Sheet metal fabrication and uses
Sheet metal is metal that has been pressed into thin, flat sheets for specific uses in construction and industrial engineering. It is most commonly made from aluminum or steel, though it can also be crafted from tin, titanium, copper, brass and nickel. Rarely, it is used in decorative applications – in such cases, precious elements including silver, gold and even platinum can be used as the base metal.
The Sheet Metal Fabrication Process
In the sheet metal fabrication industry, many different processes are used to form sheets, depending on the desired style of the finished product and its intended application. Sheet metal fabricators used highly specialized (and very expensive) equipment to form, shape and cut the products they make. This equipment includes conventional, brake and turret punch presses, milling machines and lathes. Spot welders may also be used to ensure sheets of metal conform to specifications.
You can also order specialized varieties of sheet metal, including products with customized gauges, perforated sheet metal, sheet metal with seams for use in corners, and more. Custom fabricators are generally happy to accommodate customers with specific needs, regardless of how much or how little sheet metal they need to order.
Uses of Sheet Metal
In construction, sheet metal is used for a wide range of applications. While sheet metal roofing is a feature more common to industrial rather than residential buildings, it can still be used in houses to make roofs watertight. Sheet metal is also used as a wall covering and in decorative architectural elements like balustrades, cornices and columns. Otherwise, sheet metal is usually used in pipes, eaves and gutters.
Sheet metal installation is not necessarily easy and may require the use of specialized tools. If you're new to the DIY world or don't have any experience with installing metal, it may be more cost-effective to hire building contractors to do the work for you. Between the cost of the specialized tools you'll need and the possibility of doing the job incorrectly, it may make more financial sense to invest in the services of a professional.