Sheet Metal Material : The Ultimate Guide

Choosing suitable sheet metal material for all your fabrication needs can be an overwhelming task.

Sheet Metal Material

Choosing suitable sheet metal material for all your fabrication needs can be an overwhelming task. The best part, this guide explores all possible types of sheet metals you can use for all your fabrication needs. Let’s dive right in.

Gauge Of Sheet Metal Material

We use gauge to refer to the standard thickness. Remember, as the sheet metal material thickness decreases, the gauge number increases. Remember the sheet metal gauge depends on the systems and type of material.

Of course, there are a number of gauge systems we use today. For example, 18 gauge steel is 0.0478 inches. On the other hand 18 gauge aluminum is 0.0403 inchs thick. Before adopting standard and metric system of measurements, gauge the best alternative.

In short, we have gauge number 7 to 30. The equivalent in inches or millimetres depends on the type of sheet metal.

Gauge Of Sheet Metal Material
Sheet Metal Material Selection

Sheet Metal Material Selection

The sheet metal material selection process is essential because each material has its cost requirements limitations and applications. The factors listed below must be considered during this process.

Surface finish options:

  • Yield strength of material
  • Level of hardness of the material
  • Ductility and formability properties
  • Level of weldability
  • Cost of material
  • Weight of the material

Ways Of Fabricating Sheet Metal Material

The process of making metal sheets into the required shapes and designs through various methods including cutting, bending and treatment.

  • Thermal cutting
  • Punching
  • Bending
  • Assembling
  • Powder coating
  • Drilling
  • Milling
  • CNC cutting
  • CNC turning

You can learn more about sheet metal fabrication processes.

Ways Of Fabricating Sheet Metal Material
Sheet Metal Material

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Types Of Sheet Metal Material

Stainless Steel Sheet Metal

Stainless steel is one of the metals that belong to the group known as ferrous alloys.

It is made up of about 11% chromium which gives it the corrosion resistant properties.

The carbon content of this alloy is at around 0.03-1.2%.

Stainless Steel Sheet Metal

Properties Of Stainless Steel

There are several properties that come with the use of stainless steel as the base material during fabrication.

It offers resistance to corrosion and this is due to the high percentage of chromium content in its chemical composition.

This metal has high tensile strength which is suitable for various applications in various industries.

Due to the high tensile strength and the corrosion resistance properties, the material is very durable.

The metal sheet material is also resistant to high temperatures.

Stainless steel sheet metal has excellent formability and fabrication properties.

The material is also very easy to maintain and clean due to its glossy surface finish.

Another property of stainless-steel metal is that it can be recycled.

Grades Of Stainless Steel Sheet Metal

Stainless steel sheet metals are classified into different families and within the families there are different grades.

Below is a list of these families and grades within the families.

Austenitic stainless-steel metals – this is the family that is popular with most industries involved in the fabrication processes.

The metals in this family are made up of chromium and nickel and other alloying elements.

This family has non-magnetic properties if annealed with solutions, however there are other grades with magnetic properties.

They offer perfect resistance to corrosion and creep and still remain very formable.

The most popular grades under this family include 310, 303, 316, 321 and 304 grades.

Ferric stainless-steel metals – this family has a low nickel content in its chemical composition which makes it pocket friendly.

They are made up of chromium, titanium and molybdenum; these elements improve the toughness.

Most of the grades in this family offer corrosion resistance and excellent formability properties.

Some of the grades that belong to this family include 430 and 409 grades.

Duplex stainless steel metals – this family tends to combine the properties from the ferritic and austenitic families.

Most of the metals in this family are made for specific properties and functions, for instance, higher tensile strength or toughness.

This family of stainless-steel metals offers good resistance to corrosion and they are very easy to weld.

Some of the duplex stainless steel alloys include LDX 2304, 318L, 2507, 4501 and LDX 2101 grades.

Martensitic stainless-steel metals – this is the family that is mostly preferred for applications that need precision and hardened edges.

The grades in this family can be tempered and hardened because it has more of the carbon content in its composition.

They have moderate resistance to corrosion and after hardening they acquire magnetic properties.

Some of the grades found in this family are 420 and 410 grades.

Benefits Of Stainless-steel Sheet Metal

Stainless steel sheet metal offer excellent resistance to corrosion; grades that are low alloyed can resist corrosion from the atmosphere.

Grades with high alloy properties offer resistance to chlorides, acids, alkaline solutions and high temperatures.

