One of the most crucial steps when starting a metal project is choosing the right material and thickness.
There are numerous factors to consider when selecting your metal. We’ll walk you through a series of questions to ask yourself before making a decision. If you’re still unsure, feel free to contact us. We have a knowledgeable team who is happy to help you every step of the way.
Determining where your final parts will live will help you determine if you a material that is weather and rust resistant. A custom motor mount for your sweet hot rod is going to need to be rust resistant whereas an indoor sign will be exposed to fewer elements. Will your metal be exposed to sun? Water? Chemicals?
Our most element resistant metals:
If you’re making signage, weight is a key factor to keep in mind. A thick steel sign might sound pretty “sick,” but it will also be quite heavy. Are you mounting it somewhere that can bear the weight? Are the custom Christmas ornaments you designed going to bend the branches? When designing signage and decorative pieces, you’ll want to stick with lighter and thinner metals.
Our best metals for hanging pieces:
We offer some malleable metals. However, in addition to knowing whether your metal will be bent or not, you also need to know how sturdy it should be. Needing a bend doesn’t always mean you need something that bends easily. When you’re in need of a sturdier metal for bending, consider the thickness.
Our most malleable metals:
Some metals are just prettier than others. When designing decorative pieces like jewelry, cake toppers, signage, – the list goes on – the appearance of the metal makes a big difference. Are you going for shiny or rustic? Are you looking for a certain color?
Our best looking metals:
Some metals are easier to coat and paint than others. The less prep work you have to do the better — right?
Our best metals for coating and painting:
For more functional parts, durability and strength is key. What kind of weight will your metal be bearing? What kind of pressure?
Our strongest, most durable metals:
Our best metals for welding:
Conductivity measures the flow of electricity in a material. While all metals are conductive to some degree, some metals are more conductive than others.
Some metals are less dense and therefore easier to drill and sand. If you’re looking to reduce the amount of elbow grease, we recommend the metals below.
Our most machineable metals:
Once you’ve decided on a metal, you can then determine a thickness. Some of the questions above will assist you in selecting both. If you’re needing to bend your parts, choosing a thinner thickness is obviously going to make the bending much easier. When designing signage, the larger the sign, generally the thinner you want to go to lessen the weight. When designing more functional parts like a fork clamp for your custom chopper, or the base for a hatchet, thicker is going to be stronger and more durable.
We’ve provided a chart to help you find the right inch, gauge or millimeter for your projects. As always, we’re happy to answer any questions you may have. If you’re unsure the right thickness, shoot us an email and we’ll help you decide.