Fabrication vs Manufacturing: What’s The Difference?

Fabrication vs Manufacturing

Just like any words we use in our vocabulary, the way these terms (fabrication vs manufacturing) are used are constantly growing and changing. 

Fabrication is defined as:


  •         1. The action or process of manufacturing or inventing something:

“The assembly and fabrication of electronic products.”

Oxford Dictionaries

Here, we see a modern definition of fabrication. In the past, you would see it referring to the makeup of components, or parts instead of entire products. Now, the modern definition seems more appropriate because it also speaks to invention, and hints to prototyping.


If we look at the definition of manufacturing:


  •         1. The making of articles on a large-scale using machinery; industrial production: 

“Even in manufacturing they no longer dominate.”

Oxford Dictionaries

With this definition, we find the distinction related to the scale of the production – so we can fabricate, for custom work and unique items. If you want to sell products at scale in large numbers, then you want to manufacture.

What is Fabrication?

If you have watched an episode or two of the popular TV show “Shark Tank” you have likely heard the business owners address the cost per unit to produce their product. Deciding when to shift from fabrication to mass manufacturing can be an important business decision.

Those starting out marketing and selling new products prefer just-in-time product delivery. Typically,  just-in-time production uses forms of fabrication. This first took root in the 1980s when Japanese manufacturers wanted to test parts delivery for components that went into larger finished electronic items. They discovered that if they didn’t have to store parts, they could save manpower, space, and many other costs associated with manufacturing at scale. So, at first, fabrication was used to fill those demands.

The heart of fabrication was still in the custom items markets even in the 80s, however. It is hard to tell where it truly began to grow and scale the most. In metal fabrication with customer rims and wheels for cars, or in wood fabrication with custom made guitars. Both industries saw massive growth as early as the 70s, in the USA and around the world.

Modern Fabrication

Today, modern fabrication gives product designers more flexibility than ever before. You can go from rough designs on a napkin to functional items in weeks. This used to take months. What used to cost thousands, now costs a mere fraction of that expense.

We likely have all heard about 3d printing technology. It is a hot buzzword to people outside of the product development world. Those who look on from afar and need to prototype something new and neat turn to this method. Yet, to this day, some of the most impressive designs and beloved new products come from metal fabrication.

Modern metal fabrication allows you to create durable items, ready for use, or sale. We can make anything you can dream with metal fabrication. Household goods, collectibles, custom art, signs, the list is almost endless. In the last 30 days, we have crafted items as Christmas decorations, cell phone holders, accessibility tools, custom signs, art, and much more.

It is all possible with modern equipment. You can now cut and fabricate metal on 4-axis. This means you can create more complex items that offer more depth and complex design function. As a metal fabricator, we have more than just industrial plasma cutters. We also have the finest CNC equipment on the market. More important than the equipment is our people. Our professionals are true tradespeople. People who have spent their entire professional careers making people’s product ideas become a reality.

Integrated Manufacturing Solutions (IMS)

They say it takes 10,000 hours doing the same tasks to become a master. This was covered in Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers. Today, many studies have been done and papers written to dispute that as a myth. For the trades, that amount of experience has direct benefits. Experience and hands-on knowledge impact not only the way one approaches a fabrication effort, but it also impacts the ability to draw on years of experience to accomplish new things and create astounding new products.

We have tradespeople who have gone above and beyond the 10,000 hours of experience in the field. True tradespeople that have pride in their work, and the made in the USA label. Modern techniques and equipment are great, when they are matched with experienced tradespeople and highly skilled metal workers, it becomes sensational.

Now that you understand the subject of fabrication vs manufacturing, if you have an idea or a custom order you need to be fabricated, contact us today for a thorough fabrication experience from beginning to end. We will make your dreams a reality. 

Ready for a Free Quote?

We proudly serve the Twin Cities and surrounding areas. It only takes a minute! Select the service you’d like, upload your designs, and a member of our team will respond with a free quote as soon as possible. If you don’t have design mockups, or need some help figuring out a design, we’d love to help! Simply give us a call and a member of our team would be happy to answer any questions you have.

Lead Time

3 days

Parts Completed


Manufacturing Footprint

55,000 sq ft.

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