Category Archive: Steel

4 Uses of Stainless Steel for Commercial Applications

4 Uses of Stainless Steel for Commercial Applications

Stainless steel continues to be one of the most reliable metals worldwide. It’s so prevalent in our daily lives that we almost take it for granted. But these four uses of stainless steel for commercial applications would be lost without it.

1) Steel Machines

Stainless steel is one of the longest-lasting metals because it resists corrosion, stains, and high temperatures. Many factories choose stainless steel machinery because of its longevity and other advantages.

Companies lose time and money on repairs and maintenance if they don’t invest in long-lasting machinery. Note that even stainless-steel machinery needs regular care and cleaning, but you will have less unscheduled maintenance with high-quality stainless steel’s durability.

2) Stable Infrastructure

Stainless steel is a fantastic choice for structural, load-bearing applications due to its wide range of useful qualities. Infrastructure uses various forms of austenitic and duplex stainless steel, including sheet, plate, bar, and tubing.

Standard austenitic material is available in a variety of hot-rolled or welded structural components. Duplex stainless steel is often a made-to-order material. Additionally, cold forming, extruding, and laser fusing create structural components. There is a large selection of stainless steel nuts, bolts, screws, and washers, among other fasteners.

3) The Medical Field

There are several applications for stainless steel in the medical device manufacturing industry. In addition to being resistant to corrosion and fire, this material is also relatively low-maintenance and offers several other advantages.

It is crucial that medical supplies are simple to sterilize to prevent the spread of germs and infectious diseases. Stainless steel holds up well to routine cleaning and sterilization, unlike some other less durable materials.

Surgical procedures, biomedical implants, and other critical areas of medicine have long relied on stainless steel for a variety of reasons. Because of their proximity to the human body and its substances, it is crucial that these steels are sanitary. They must also be resistant to the concentrated acids used in disinfecting and cleaning settings.

When patients go to the doctor or the dentist, they get a firsthand look at the tools of the trade. Whether it’s a surgical instrument or a non-invasive implant, stainless steel is the material of choice. The hospital bed, a ubiquitous fixture in any hospital’s wards, is a prime example of the widespread use of stainless steel in the healthcare industry.

4) National Defense

Products made from stainless steel are versatile and find usage in many different fields. While many of these applications are commonplace, others are more niche. Aerospace and military are two of the most crucial applications. Stainless steel’s resistance to rust and corrosion, thanks to its chromium content, is only one of several qualities that make it well-suited for these uses.

Rocket engines work at high temperatures and pressures, so they need components to resist such conditions. That’s why stainless steel is popular for rocket engine parts like the combustion chamber and nozzle.

Stainless steel has several applications in the military sector, including manufacturing aircraft, weaponry, and ammunition, as well as tanks, submarines, and ships. Because of its high strength-to-weight ratio and resistance to corrosion, it is a great material for these uses.

It’s evident from the four uses of stainless steel for commercial applications that it’s versatile and prominent in many sectors. Thin Metal Sales are ready to answer the call if you want quality stainless steel for your task. We pride ourselves on being your number one choice for stainless steel sales, no matter how big or small the job is.

A Quick Overview of Sheet Metal Fabrication

A Quick Overview of Sheet Metal Fabrication

Sheet metal fabrication is creating three-dimensional metal objects from two-dimensional metal sheets. This process often includes fabricating components and pieces from sheet metals of various sorts. It’s a versatile method that can produce many different metal parts from materials, including aluminum, steel, stainless steel, copper, and brass.

It is common practice in sheet metal production to use many processes in tandem to create the final product. Let us explain those processes in this quick overview of sheet metal fabrication.

Shear Determination

The fabrication process for sheet metal usually begins with the cutting process. Cutting the metal sheet to size requires specialist equipment like shears or laser cutters.

Cutting happens in three distinct ways: shearing, punching, or blanking. However, sheet metal fabricators also do non-shearing cutting operations. This method is the best option for industrial tasks requiring precise cutting and shorter turnaround times.

Bend and Don’t Break

Bending may produce various angles and forms, from the simplest to those that take many bends. In addition, bending is a low-investment method that may produce high-quantity components of stable quality. Although bending seems easy to the naked eye, it is a sophisticated operation requiring an exceptionally talented fabricator.

