The term “fabricator” can be used to describe a number of different occupations. In general, the word refers to anyone who builds or creates a machine or other object. In practice, however, the term most often is used to refer to people who actually build something based on written plans.
Fabricators can be found in practically every factory and machine shop. Not every fabricator will work for a corporation, however. Typically, fabricators who work for larger companies are more specialized. For example, a factory may employ welders, woodworkers, and other fabrication specialists who would work together in order to build a complicated machine or other piece of equipment. Smaller companies, however, will often employ fabricators with a wider range of skills. These workers would be responsible for using a variety of skills and techniques to create company products.
Fabricators can also work as independent contractors. Fabricators with highly specialized sets of skills, such as underwater welding or knowledge of ancient construction techniques, can work as fabrication consultants for a variety of clients. Many artists will also hire individuals or teams of fabricators in order to create large-scale pieces or help with installing multiple works in a gallery. It's important to note that in these cases, fabricators will work to replicate the artist's vision, often by following detailed drawings, rather than create their own pieces.
It’s important to note that many of the people who work as fabricators are usually thought of as highly-skilled professionals. While the definition of the word does not preclude low-skill individuals from this type of work, it is rare for basic assembly line workers or other employees with similar skills to refer to themselves as fabricators.