Metal fabrication is the process in which various metals are used to create metal structures for industrial, residential, commercial, or artistic uses. Metals may be cut, bent, molded, or shaped to form the structures needed using a variety of techniques that involve a high level of skill and the ability to use different types of tools and heavy machinery. Read on to learn more about the different metals used in metal fabrication.
Commonly Used Metals in Metal Fabrication
Metals used in the fabrication process are chosen depending on the desired end product. For example, brass is commonly used to make functional, yet decorative, items like handles or doorknobs while stainless steel may be used to make surgical equipment or cookware.
Iron is commonly used in metal fabrication. It is used to make a variety of items like wrought iron furniture, staircase railings, ductwork or to make steel and stainless steel.
Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon along with limestone and other elements. Steel is an important material used in metal fabrication due to its strength, durability, versatility, and resistance to corrosion. There are several types of steel that display varying qualities depending on carbon and iron ratios along and the types of elements used in the alloy.
- Carbon Steel: Carbon steel is basically iron with varying degrees of carbon as its main alloying agent. Depending on the amount of carbon present, it is classified as low carbon steel or high carbon steel. Its formability, weldability, strength, and ability to be heat treated to precisely modify its mechanical properties make carbon steel a popular material in metal fabrication. High-carbon steel contains 0.6% to 1% carbon and has many different uses such as milling machines, cutting tools (such as chisels), and high-strength wires. Carbon steel has wide applications in various industries such as construction, automotive, manufacturing, and more.
- Stainless steel: The better-known cousin of carbon steel, stainless steel is used in everything from cabinetry to cookware, surgical implements to jewelry due to its rust-free properties along with its strength and durability. In addition to carbon steel, stainless steel also has chromium and aluminium as a part of its makeup.
Aluminium is a metal that is used widely especially in industrial or outdoor applications due to its anti-corrosive properties. One of the primary advantages of aluminum is its high strength-to-weight ratio. This makes it an ideal material for use in applications where weight is a critical factor. This lightweight, durable metal can be easily shaped and molded into various forms which is another reason why it is used in the fabrication of a wide range of products, including aircraft parts, automotive parts, building facades, and consumer goods.
You’d be hard-pressed to find any building without copper being used in some fashion whether it’s electrical wiring, plumbing, or decorative fittings. As it is a great conductor of electricity, it is popularly used in industrial applications and engines too. Copper alloys are also popularly used to make various metal products.
Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin which is much stronger than copper. The bronze alloy commonly known as bell metal has long been the preferred choice of metal for bells and cymbals. It is often used to make springs, masonry fixes, shafts, valve spindles, gears, and bearings. Bronze is also used in the manufacturing of small parts, bronze wool, and decorative items.
Magnesium is a silvery-white metal that is known for its light weight and high strength-to-weight ratio. It is often used to make other alloys or to fabricate products where rigidity is more important than strength. This makes magnesium a popular metal in the aeronautical and automobile industries. It is also used in machinery.
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. It is resistant to sea water corrosion making it the perfect metal for marine engines. Its anti-corrosion properties also make it ideal for plumbing applications where thermal conductivity is also needed. Door handles, hinges, and musical instruments are among brass’s most visible uses.
As you can see, metal fabrication has a wide range of applications depending on the metal in question and a metal fabricator must be well-versed in various fabrication techniques to achieve a desired result. At A Touch of Brass, we have over 40 years of experience in the metal fabrication industry, so you know your project is in safe hands.
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