more to create endless metalworks.

Other Considerations #

  • Verify the fabricator's specific metalworking capabilities before designing your project. Not all shops offer every process.

  • Provide complete drawings detailing dimensions, joins, spatial relationship of parts, preferred materials and finishes needed. The more detail the better the accuracy of price estimates and end product.

  • Understand that highly complex, multi-step fabrication and intricate cuts, bends or welds dramatically increase shop time and machine usage driving up project costs. Simplify designs where possible.

  • Factor in costs or providing raw metal stock if the fabricator does not supply that directly. Price material by weight and sheet gauge needed when requesting quotes.

  • Expect higher minimums for custom one-off small quantity work vs production runs making multiple units. Mass volume allows cost savings.

  • Steel is the most economical base metal while aluminum/stainless add cost. Specialty alloys or tempering requirements also raise pricing.

Doing thoughtful design preparation, detailed requirements documentation and requesting multiple fabrication bids ensures the ideal custom metalwork at the fairest budget.

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