When choosing a type of metal for your project, there are a lot of things to take into consideration – weight, aesthetic, exposure to the elements, finish, and even playability (if the metal needs to be bent). Whether it be a sign you’re hanging outside, or an art piece you’ll be shaping and hanging on a wall, you’ll need to make an educated choice in the metal your project is cut from.
If you lack a degree in metallurgy, civil engineering, or chemistry, don’t fret. This handy metals guide will give you all the info you need to make a confident decision. And if you’re still unsure, ask the experts at SendCutSend – they’re eager to help.
Here’s a guide to common metals used in laser cutting projects:
Stainless steel was created with
corrosion resistance in mind. By adding chromium (among a few other
metals) manufactures could create a metal that encompasses the best of
all worlds. Along with being non-corrodible, it’s also beautiful and
durable. Stainless steel is all around you – it’s in your kitchen, in
your garage, in your yard and pretty much everywhere you go. It’s
versatility and price point make it a go-to material for a wide range of
Benefits of Stainless Steel:
The properties of this remarkable
element sound like it’s straight out of a science fiction novel. Even in
its pure form, aluminum is very light in weight, yet strong. Like
steel, it’s ductile – meaning it can be shaped and formed without losing
its strength. Lasty, it’s reactive and forms a natural corrosion
resistance when exposed to air.
When producing aluminum for
commercial use, it’s mixed with a few other metals. So, many industries,
including the aerospace industry, rely heavily on aluminum. In fact,
it’s so prevalent in our everyday lives that it’s easy to take for
Benefits of Aluminum:
Like aluminum, copper is an element that can be mined directly from the earth. It can even be put to use in its pure form. This is why it was the first metal to be smelted and used by early man around 8,000 BC.
Copper also comes with a long list of
uses. It’s conductive, which makes it great for pieces like bus bars
and other electrical parts. It’s non-corrosive, which makes it great for
pipes and plumbing. And lastly,… it’s gorgeous. Copper can be brushed, oiled, or patinated, but its look is stunning when left just how it is.
Benefits of Copper:
The copper-zinc alloy known as brass has loads of uses apart from making up the loudest section of an orchestra. It’s gold look gives it aesthetic qualities for uses in things like jewelry and wall art. It’s low friction point (i.e. it won’t make sparks) makes it perfect for use in all kinds of functional applications such locks, door fixtures, and ammunition.
Benefits of Brass:
Steel is an alloy made of iron and carbon. Its ductile strength makes it a go to when erecting buildings, bridges and machinery. For laser cut metal parts, you have a couple options to choose from – hot rolled (HRPO) or cold rolled steel.
Hot rolled steel is created when the
steel is rolled at very high temperatures, which makes the steel easier
to form, resulting in a product that’s easy to work with. The finished
steel is left with a thin layer of magnetite
on it known as “scale.” The scale is reduced with a “pickling and
oiling” finish, leaving the surface of this steel nice and smooth.
Benefits of HRP&O Steel:
The process for making cold rolled
steel is a little like making chocolate in that it’s a tempered
material. The steel is rolled hot, but then rolled more after it has
cooled down to room temperature. This allows for the metal to be shaped
into a thinner sheet, and, unlike hot rolled steel, requires no further
processing to achieve a smooth, finished surface.
Benefits of Cold Rolled (Mild) Steel:
If you’re ready to pull the trigger on your project, upload your design here at sendcutsend.com. If you still have questions, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org – the team is standing by, eager to help.