Most of these metals are easy to cut, form and fabricate.

Stainless steel metal can be cold or heat worked to increase their tensile strength and reduce their thickness.

They offer many surface finish options and is very popular due to its aesthetic appearance.

This material has good hygienic properties since it is very easy to clean and maintain.

The metal offers high durability due to the strength and its corrosion resistance properties.

It offers an endless cycle of recyclability.

Applications Stainless-steel Sheet Metal

They are used in the automotive industry for making automotive parts and equipment used within the industry.

This material is also suitable for use in the medical and pharmaceutical industry for making medical equipment.

Stainless steel in the food industry is used for making various products such as equipment for food processing.

They are also preferred by the construction industry for making parts used for making equipment and machines.

In the energy industry, stainless steel is used to construct oil refineries, wind towers or nuclear reactors.

Learn more: Stainless Steel Sheet Metal Fabrication.

Carbon Steel Sheet Metal

Carbon steel sheet metal is an alloy of carbon and iron with a higher carbon content.

It is stronger and more durable compared to stainless steel and that’s why it is preferred for engineering and construction applications.

Carbon Steel Sheet Metal

Properties Of Carbon steel Sheet Metal

Low carbon steel has the following properties; low hardness, the structure is ferritic, pocket friendly with high formability properties.

Medium carbon steel possesses the following properties; medium strength, medium ductility and toughness and medium hardness.

Medium carbon steel has martensitic structure.

High carbon steel has the following properties; pearlite structure, it’s very hard, very strong and ductile.

Grades of Carbon Steel Sheet Metal

Carbon steel is classified in to three main classes; the classification depends on the amount of carbon content in its composition.

Low carbon steels – it is the most popularly used type of carbon steel.

The carbon content for this subgroup is at about 0.25 wt.%.

The hardening process is achieved through cold working.

Another property is their low strength and soft nature; they can be machined or welded with ease.

However, the high strength low alloy steel also belongs to this subgroup, though they contain more elements like copper and nickel.

Medium carbon steels – its carbon content is at about 0.25 to 0.60 wt.% with manganese occupying 0.60 to 1.65 wt.% of its composition.

It can be heat treated to achieve the required hardness and they usually possess a martensitic structure.

This material has lower ductility properties and high strength.

High carbon steels – it comes with high carbon content of about 0.60 to 1.25 wt.% with manganese content of about 0.30 to 0.90 wt.%.

It’s a very hard and tough material but with very poor ductility properties.

It has great resistance to corrosion.

The die steels and tool steels belong to this subgroup; however, they contain other alloying elements like chromium and others.

Benefits Of Carbon Steel Sheet Metal

The metal type is very durable, strong and can resist shock hence is normally preferred by industries in construction.

Carbon steel is very sustainable and friendly to the environment since it has unlimited recyclability properties.

Parts created using this material are very pocket friendly and because of its strength, less material is used in applications.

This material is very easy and safe when it comes to handling; it can be used to make cookware.

Applications Of Carbon Steel Sheet Metal

Low carbon steels are used in making automobile body parts, pipes, structural shapes, bridge parts and food cans.

Medium carbons steels are used for making train wheels, railway tracks, gears and crankshafts.

High carbon steels are used for making springs, wires, dies and cutting tools.

Cold Rolled Steel

Cold rolled steel is a low carbon steel which has been produced through any cold rolling procedure under room temperatures.

Cold Rolled Steel

Properties of cold Rolled Steel

The material is strong and hard due to cold treating.

It can offer resistance against breaking and tension.

The material has high ductility properties.

Cold rolled steel has great formability properties.

The products made from these materials offer superior surface quality precision.

Working with this material enables the manufacturer to come up with various product standards.

Grades For Cold Rolled Steel.

For this type of material, the classification is done depending on the allowable yield strength.

DC01 – This grade is suitable for non-complicated fabrication work.

DC03 – The grade is suitable for applications such as deep drawing and creating difficult profiles.

DC04 – It is recommended for higher formability applications with complex designs.

DC05 – This is a thermoforming grade and is suitable for higher formability applications.

DC06 – a special deep drawing property suitable for higher deformation needs.

DC07 – possess highly deep drawing properties recommended for the best deformation requirements.

Benefits Of Cold Rolled Steel

This material offers increased strength and if it was to be compared with hot rolled steel, the cold rolled steel is 20% stronger.

