The vast range of materials available can often confuse clients when it comes to picking the right metal to add to their custom metal products. The specific features of each material are vital for their representation in the metal industry, as some are versatile while others are not. Finding the ideal metal for your custom project can help you achieve the best outcome with minimum costs and optimised efficiency.
Sheet metal refers to raw metal material that has been industrially processed into a thin, flat plate for further fabrication. The advantage of sheet metal is the suitability of many different metal fabrication techniques such as cutting, bending and roll forming. Sheet metal is also a cheaper option in terms of the cost of processing and material expenses.
When choosing the right sheet metal for your custom metal products, it's vital to understand the characteristics each material possesses or lacks.
Many different types of sheet metal are used in metal fabrication. Metals are chosen based on project needs and the characteristics of the material, like strength, ductility, malleability, melting point and corrosion resistance. Steel, carbon steel, copper and aluminium are some popular choices in metal processing.
In the following section, we present some metals that are suitable for sheet metal fabrication. We discuss the types and textures of each metal to help you better understand what is the best choice for your project.
Steel is the most commonly used metal in fabrication. It is an alloy of iron and carbon (around 1%) that has a high strength-to-weight ratio compared to other metals. Steel upholds the characteristics of heaviness, stability and ideal corrosion resistance which makes it perfect for manufacturing small and strong steel parts. On average, up to 2 billion tonnes of steel are processed each year. The possibility of alloying with other metals also makes it the most popular choice in metal fabrication, especially with custom metal products.
Carbon steel is a steel alloy with a higher ratio of carbon than traditional steel. It is categorised into three groups, namely low, medium and high carbon steel, based on the amount of carbon used, which affects its features. The more carbon elements used, the higher the hardness level and the lower the ductility, malleability and melting point of the material. The use of carbon makes steel easier and cheaper to manufacture. This type of steel is commonly used to produce tools, mechanical equipment and building materials.
Stainless steel is carbon steel composed of aluminium, chromium and other elements. The combination of different materials gives it a polished silver mirror cover and high corrosion resistance. It is a widely used material that can be found in kitchen supplies, tables, sinks and other furniture. Its low likelihood of rusting makes it suitable for manufacturing any type of tool that comes into contact with food.
Iron is the most common and abundant metal in the world. It is strong and heavy with a high density and melting point that perfectly suits the manufacture of industrial ovens and heat chambers. Its rigidity helps reduce vibrations and makes it a popular choice for manufacturing frames and bases of heavy machinery. It is also highly prone to corrosion and oxidation.
Aluminium is another metal that is widely used in manufacturing. It performs well in colder temperatures and is lightweight and durable with an ideal conductivity in thermal and electrical aspects. Thanks to its low temperature-friendly feature, aluminium is great for refrigeration and aeronautics. One thing to consider is that aluminium sheet metal oxidises and corrodes when exposed to salt. Other than that, it is ideal for a wide range of applications, like power lines, high-rise buildings and aircraft components.
Magnesium is even lighter than aluminium. It is commonly used in the automobile industry as an advanced replacement for aluminium, especially due to its high-strength lightweight design. Its low density and strength make it an increasingly popular choice in industries needing custom metal products. Magnesium is often used in amalgamations with other metals. Magnesium alloy can be found in aircraft housing, automobile parts and machines that rotate during operation.
Copper is a very conductive metal with a high level of resistance to fatigue and corrosion. It is strong, durable and malleable which makes it suitable for manufacturing tools and equipment used in marine and industrial environments. Many electronics and electronic components, like wiring and motors, are also manufactured from copper due to its good conductivity. Copper is also used in construction and transportation.
Bronze is another version of copper which contains approximately 12% tin. The use of bronze can be traced back to the Bronze Age. It is tougher and harder than copper. Bronze works well in alloying with other metals such as aluminium, zinc and manganese, which also gives it more flexibility in manufacturing. Bronze is used in the woodworking industry, and phosphor bronze is applied in shipbuilding industries and in some general electrical applications too.
Zinc is a great material for coating and protecting other metals from corrosion. Galvanised steel is one example of zinc coating. Zinc has a low melting point and is easy to apply and recycle. The final product of zinc is strong and has low electrochemical potential, which makes it a good option for projects in industrial, marine and medical areas. Zinc is a common choice for metal fabrication. Other than the industries mentioned above, zinc is also used in hardware and electrical manufacturing.
Brass is an alloy composed of copper and zinc. This combination gives it high corrosion resistance, high durability and strength. It is also relatively lightweight compared to other types of metal. Brass is frequently used to make nuts, bolts, door knobs, hinges, furniture trim, clock components and more. It is reliable in custom metal products due to its strength and its ability to be easily moulded. This is why metal workers choose to use this alloy increasingly often today.
Sheet metal fabrication is a technique widely used in manufacturing components and products in various industries, such as aerospace, automotive, civil engineering and energy. It also pushes the development of technology by assisting the realisation of the R&D process.
In the article “6 Examples of The Many Projects Custom Metal Fabricators Can Distribute”, we present different examples of sheet metal fabrication projects to help you find out more possibilities for your projects and custom metal products.
AMP offers 4 different types of metal fabrication services, including laser cutting, metal bending, robotic welding and computer numerical control (CNC). These services are all provided by our experienced experts and advanced automated system that guarantees the superior quality of custom metal products.
Do you want to know which type of metal is the ideal choice for your project? Our AMP experts are always ready to help you figure out the best choice of material and metal fabrication techniques for your project. Contact us today to learn more about our services.
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In this article, we present some metals that are suitable for sheet metal fabrication. We discuss the types and textures of each metal to help you better understand what is the best choice for your project.Read more