Category Archive: Sheet Metal Fabrication

Types of Sheet Metal for Fabrication

 

Miscellaneous Sheet Metal Work

Utilizing a comprehensive cold working process, manufacturers are able to form thin sheets of metal into a variety of components. This process, known as sheet metal fabrication, is highly versatile and includes steps, such as splicing, shearing, and riveting. Sheet metal is generally no more than 6 mm thick, and is available in many types. Choosing the appropriate sheet metal material for the desired application makes it possible to enhance certain component properties, such as: 

  • Corrosion resistance
  • Finish
  • Rigidity
  • Strength

Types of Sheet Metal

There are six major types of sheet metal material, each with its own unique advantages:

  • Alloy steel
  • Stainless steel
  • Carbon steel
  • Tool steel
  • Galvanized steel
  • Aluminum

Alloy Steel

As the name suggests, alloy steel combines multiple elements to enable a customizable set of properties. The main component of this material is carbon steel. Common additions include tungsten, chromium, and manganese, for rigidity, or vanadium and nickel, for strength. In addition to its versatility, alloy steel is also highly affordable.

Stainless Steel

This type of sheet metal is ideal for products that will be exposed to frequent moisture. It contains chromium, an element that significantly reduces corrosion caused by harsh or damp environments. Components made from stainless steel sheet metal fabrication can increase the lifespan of a product or structure, from kitchen sinks to office buildings.

Carbon Steel

Iron is alloyed with carbon in this sheet metal material, providing an option with high amounts of strength. Depending on the desired application, a manufacturer can choose from steel with low, medium, or high levels of carbon content.

Low amounts of carbon result in a highly versatile material, most commonly found in everyday objects like fences and gates. Medium carbon steel is a popular choice for automotive vehicles and appliances. Higher levels of carbon result in a slightly more fragile product, ideal for delicate items, such as wires.

Carbon steel is available in six different grades:

  • A36 sheet metal
  • A572-50 sheet metal
  • A516-70 sheet metal
  • AR400 sheet metal
  • A588 sheet metal
  • A1011 sheet metal

Tool Steel

Immensely versatile, tool steel is a rigid alloy containing about one percent carbon. As with alloy steel, the elements contained within tool steel vary in type and ratio depending on the desired application. Tool steel is resistant to abrasion, and functions well in extreme temperatures. Its properties make this type of sheet metal ideal for the construction of tools, such as punches, dies, blades, and hammers.

Galvanized Steel

Galvanized steel is available in two varieties: electro-galvanized sheets and hot-dipped metallic-coated sheets. The former is composed of cold rolled annealed steel. It has a pure zinc coating with no zinc spangle. The latter is composed of cold rolled hard steel plates coated with a mixture of pure zinc and an iron-zinc alloy. This type of galvanized steel offers more corrosion resistance, and is slightly more affordable than electro-galvanized sheets.

Aluminum

For applications that require a more lightweight material, aluminum is an excellent option. This type of sheet metal offers significant corrosion resistance even without a finish. Aluminum is also strong, and can undergo laser cutting, welding, and machining.

Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication From T/J Fabricators

Since our establishment in 1967, we at T/J Fabricators have been a leading supplier of fabrication services across a wide range of industries. We offer the following precision sheet metal fabrication capabilities:

Regardless of project complexity, our knowledgeable team of experts will work closely with you to create high-quality components fabricated to your unique specifications. Contact us or request your quote today to work with us on your next project.

Sheet Metal Forming Processes

Forming ServicesSheet metal forming involves the use of force to deform metal without removing material. When the metal is carefully pushed beyond its yield strength — but not so far that it fails — it can be formed into shapes ranging from a simple bend to complex geometries. A range of precision sheet metal forming processes allow sheet metal to be fabricated, involving specialized equipment to stretch or shape the material.

Bending

Dies are used to form smaller metal components into the shape of the die, while longer pieces of sheet metal can be shaped with press brakes. The bending process causes stretching at the outer arc and compression on the inner angle. Just as with any other flexible material, the metal tends to revert slightly after forming the curve; so, to compensate for the springback, this process requires strategically over-bending the metal.

Infographic describing sheet metal forming processes

Laser Cutting

Holes can be burned into metal more quickly and precisely than other methods by using high-powered lasers. Metal also can be automatically incised with laser-cutting computer numerical control machines. The lasers used are one of three types of lasers: CO2, neodymium, or yttrium-aluminum-garnet.

Punching

When sheet metal is placed between a punch and a die, it works similarly to a paper hole punch. The force of the metal being pushed against the die creates holes in the metal.

While the holes are seemingly created with one swift movement, in reality, it is a four-step process:

  1. The metal is deformed.
  2. The hole is scored or cut.
  3. The metal is broken along the cut line
  4. The punch slug is ejected.

Extrusion

In sheet metal extrusion, a tool is used to punch a hole and extrude the material downward at the same time. This can be used to create holes for self-tapping sheet metal screws or machine screws, and it reduces the need for secondary operations. The process is commonly used with enclosures, components for furniture, storage systems, and any other component that requires punching and extrusion.

Embossing

Embossing uses matched male and female embossing dies to create raised or sunken patterns in sheet metal. This set of dies includes a punch and a cavity. Metal thickness and properties determine the maximum depth of the embossing. This process can be used in the following applications:

  • Function – Embossing can be used to improve a performance characteristic of a metal component. It can be used in a variety of ways, including reducing friction and static, enhancing traction, improving metal stiffness, or increasing surface area.
  • Visual – Embossing produces patterns on sheet metal components that can be purely aesthetic. Applications include automotive trim elements, consumer products, or electronic enclosures.

Precision Sheet Metal Fabrication at T/J Fabricators

When your application requires precision and reliability, you need a company that has been proven to adhere to the strictest of quality standards. At T/J Fabricators, Inc., we hold ourselves to stringent standards of excellence, with the use of state-of-the-art equipment and digital scanning. For more information about our capabilities, contact us today or request a quote here.