Line Heating is a Flourishing Metal Fabrication Technology at Machinists Inc.

Line heating (flame bending) can form heavy metal plates into spherical shapes like wrapping a sheet of paper around a basketball - only without the wrinkles.

MI metal fabrication is a resource for manufacturers that have applications from ship building to the design and fabrication of Invar lay-up mandrels for carbon fiber components.

The line heating process starts with a 3D analytical computer evaluation of the part. Forming is achieved by highly-trained and experienced metal workers using oxy propane torches with coolant. The expert MI craftsmen have preserved specialized legacy skills, combined with modern advances for use in metal fabrication projects.

Line heating is used to correct distortion or accurately form metal for metal fabrications like bridges and buildings. It is often used to straighten or shape structural steel. Ship builders have used line heating for many decades. The process is essential in creating complex curves in heavy metal hull plating. MI has developed systematic methods for plate forming, accurately applying the correct amounts of heat to carefully calculated areas of a plate based on given geometric data.

Large metal plates are formed and delivered to customers work site

Line heating has been used for many decades in the shipbuilding industry.

It is still actively used in Japan and Northern Europe in construction of large tankers and cruse ships. Seattle once had several ship yards where large ship hulls were constructed, but due to economic factors, shipbuilding has moved to other parts of the US and overseas. The only large ship yard capable of large metal fabrications on the West coast is in San Diego. MI has retained the skilled craftsmen that once worked in the Seattle shipbuilding industry.

It is also used in bridge building or any application where metal plating needs to be formed into a desired shape with complex curves. The curves in the legs of Seattle’s Space Needle were created using line heating.

Machinists Inc. has provided line heating technology since 1980, and can work either in the field or in their Seattle metal fabrication shop and shapes and transports metal plates weighing thousands of pounds. Please call MI today to plan your next metal fabrication project.

For more information contact Jeff Tomson, Machinists Inc., 206-763-0990 -

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