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For Engineers

Vista Industrial Products, Inc. works with engineers to bring their product to life! We regularly work with engineers to assist with design to ensure fit, form, and function, and to also look for ways to save on manufacturing costs while achieving the design, aesthetics, and function of a part. Click on the links below for more information on what we need to work together:

Prior to Quoting

Request for Quote

Placing an Order

Can't find what you're looking for?

Contact our Business Development Team and we will be happy to answer your questions or point you in the right direction. We look forward to working together!

Sheet Metal Fabrication Tolerances

Best Practices in Tolerance Specification

Although the machinery and tooling will repeat within .004", it is a mistake to simply engineer all mating parts expecting +/-.005" accuracy. Such overkill forces additional labor in sorting and inspection.  The result of tolerances that are too tight is simply higher cost and lower productivity.  Correctly toleranced parts still have excellent fit and function, with the added benefit of manufacturing efficiency. Below is an image for VIP's recommended default sheet metal tolerances.

Hole Size Hole to Hole Hole to Edge Hole to Bend Bend to Bend

Tolerance Image
Click on Above Image to Open VIP's Recommended Tolerance Document

These tolerances are recommended and are best practices.  We can obtain tighter tolerances, so feel free to contact us for more information or go to our capabilities page to see the services VIP has to offer.

Hole Sizes

Holes are produced by forcing a punch tool through the sheet metal in order to rip out a slug.  When the punch retracts the slug remains stuck in the die tool and a hole is left in the sheet metal.  The size and shape of the punch and die tooling determine the size and shape of the hole.  A minimum hole or relief size is determined by the thickness of stock to be used.  For best results, the punched feature can be no less than the material being punched.  The die tool is slightly larger than the punch to minimize tooling wear and to reduce the pressure required to punch the hole.  Generally speaking, 10% of the material thickness is used for most applications.  For example, if the material is .100 aluminum and the punch diameter is 1.000”, the die diameter would be 1.010”.  The size of the hole on the punch side will be the same size as the punch tool. The size of the hole on the die side will be the same size as the die tool. Except for tooling wear, there is very little variation from one hole to the next.  Vista Industrial Products, Inc. has an extensive library of tooling, but we do not stock all possible tool sizes.  This is why we look to the designers, engineers and draftsmen to give us a tolerance range that allows us some flexibility in using tooling that we have in house.  When that is not possible, a capital investment in new tooling is required, or parts can be manufactured on our lasers.  Generally speaking, +/-.003” is a reasonable and functional tolerance.

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Hole to Hole

Accuracy of the distance from one hole to another is dependent primarily upon the machinery used to process the sheet.  Vista Industrial Products, Inc. has equipment that will hold better than +/-.005” with little difficulty.  However, all holes and features punched through the sheet can introduce stress into the sheet metal.  If the part has a closely spaced perforated pattern or formed features such as dimples or counter sinks the result can cause the sheet to warp and distort, which can cause unwanted variation between holes or features.  If this condition exists, a greater tolerance should be applied to certain areas surrounding this characteristic.

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Hole to Edge

Part profiles are punched just like any other feature except when using a machine with shearing capabilities; these dimensions should be considered the same as hole-to-hole.  When punching close to an edge (less than double the material thickness) the edge can be pushed out by the stress of punching the metal.  This edge movement can introduce variables in the accuracy of the hole location in relation to the edge.  There are techniques to minimize this problem, but whenever possible, engineers should allow +/-.010” hole-to-edge.  Tolerances of +/-.005” should be used only when it is absolutely necessary.

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Hole to Bend

Several factors have been introduced leading up to this stage in the fabrication process.  The deburring process may remove .003” when cosmetic appearance is a priority.  Precision press brakes will position and repeat within the +/- .002” range.  Skilled brake operators are able to load the parts for forming consistently from bend to bend.  Nevertheless, consideration must be given to the natural variation in material thickness (5% of nominal thickness), the +/- .005” from the turret press, the effects of cosmetic sanding, and the variation introduced by the press brake.  A tolerance of +/-.015” hole-to-bend is functionally reasonable for most applications.  Resort to +/-.010” only when absolutely necessary.