A Puncher’s Chance

Various metal sheets benefit significantly from the punching process. Fabricators use a punch of the appropriate size and form to push through a metal sheet, producing a hole of the specified dimensions. And put the die where it will catch the discarded metal from the sheet. Punching makes holes, indentations, and characteristics like dimples and countersinks in the metal sheet.

All’s Well That Ends Weld

Welding is crucial in creating functional, unified components when working with metal sheets. Stick welding, metal inert gas welding, and tungsten inert gas welding are just a few methods.

Welding procedures vary in how they go about melting the edges of the components and adding filler material, but they all accomplish the same goal of putting metal pieces together. This method produces a strong metallurgical link between the components, melting them together.

Fabricators Assemble

Metal fabrication culminates in the assembly stage, allowing intricate metal structures and parts to get produced. Sheet metal fabricators may make superior products that conform to all norms and requirements, provided they use the appropriate processes and procedures.

Mechanical fastening, welding, and adhesive bonding are all viable options for completing the assembly. Mechanical fastening involves using bolts, screws, or any other kind of fastener to combine the metal pieces. Welding forms an irreversible connection between the components, increasing the strength and longevity of the result. For cases where welding is impractical—or weight savings are paramount— adhesive bonding is a popular alternative.

The level of experience and ability required for assembly varies widely. Avoiding problems with the finished product requires carefully and securely assembling all components.

Sheet metal items are very ubiquitous in everyday life. As a result, you may probably find these things everywhere you go, whether it’s your house, office, or store. But with this quick overview of sheet metal fabrication, you get a better appreciation of any custom sheet metal for sale that exemplifies metal production’s longevity, adaptability, and pervasiveness, something of which Thin Metal Sales is a proud part.

4 Most Common Industrial Uses of Copper Sheets

4 Most Common Industrial Uses of Copper Sheets

No matter where you look, it won’t take long to find something made with copper. This metal surrounds us because it’s desirable, aesthetically pleasing, and durable. The four most common industrial uses of copper sheets highlight which fields benefit from them.

The Most Electrifying Metal in the World

The industry that champions copper the most is easily electrical wiring. Copper is second to silver as the most conductive metal; however, copper is more budget-friendly, making it the prominent choice for everyone in that sector.

Copper is in almost all electrical wires, sans power lines, which are primarily aluminum. Copper’s malleability and ease of stretching out into extremely thin, flexible, robust wires make it ideal for electrical infrastructure.

Other industrial uses for copper include heating elements, motors, renewable energy, internet cables, and technological devices.

High-Quality H₂O

Copper has a long history in construction because it is visually striking and architecturally stylish. Thin copper sheets are particularly well-suited for roofing and other external elements.

Copper has replaced iron and plastic as the preferred material for piping potable water due to its antibacterial and antiviral qualities. Copper’s malleability and resistance to heat and corrosion also make it a good choice for pipe systems. It finds widespread usage in distillation, the pharmaceutical industry, and other niche fields.

Planes, Trains, & Automobiles

Copper and brass have been the norm for oil coolers and radiators since the 1970s when they began to replace aluminum. Copper-based alloys are extremely popular in the locomotive and aircraft sectors, and the boom in the electric vehicle market increased the demand for copper more than ever.

A Potpourri of Awesomeness

The remaining industrial uses of copper include but are not limited to metal sculptures, jewelry, signage, and musical instruments. The greatest proof of copper’s potential is the 80-ton Statue of Liberty and its signature green patina. Copper is gaining favor as an antibacterial material for high-touch objects in public spaces, including the following:

  • Faucets
  • Doorknobs
  • Locks
  • Handrails
  • Countertops
  • Hooks
  • Handles

After exploring the four most common industrial uses of copper sheets, we can conclude that the demand for this precious metal isn’t going away anytime soon. You can count on Thin Metal Sales to provide the thinnest, most durable copper sheets available. Regardless of your project, we will supply you with copper sheets that ensure a job well done!

The Differences Between Alloys and Pure Metals

The Differences Between Alloys and Pure Metals

Many people argue whether pure metal or metal alloys are better for a given use. But after highlighting the differences between alloys and pure metals, you’ll see why metal alloys provide several advantages over pure metals.


You can trace the distinction between metals and alloys back to the elements that compose them. All the atoms in a pure metal are the same. For instance, chromium is a pure metal since it’s on the periodic table. In contrast, atoms of various elements mesh to form an alloy. Stainless steel, for instance, combines chromium, iron, and carbon.