Another benefit offered by this material is the superior surface finishes it offers which is very smooth with no defects.

A cold rolled steel is usually very thin which does not compromise the strength and this means it offers tighter tolerances.

There are various options available for making a cold rolled steel such as quarter hard, full hard, half hard or skin hard.

Applications Of Cold Rolled Steel

In the automotive industry, the cold rolled steel is used in making equipment for use in suspension, engine and transmission applications.

The material is also suitable for making pipes and tubes due to its superior strength.

The consumer product industry uses the cold rolled steel to make products due to its corrosion resistance properties.

It is also used in the engineering industry to make applications like drums, barrels and furniture.

Cold rolled steel is also recommended for making metal furniture because it can produce high precision requirements.

The material is also best suited for making metal packaging.

Electrical panels can be made from the cold rolled steel.

Hot Rolled Steel Sheet Metal

This is the product obtained from rolling the steel metal at high temperatures.

The temperatures used here must be higher than the crystallization temperature for the steel.

hot Rolled Steel

Properties Of Hot Rolled Steel Sheet Metal

The material is highly formable and deformable to make different shapes.

Another property is its increased ductility properties.

It is also very tough and strong

The metal sheet may have slight distortions due to the high temperatures.

Hot rolled steel sheet metal normally have edges that are slightly round because of shrinkage and lack of precision.

Grades Of Hot Rolled Steel Sheet Metal

A36 Hot Rolled Steel – this is a low carbon steel with the carbon content of around 0.3%, 1.03 manganese, 0.2% copper, and 0.05% sulphur, 0.28% silicon and 0.04% phosphorus.

ASTM A36 has same chemical properties with 1018 steel.

It is used in different industries including automotive, construction, oil and gas among others.

1018 Hot Rolled Carbon Steel – this metal offers better strength and formability properties.

The metal is made up of 0.18% carbon with manganese content of 0.6%.

It is used in different industries to make products such as gears, pins, liners, studs, and ratchets among others.

Hot Rolled ASTM A513 Steel – it is suitable for making steel tubes.

The material is easy to cut, form and weld.

It can be used for making various products such as solar panel frames, home appliances, agriculture equipment and more.

Hot Rolled ASTM A786 Steel – this material is known for its high strength and is popular for manufacturing treat plate used in flooring.

1020/1025 Hot Rolled Steel – it is very popular with construction and engineering industries.

The material is recommended for making tools and dies, automotive parts.

Benefits Of Hot Rolled Steel Sheet Metal

The material comes with low cost and it is highly affordable.

It is highly formable and deformable into various shapes and designs as desired.

There is little or no internal stress during the process because the cooling process is controlled at a very low pace.

Applications Of Hot Rolled Steel Sheet Metal

In the construction industry, the hot rolled steel sheet metal is used for making various construction products.

It is also used to make tubes and pipes, truck frames, doors, rail road car parts.

The material is recommended for making tools and dies, automotive parts.

Tool Steel Sheet Metal

This is any type of steel that can be used to make tools like hand tools or machines or dies.

It should be hard, strong and resistant to corrosion and abrasion.

Properties Of Tool Steel Sheet Metal

They are very tough and strong.

The material is also heat resistant and wear resistant.

Tool steel must have the ability to resist breakage and cracking.

Grades Of Tool Steel Sheet Metal

Water Hardening (W-Grades) -this is a high carbon steel which is suitable for low temperature applications.

It is pocket friendly but can be brittle when hardened.

Air Hardening (A-Grades) – it has better machinability properties with good toughness and wear resistance.

D Type (D-Grades)- contains high carbon, high chromium and can be hardened by air.

It can resist abrasion and corrosion.

Oil Hardening (O-Grades) – it offers abrasion resistance and toughness.

Shock resisting types (S-Grades) – it has low carbon content with high toughness and low abrasion resistance.

Hot-Working (H-Grades) -it can be used for applications under high temperatures.

Benefits of Tool Steel Sheet Metal

It has better wear resistance

The hardenability is great

Its ability to offer resistance against impact and corrosion is on another level.

Applications of Tool Steel Sheet Metal

It is used in forming, cutting, stamping, and shearing for various industries.

Extrusion of plastic sections can be done through this material.

Computer parts can be stamped through this material

Used for making slitting equipment for steel coils.

Aluminized Steel Sheet Metal

This is steel metal that has aluminium-silicon alloy coating on both surfaces through hot dipping.