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Bend to Bend

Considering the variables that effect “hole to bend” tolerance, now multiple material surfaces and thickness are introduced. Whenever possible, engineers should allow +/-.020” bend-to-bend. Resort to +/.010” only when absolutely necessary.

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Prints - Fully Dimensional

Dimensional Prints

At Vista Industrial Products, Inc. we require dimensional prints in order to quote and to fabricate parts. This is a standard for the metal manufacturing world. This ensures you that your parts are made correctly as per your specifications on the dimensional print. This also allows our company to easily communicate to each other internally on what we need to fabricate because the print is a universal communication for us. There are no assumptions or second guessing of what your requirements are. Below illustrates exactly what kind of print we need:

Dimensional Print

Dimensional prints provide us not only with the dimensions of the part, but also the material type, material thickness, finish, hardware, assembly, and more. The above print communicates exactly what we need in order to fabricate this part.

Once you have prints, please submit them along with your Request For Quote.

Common Issues for Dimensional Prints / Drawings

Here are some common issues with drawings to keep in mind when designing the print:

  • Draw sheet metal parts without broken geometry
  • Parts made from stainless steel must show grain direction
  • Dimension all formed bends, inside or outside - depending on fit with mating pieces, and add REF to the last bend dimension
  • If artwork or ink stamp illustrates the revision, make sure both the current revision matches the artwork or stamp
  • Include bend lines where necessary
  • Notes do not conflict each other
  • Hardware compatible with material type

Don't have Dimensional Prints / Drawings?

If you do not have prints, please contact our business development team at We are not a design house, but may be able to help you depending on your requirements. If you have a drawn sketch of a print, there will be a print generation fee in order for us to create a formal dimensional print that we can manufacture to.

Unfortunately, we do not fabricate to architectural prints. We manufacture to manufacturing / mechanical drawings.

To learn more about the type of prints we require, take a look at the video below!

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Request For Quote

What is a RFQ?

A Request for Quote (RFQ) is a package of documents submitted to a company for pricing of parts, assemblies, and/or special processes. The documents within the RFQ package include manufacturing prints or drawings of the parts and assemblies to be manufactured. Other documents may include quantities, bill of materials, parts list, quality clauses, specifications, first article forms, terms and conditions, etcetera. The RFQ package should include everything needed to meet the manufacturing requirements. The one document we absolutely require is the dimensional drawing.

What is required to submit an RFQ?

The first things we will need are full dimensional drawings.  The drawings should also include the following:

  • Material type
  • Material thickness
  • Finish requirements
  • Quantity(s)

Now, you may be wondering why we need such detailed information right up front. At VIP, we actually go through the planning process of manufacturing your part(s) to ensure we can manufacture it, and to also identify if there are alternatives that will make you part less expensive to fabricate. This means no hidden “oops” fees later on. This also allows us to properly assign a realistic lead time.  This may seem like a lot of work upfront, which it definitely is! However, it is a great benefit for you and us because once your company is ready to place an order, the planning has already been done, which means we can go straight into manufacturing on the shop floor, allowing for shorter lead times than many other manufacturers.

VIP requires professional drawings that we can fabricate parts to. Here is an example of a good print and a bad print:

Good Print                                                          Bad Print

faqs faqs

Here is a video illustrating the minimum requirements for a quote:

What if I don't have prints or the minimum requirements?

If you do not have prints, the material type, material thickness, or finish, we recommend contacting our Business Development Team who will help set you in the right direction based on your needs. Whether you need engineering and design services, print generation, manufacturing recommendations, or you need suggestions, feel free to contact us! We're here to help!

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Conditions for Re-Quote

Request For Quote

When we provide a quote, there are aspects of the quote that are critical for the quote to remain valid or else it needs to be requoted. Here is a list of reasons for us to requote:

  • Quote Expires (valid for 30 days due to fluctuating material costs and material availability)
  • Part Number Changed
  • Revision Changed
  • Finish Changed
  • Additional Features Added
    • First articles
    • Silkscreen
    • Packaging requirements
    • Expedite

We requote in order to ensure the pricing is correct. Also, when you submit a purchase order, the quote needs to match exactly what we quoted. Often times, customers will submit a PO, but there are additional items like first articles added or the revision changed. So we would need to requote in order for both the quote and PO to match. This ensures we both have a common understanding of what you want and it's in black and white.

