Love creating things with your hands? Want to get into a career without having to go trade school?  You may want to consider a career as an HVAC Fabricator. Here’s what you need to know.

What Does a Fabricator Do?

The main job of a fabricator is to create metal components and put them together according to project specs. In the HVAC industry, that means fabricating the ductwork for cooling and heating systems. It starts with cutting sheet metal using tools like power saws, shears, and CNC machines. Then that sheet is bent to form duct fittings or other HVAC parts with the help of ties or breaks. Next is the assembly part of the job where those custom fittings are installed according to the shop drawings for the project.  Some fabricators may work in a factory setting where they are only performing one part of the process. Others may work for smaller firms where they’ll involve in the fabrication process from beginning to end.

How Do You Become a Fabricator?

If you have a high school diploma and are willing to learn you’re ready to break into this career. Most of your training will come directly from real-world experience. So what will you need to learn to be successful?  For one you’ll need to know how to read blueprints, shop drawings, specifications, and project submittals. You’ll need to use basic math skills to interpret them so you’ll know the measurements of the parts you’ll be fabricating.  Fabricators must be comfortable using a variety of  hand tools and machinery like hand presses, shears, brakes, drills, drive bender, and a hydraulic notcher.  Good-hand eye coordination helps with learning how to handle these tools.

Another skill that would serve you well? Great physical health. As a fabricator, you will spend long periods of time on your feet doing repetitive motions. You’ll also be physically handling the sheet metal throughout the day as well.

How Much Do Fabricators Make?

According to Payscale, the average salary of an HVAC fabricator in the United States is $43,785 a year, or roughly $16.76 an hour. As you gain more experience that may go up to $25 an hour depending on the employer and where you live.

 

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