Alloys are composites of many metals, each contributing desirable features while canceling out the negative features of others. By doing so, an alloy has superior strength compared with the original metals.

Since pure metals can weaken, alloying is beneficial to generate a harder metal complex. Unlike pure metal, which consists of identical atoms, metal alloys include various elements. Alloys of metals are often significantly stronger and harder than pure metals because of their tightly packed atoms.

Gold is a prime example of this. In its purest form, gold is a surprisingly malleable and pliable metal. But you can blend gold with zinc, copper, or silver to create beautiful, durable alloy jewelry.


Alloys have a variety of melting points due to the combination of metals they contain and their respective melting points. When you combine metals, the melting point can increase, even if one metal melts at a relatively low temperature. This has enormous practical value for industrial applications like aircraft engines, where temperatures may reach very high levels.

Stimuli Response

Adding alloying elements to pure metals like iron is a major benefit because of how fast and powerfully they respond to external stimuli. Pure metals may rust, oxidize, or corrode over time due to environmental factors like oxygen and water. Alloys, on the other hand, are mixtures of less reactive metals that extend the life of the material they form. For example, the chromium in stainless steel makes it resistant to corrosion.

Understanding the differences between alloys and pure metals indicates why alloy is a great resource. Since 1976, Thin Metal Sales has provided customers with high-quality, thin-gauge sheet metals.

We are proud to be the best aluminum sheet metal manufacturer for any width and length. We also work with stainless steel, carbon steel, copper, and brass. You can trust the sheet metal you purchase from Thin Metal Sales is of the highest quality and has been properly cut to meet your needs.

Stainless Steel vs. Galvanized: Why Stainless Is Better

Stainless Steel vs. Galvanized: Why Stainless Is Better

Each fabrication job is distinct, and types of steel will perform better in various contexts. It’s impossible to say whether galvanized or stainless steel is better without knowing the specifics of your fabrication job. However, it’s clear why stainless steel is better than galvanized steel when you look at the tale of the tape between the two.

What’s Galvanized Steel?

Steel with a zinc coat is galvanized steel; the coating prevents corrosion. Products made from galvanized steel may withstand prolonged weather exposure without significant damage. Galvanized steel is resistant to fresh water and salt water. Most structural steel welders will find galvanized steel easy to work with. The zinc coating on galvanized steel wears off over time, and the material eventually needs maintenance.

What’s Stainless Steel?

The addition of chromium to steel in its molten state produces stainless steel. Stainless steel is durable and won’t rust even if wet, nor does it corrode when exposed to seawater. Welders using stainless steel require unique abilities to work with greater precision on heated and cooled materials. The filler materials must be a perfect match for the welded steel.

Precipitation-hardening stainless steel is one of the few varieties of stainless steel. The composition of the metal alloy used to create steel gives rise to its many subtypes. The strength of an alloy increases with its complexity, but so does its cost.

Applications for Both Options

Stainless steel is durable and unlikely to rust in high-stress environments, like the aircraft industry. Bridges, skyscrapers, sculptures, trains, and automobiles are just some examples of structures that benefit from stainless steel’s strength and resistance to salt water. Ultimately, stainless steel is the perfect solution for large-scale, high-budget fabrication projects.

That’s not to say galvanized steel doesn’t have its place. Galvanized steel is preferable to stainless steel in chlorinated water because stainless steel corrodes faster. This metal is usually the best choice when working with a budget. It’s a common material for household plumbing and HVAC systems, fences and other security measures, and fasteners like screws and bolts. However, stainless steel is the most reliable and durable option when you don’t have to limit your spending.

Understanding that stainless steel is better than galvanized steel informs you why it’s the superior choice for most projects. Thin Metal Sales can be your stainless steel sheet manufacturer with our exceptional service that’s lasted nearly 50 years. No job is too big or small for Thin Metal Sales!

5 Benefits of Using Brass in Automotive Manufacturing

5 Benefits of Using Brass in Automotive Manufacturing

In the early 20th century, ingenious Americans started creating automobiles with mostly brass components inspired by European automobile innovations that found their way to the United States. The five benefits of using brass in automotive manufacturing remain true as we move forward.