If we have to requote, it can take anywhere from 1 to 5 business days depending on the reason for requote. For instance, if the quote expired and there are no changes to the part or requirements, it can requoted within one business day. However, if the revision changed and first articles were added, it could take a few days longer because the part would have to be requoted from scratch to evaluate all the changes.

If you have any questions or if you are interested in getting your quote updated, please contact us.

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In the fabrication industry, specifically metal fabrication, you are probably in one of three phases: prototype, production, and mass production. All three are treated completely different when manufacturing.  Below is a preview of the different quantity brackets of manufacturing run types:

Many times prototype quantities range from 1 to 10 depending on the industry and part.This stage may also be known as product or part development. This is when your part or product is in its infancy stage. Since there is less economies of scale and the set up costs are allocated to very low quantities, prototypes are substantially more expensive per part to fabricate than production or even mass production. Read more...

This stage of manufacturing consists of batches of parts that range from 50 to the hundreds and usually performed in batches. This stage of product development is perfect for VIP's capabilities since our shop floor is divided into departments based on our capabilities. Since there are several parts involved, the set up costs are much less per part since the set up costs are allocated by all parts making the total cost per part more reasonable than say a prototype. Read more...

Mass Production
Once production has reached a point where the demand for the part or product is consistent and has reached quantities in the thousands to tens or even hundreds of thousands, your product is ready for mass production. Here at VIP, we have the equipment and staff to cater to these types of requirements! Read more...

Views of Manufacturability

When fabricating parts that are in different production stages, the parts are manufactured differently. Take a look below at the different views that are critical based on your particular job funtion to better understand manufacturability.

Buyers / Purchasing Agents
If you are a buyer or purchasing agent, here's some important information to consider and what you could expect based on the quantities to be ordered. When there are low quantity orders, it is expected that the pricing will be more expensive. This is due to the set-up costs being allocated between low quantities. For instance, a part has a set-up cost of $100, and you request pricing of quantities of 1, 5, 25, the pricing will be drastically different. For the sake of keeping things simple, lets not include any labor, material, or mark up costs and only consider the set-up cost of $100. Regardless of the number of parts being ordered, it will cost $100 to set-up the machines. So to break down the pricing based on the quantities, here is the pricing: Quantity 1 = $100, Quantity 2 = $50, Quantity 25 = $4.

Other aspects to consider are the run type, prototype, production, and mass production stages when looking at pricing. If you go to two suppliers for a quote to fabricate prototypes, and say Supplier #1 was significantly higher in price than Supplier #2, it would be wrong to think that for production and mass production, the pricing different would still be the same. See, depending on the run type, parts will be approached differently when being manufactured. For instance, say the cheaper Supplier #2 that was used for prototypes has a one-man shop and can easily be competitive with pricing compared to the more expensive Supplier #1 that has a shop with 100 workers. When you reach production, there needs to be several workers and machines in order to be competitive with pricing and lead time. Therefore, the production would be approached differently for manufacturability and Supplier #1 would be the right fit.

If you are an engineer, here's some important information to consider and what you could expect based on the quantities ordered. When engineering parts, it is crucial to keep in mind of how a part would be manufactured based on the quantities to be ordered. For instance if a part requires holes, during the prototype stage the holes might be hand drilled, whereas during production and mass production, a tool would be used on a turret punch machine. So it is good to plan hole sizes and tolerances based on how it will be manufactured. Engineering parts based on the approach of manufacturability will make parts more cost effective and will help lower lead times. This is important to remember whether parts require forming, punching, or welding. A part can look great in a model, but keeping in mind the appoach of how it will be manufactured is key!

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Purchase Orders

Purchase Orders

Purchase orders act as a binding contract between Vista Industrial Products, Inc. and your company. Therefore, it is crucial for the information on the purchase order to be as detail oriented as possible, especially in regards to the pertaining quote letter. The information that is on the quote letter is a guideline as to what information needs to be present on a purchase order. For instance, the quote letter includes the following information that needs to match the PO:

  • Part number
  • Part description
  • Revision
  • Quantity
  • Price
  • Exceptions and/or conditions*
  • Lead time

All this information, less the exceptions and/or conditions, are provided by the customer. If any information is missing, such as a revision or part number, we can provide them and will illustrate it on the quote letter. When a PO is submitted, it is very important to have the information listed above match what is on the quote. That way both VIP and the customer have a common understanding of what is to be fabricated and the documentation matches each other.

