Sheet metal refers to metal that has been formed into sheets of various thickness. The typical range of thickness for sheet metal varies from 7 gauge, which is .180 inches thick, to 26 gauge, which is .018 inches thick. When sheet stock is thicker than .180 inches, it is referred to as plate. Sheet metal fabricators in Washington use a variety of processes, including extruding, hammering, and rolling to give metal a flat, even surface. A variety of different types of metals may be used for forming sheet metal, such as tin, aluminium, carbon steel, stainless steel, copper, and brass. While not common, even precious metals such as gold and silver can be formed into sheet metal. Sheet metal fabricators in Washington often use processes that involve cutting, bending, and assembling in order to create a product that meets the customer's desired specifications.
The term gauge is used by sheet metal fabricators in Washington to refer to the unit of measurement that is utilized for determining the thickness of sheet metal. The thicker the metal, the smaller the gauge number. In cases involving non-ferrous metals, including aluminium and copper, the measurement is referred to as an ounce. Various applications may require the use of sheet metal in differing levels of thickness. The grade of the metal is another important factor used by sheet metal fabricators in Washington. Grade may be determined based on factors such as corrosion resistance, purity, and malleability.
Sheet metal is often used in a number of industries, including for decorative purposes, architectural designs, and industrial purposes. Today, sheet metal is also a popular medium used in installation art pieces as well as sculptures. Additionally, sheet metal can be used to create vents in tubes and ducts.
There are various ways in which sheet metal may be fabricated. Sheet metal fabricators in Washington start with drafting and design. The fabrication process itself is often comprised of shearing as well as punching, saw and laser cutting, welding, forming operations, and assembly. Based on the product to be manufactured, various machining operations may also be performed, such as drilling, counter-boring, tapping, and turning.