Extremely Durable

Brass’s resilience to wear and tear is one reason for its long lifespan. This metal is far more resistant to damage from tools and heavy items than lighter metals like aluminum or copper. Because of this, it is well suited for the automotive industry, where metal surfaces endure significant wear and tear.

Because of its superior resistance to stains, manufacturers rely on brass for tanks, tubes, and radiator cores. Brass radiators are more affordable, easier to produce, and stronger than their aluminum counterparts.


Building a car isn’t as simple as putting together an IKEA cabinet. A car doesn’t come with an instruction manual that tells you to connect certain pieces. Building a car requires precise welding techniques and materials that can withstand the highest temperatures—brass can handle them. Its fire resistance makes it difficult to turn away from this precious metal.


Brass is integral to the automotive sector because the metal serves various purposes and is extremely versatile. It’s available in many different tones, so finding a complement for the vehicle is simple. Sometimes, you must contort a component to find a proper fit. In this case, a brass fixture is best. Brass is significantly more malleable than iron or steel.


Rust can be a vehicle’s worst enemy. Brass is a popular choice for auto manufacturers because it resists corrosion. This metal is your best choice for durable fittings since rust and corrosion accelerate the fitting’s natural wear and tear process.

Retains Its Original Properties

Thanks to its fascinating properties, there’s no limit to how many times you can recycle brass. It retains its original chemical and physical properties, unlike many other materials that degrade throughout the recycling process. Brass recycling offers a perpetual cycle of benefits.

Recycled brass alleviates pressure on overcrowded landfills by diverting usable material from the trash stream. Mining new brass harms the environment, and our solution eliminates that requirement. Recycling brass is far more cost-effective than mining new minerals (in this example, brass). Recycling produces far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than mining new materials.

Car makers realize the five benefits of using brass in automotive manufacturing, leading to robust production. Thin Metal Sales knows how vital thin sheet metal can be in any manufacturing sector, so we want to produce the finest and strongest options for our customers. Our veteran-owned business has been a reliable supplier of thin-gauge sheet metals for nearly five decades, so you know you can count on us!

When To Choose Aluminum Over Stainless Steel

When To Choose Aluminum Over Stainless Steel

Aluminum and stainless steel are the most widely utilized metals in manufacturing. The metals are workhorses thanks to their versatility and longevity. But there are specific situations where one of the metals is better. For this instance, let us explain when to choose aluminum over stainless steel.

Lightweight & Strong

Both stainless steel and aluminum are durable; however, steel is generally stronger than aluminum. Where aluminum gets the edge over steel is that it has a better strength-to-weight ratio, making it the ideal choice when you need something durable but lightweight.

You’ll often see aluminum used for aircraft or high-rise buildings. Most city skylines have towering structures because of aluminum, while sports stadiums with retractable roofs have the precious metal to thank for making it a reality.


Because of its adaptability and pliability, we can contour aluminum in various ways. It’s malleable to almost any form without compromising its hardness or rigidity. Yet, the process does not form a fracture or weakness plane.

A loss of elasticity means it does not return to its original form after bending or stretching it. It’s important to note that aluminum maintains its malleability at room temperature. Only when it feels excess heat will it soften and become more flexible.

Colder Temperatures

In contrast to most types of steel, aluminum retains its malleability even when chilled. Yet aluminum improves in strength, ductility, and toughness as it ages. Consider this when making material choices for metal components with very low temperatures. Because of aluminum’s resiliency in frigid temperatures, it is abundant for those ships traveling through the Arctic.


Aluminum’s best feature is that it is corrosion-resistant without any additional care. Simply put, aluminum doesn’t rust. You won’t have to worry about paint or coatings chipping or wearing off with metal. To prevent rust and corrosion, you must coat and treat steel, particularly if the steel item is in a wet or abrasive setting.


Aluminum has the reputation of being an excellent electrical conductor. Although aluminum has a lower conductivity than other metals, it is far more efficient at transmitting an electrical current. Long-distance power lines, high-voltage electricity transmission entry, and building wire feeders all employ aluminum. And without aluminum, many of us wouldn’t have 200+ channels to watch since it is prominent in satellite dishes.

Learning when to choose aluminum over stainless steel can make a huge difference in the various fields we use the metals. Thin Metal Sales can be your dependable aluminum sheet metal supplier. For five decades, Thin Metal Sales has supplied the highest-quality cut-to-length sheet metals across the country, so let us be there for you and your sheet metal needs.

