Sheet metal is a type of building material that is flattened into thin sheets. It can be formed out of different kinds of metals, including aluminum, brass, copper, steel, tin, nickel, and titanium.
The thickness of the sheets can vary depending on the materials needed for a project. Very thin sheets are called foil or leaf, which is where the name for the household aluminum foil was created.
Designing products with sheet metal does come with its limitations, but there are so many benefits to working with this design material that they outweigh the cons. Some of the most ingenious designs on Cad Crowd are made from sheet metal.
Here are five reasons you should incorporate sheet metal into your next CAD design project.
Sheet metal is used in nearly every industry at some level. Because sheet metal is so versatile, most consumers might not even recognize a product as being made of sheet metal, like aluminum foil.
A lot of the time, we tend to think of sheet metal as a material used for constructing industrial machines and equipment, but there are many common uses for sheet metal too.
A few common items that are made of sheet metal are:
- Canned beverages
- Refrigerators and freezers
- Road signs
- Trains, planes, and cars
Some of the many industries that use sheet metal on the regular are:
- Heating and Cooling
- Furniture Design
- Food and Kitchenware
- Architecture and Construction
The way sheet metal is made can also vary, which only adds to the number of ways the material can be used. The types of different metals that can be made into sheet metal are surprisingly high, since the ones we most commonly see are steel and aluminum.
The thickness of a material has a huge impact on how and where it can be used. Since sheet metal can be formed to virtually any thickness, the possibilities are endless.
If you need a material that is strong and durable, sheet metal is the way to go. The material can endure near endless wear-and-tear without becoming weakened or damaged. This makes it an ideal material to use in high-traffic areas.
Not only can sheet metal endure the strain of everyday use, it is also resilient against harsh conditions. The sheets are formed using chemicals that make it resistant to UV rays, heat, and corrosion from water and other sources. This is why so many homeowners are switching to sheet metal roofing and siding and why sheet metal is often used in dryers and ovens.
Chances are, the average Joe would not describe sheet metal as a flexible material, but he would be wrong. Think about aluminum foil, as we’ve mentioned a few times. The sheets of aluminum are so thin, the foil can be bent over itself countless times and easily ripped into smaller pieces.
The truth is, sheet metal is not only flexible on its own, but it has a high flexibility in terms of what you can do with it.
Because it is so strong and durable, sheet metal can be folded, bent, cut, stretched, punched, and basically abused without losing any of its toughness. You may not be able to do all of that with just your hands, but with the right tools and equipment, sheet metal can be whipped into any shape you need.
This malleability comes from how thin the material is combined with its low density. What this means for designers is there is a whole world of custom solutions that can be created using sheet metal instead of another, less flexible, material.
While sheet metal is not what you might traditionally think of as a lightweight material, compared to other heavier materials, it is on the lighter side. The ratio of weight-to-thickness in sheet metal is low, making it easier to transport and work with than heavier metal materials. In terms of transportation, sheet metal is perfect for stacking, so large amounts of it can be shipped at the same time, reducing costs.
On top of reducing shipping costs, sheet metal itself doesn’t cost nearly as much as other metal materials, helping you cut production costs too. Its relatively low cost also gives it an advantage in both one-time-use situations and when you need larger quantities of it for bigger or longer-term projects.
In many industries, the question of whether to repair a part or replace it for a new one is asked commonly enough to be talked about at length. When working with sheet metal, the cost of the material is so low that it can actually be cheaper to replace it than to try repairing it.
Although it’s unlikely, if sheet metal ever gets damaged, the stress of replacing the parts is a lot lower than it would be with other materials. It’s a lot cheaper than metals that are also used for their strength and durability. Save yourself the money and the headache: use sheet metal in your next project.
With new technology and equipment being created all the time, the number of ways sheet metal can be used is only increasing, meaning the benefits of using it are increasing too. Now the design tools that are run by computers can cut, shape, and bend sheet metal to exact measurements—much more precisely than even the best-trained humans could do.
Our designers are experts in their fields and stay on top of all the latest technology and equipment needed to create the best designs, so you’re always getting the advantage of being ahead of the game. Let their expertise help you when designing your next product out of sheet metal.
What’s better than one superb design? How about ten? Hold your own design contest and see just how many designs for your product our designers can create within your deadline. We’re so confident in their abilities, Cad Crowd has a quality guarantee.