There have been several instances where customers will put incorrect information. In this case, we will send the PO back to be revised to illustrate matching information to the quote letter. Here are a couple examples of PO issues:

  1. *Exceptions/Conditions: These need to be approved when your order is placed. We cannot confirm an order if these are not approved and agreed upon before fabrication. The exceptions/conditions are our way of listing deviations, suggestions, changes, or other information on how we quoted the part. There are three ways of approving exceptions:
    • Roll Revision: Since the exceptions/conditions are generally used as redlines on the drawing, it is best to approve these changes by implementing them onto the drawing and rolling the revision. This is by far, the best method of approving exceptions. Keep in mind that when a revision is changed, we need to update our records and quote. Please see Conditions for a Requote for more information.
    • PO Approval: List the approval of the exceptions/conditions on the PO. For example: “Exceptions/Conditions approved” or by listing the exact exception/condition on the PO under the pertaining line item.
    • Email Approval: When submitting your PO via email, many times the customer will approve the exceptions/conditions in the email with the PO. This is the easiest way.
  2. Part Number: part numbers are shown on the print provided by the customer. On rare occasions, some prints do not provide this important information. As a result, VIP will assign the part number to the part and illustrate it on the quote letter. We have seen several times where the PO will have it's own name or part number that wasn't provided orginally to us. As a result, we will ask the customer to change the information to match the quote letter. The reason the information needs to match is because our system and document control all illustrate the information that is shown on the quote letter. Therefore, if the part number changes, everything will have to be changed and require us to go back and quote. That is why it is so important for POs to match the quote letter.
  3. Revision: the revision on the PO needs to match what we quoted. Many times we see a new revision on the PO that we have not quoted to. We cannot accept the PO and would have to go back to requote to the new revision.
  4. Pricing: for most of our customers, we quote multiple quantities per part based on the customers' request in order to see the different price breaks (quantities 5, 10, 25, 50, 100). A common issue we find is when customers have a quantity on their PO that we didn't quote to, but they somehow use the larger price break quantity, which is incorrect. For instance, if they were to put a quantity of 80, the unit price should match the quantity 50 price break because it hasn't reached the 100 piece price. However, we always see people try to use the 100 piece price, in which we have to return the PO to be revised.
  5. Due Date: our quote letters illustrate the lead time of how long it would take us to fabricate the parts. However, many times companies ignore this and will choose their own due date that is not within the specified lead time. In this case, we would confirm the PO back, but will correct the due date to be within the lead time we provided.
  6. Terms: our quote letter also provides the terms that we have established with your company. For new customers we require 50% upfront and 50% COD until terms are established. The PO needs to illustrate the right terms. Many times we see customers on their first order show Net 30, but we have yet to establish terms with them. The terms on the PO need to match the terms that are illustrated on the quote letter.

To make things simple, your purchase order needs to match what we quoted. This ensures you are getting the right part fabricated and that all of our paperwork matches to make this binding contract valid.

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Frequently Asked Questions


What is the first thing I need to work with VIP?

The first thing we will need is full dimensional prints.  If you do not understand what a full dimensional print is, we will be asking you a lot of questions or you can go here to learn more.  Below is an example of what a good print and a bad print look like:

Good Print                                                          Bad Print

faqs faqs

What if I don't have a PDF file or print?

If you have a tangible prototype, then come by our facility and we will be more than happy to discuss your product. Please give us a call to schedule an appointment at 760-599-5050 and ask to speak to someone in the Business Development Team.

What if I don't have either a print or prototype?

Give us a call at 760-599-5050 and speak to someone in the Business Development Team. We will be more than happy to point you in the right direction.

What other information is needed besides prints when I submit the RFQ?

When you submit your RFQ (Request For Quote) via email or fax, please let us know the following:

  • Expected turnaround time for the RFQ
  • Expected manufacturing lead times
  • Quantities for current RFQ (Annual Usage if Available)
  • Any special requirements if not annotated on print  (Example: Specific Packaging Requirements)

Please see our RFQ Process for more information.

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