Properties Of Aluminized Steel Sheet Metal

The coefficient of thermal expansion is low.

It can resist high temperatures.

The formability properties of this material are great.

There is a combination of both strength and corrosion resistance.

Grades Of Aluminized Steel Sheet Metal

CS – this grade is meant for commercial applications.

FS – suitable for making equipment for forming Steel.

DDS – recommended for making machines for Deep-Drawing applications.

EDDS – used in Extra Deep-Drawing applications.

SS – Structural Steel used in the construction industry.

HSLAS – High Strength with low alloys.

Benefits Of Aluminized Steel Sheet Metal

The coefficient of thermal expansion is low.

It can resist high temperatures.

The formability properties of this material are great.

There is a combination of both strength and corrosion resistance.

Applications Of Aluminized Steel Sheet Metal

It can be used to make water heaters, heat exchangers, space heaters, incinerators, drying ovens, furnaces and many more.

Galvanized Steel Sheet Metal

This is steel that has been hot-dipped into zinc to form a coating on both surfaces with a metallurgic bond.

Properties Of Galvanized Steel Sheet Metal

The material comes with better resistance to mechanical damage.

It also has great resistance to abrasion.

Grades Of Galvanized Steel Sheet Metal

CS – this grade is meant for commercial applications.

FS – suitable for making equipment for forming Steel.

DDS – in making machines for Deep-Drawing applications.

EDDS – used in Extra Deep-Drawing applications.

SS – Structural Steel in the construction industry.

HSLAS – High Strength with low alloys.

Benefits Of Galvanized Steel Sheet Metal

The material is less expansive.

It is durable and very sustainable.

The coating is very protective against corrosion.

Formability properties are very great.

Applications Of Galvanized Steel Sheet Metal

It is used for making exterior building products.

Also used for making automotive parts, appliances, parking lots, doors, sashes, roofing and many others.

You can also learn about: Galvanized Sheet Metal Fabrication.

Aluminium Sheet Metal

This a chemical element with light weight properties and high corrosion resistant properties.

Properties Of Aluminium Sheet Metal

It has low density, high thermal conductivity,

Offers resistance to corrosion

It is also easily formable and machinable.

Grades Of Aluminium Sheet Metal

3003 aluminium – this is pure aluminium hardened by adding manganese.

It is made up of 1.2% Mn, 0.12% Cu and 98.6% Al.

6061 aluminium – very resistant to corrosion and has good weldability.

1100 aluminium – this is grade is 99% aluminium with good weldability and formability.

It also has good resistance to corrosion.

Benefits Of Aluminium Sheet Metal

Aluminium is versatile, lightweight and flexible.

The material is resistant to corrosion.

Electrical and Thermal Conductivity is great

It also has good ductility properties.

Odourless and Impermeable.

It can be Recycled.

Applications Of Aluminium Sheet Metal.

Aluminium is used in different industries for making various products including kitchen utensils, foils, cans and aeroplane parts.

You can learn more about: Aluminum Fabrication.

Copper Sheet Metal

This is a soft, ductile and easily malleable metal with electrical and thermal conductivity.

Properties Of Copper Sheet Metal

Good heat and electrical conductivity.

High corrosion resistance.

Great biofouling resistance.

Good machinability.

Highly formable.

Non-magnetic properties.

Benefits Of Copper Sheet Metal

It is very flexible and formable.

It can be used different applications

Copper has good thermal and electrical conductivity

The corrosion resistance properties are very good.

Applications Of Copper Sheet Metal

Can be used to make power transmission lines.

Architectural applications.

Great for making cooking utensils and spark plugs.

Electrical wiring, cables and busbars.

It is also the best choice for making High conductivity wires, Electrodes, Heat exchangers.

You can also learn more about: Copper sheet metal fabrication.

Brass Sheet Metal

This is an alloy formed between copper and zinc in varying proportions.

Properties of Brass Sheet Metal

The material is stiff and is prone to cracking under stress.

It is very malleable

The melting point is very high.

It is non-ferromagnetic.

Benefits Of Brass Sheet Metal

It offers resistance to corrosion and rust.

The metal is very strong and durable.

Applications Of Brass Sheet Metal

It is used for making the following products for various applications;

Hose coupling, locks, gears, electrical plugs, valves, castings and many others.

You can also learn more about: Brass sheet metal fabrication.

If you need any sheet metal for fabrication processes, contact us now.

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