Copper vs. Aluminum Wiring: Which Is Better?

Copper vs. Aluminum Wiring: Which Is Better?

Copper and aluminum are the two most prevalent materials in wiring. Advantages and disadvantages exist for both, so let us present the unbiased case of which wiring is better between copper and aluminum, letting you make the best decision.

The Case for Aluminum

The opening argument aluminum would make to plead its case in an open court would be its affordability. Aluminum wiring for a home or commercial building can be kinder to your budget, considering it’s half the price of copper wiring. Aluminum is also much lighter than copper, making it easier to work with in certain situations and ideal for longer distances.

You won’t find a more resistant material than aluminum, which is clear when working with power cables. Along with being half the price of copper, aluminum requires about half of the cross-sectional area of copper conductors to convey the same current.

The Benefits of Copper

While aluminum can tout itself as the cost-effective and lighter option, copper would plant its flag as the more durable and conductive material. Many builders prefer copper when the price isn’t a concern because of its long-lasting properties.

The robustness of copper wires makes them less prone to break than their aluminum counterpart. When you are tugging on a wire to pull it through feeders and ports, it’s nice to have the assurance that it remains intact. Copper wire has less thermal expansion than other materials, so excess heat doesn’t cause it to expand.

Aluminum’s Faults

Although aluminum may be the less costly option between the two, there is a good reason for that. Aluminum is nowhere near as strong as copper. The difference in strength is why aluminum is so inexpensive in comparison. An additional downside of aluminum is its vulnerability to corrosion. You know copper is in it for the long haul, but you’ll always be concerned about aluminum wiring.

Copper’s Flaws

The primary negative of using copper boils down to its cost. Unfortunately, some folks don’t have an endless supply of money. They cannot write a blank check to a contractor and tell them to fill it out. Copper wiring is a hefty investment that isn’t in the cards for everyone. On the bright side, you get what you pay for: dependable wiring.

The weight of copper wiring may throw a wrench into construction plans because the extra weight requires more structural support. This consideration will also put a dent in your budget.

Deciding which is better between copper and aluminum isn’t always cut and dry. On the one hand, you save money when you use aluminum, but you’re using a weaker material. You could also use the best long-term solution and take the upfront financial hit.

Regardless of your decision, no job is too big or too small for Thin Metal Sales. We can fulfill your copper sheet metal fabrication needs from one to one-thousand-pound orders.

304 vs. 316 Stainless Steel: Which Should You Choose?

304 vs. 316 Stainless Steel: Which Should You Choose?

If your next project requires stainless steel, do you know which you should choose? It’s important to know the answer to this question for industrial applications. Even small differences in the same metal can substantially impact its performance. Take a closer look at those impacts by reading our comparison of 304 vs. 316 stainless steel metals below.

Comparing Costs

304 and 316 stainless steel metals differ in performance, but that’s not all. Gathering supplies for any project requires a budget limit. After all, supplies, including thin metal sheets and more, come in a variety of options.

When it comes to 304 and 316 stainless steel grades, you must consider how much you want to spend. Simply put, 316 is typically more expensive than 304 stainless steel. That said, you should always consider the performance expectations when determining the value of stainless steel and compare the short-term and long-term side effects.

Contrasting Characteristics

Speaking of side effects, how exactly do 304-grade stainless steel and 316-grade differ in performance? When comparing 304 vs. 316 stainless steel, deciding which to choose depends on the defensive capabilities you need.

Both types of stainless steel provide corrosion resistance, but 304s are more susceptible to corrosion over time. So, if you need the best corrosion and chemical resistance available, consider using 316 stainless steel for the project ahead.

Considering Applications

Thinking about the project ahead is critical because not every jobsite is the same. Thus, choosing the best stainless steel for any given project requires considering the importance of better corrosion resistance.

The presence of more nickel and molybdenum in 316 than in 304 stainless steel provides metal with even better protection for certain applications. These common applications of 316 stainless steel include marine environments, medical environments, and other areas where maximum protection is a must. On the other hand, 304 stainless steel is more common in kitchen equipment. Contact the team at Thin Metal Sales today if you’re ready to find the right thin sheet stainless steel for your next jobsite.

A Quick Guide to Understanding Aluminum Temper Designations

A Quick Guide to Understanding Aluminum Temper Designations

Aluminum comes in more than one form thanks to various treatment processes. For instance, temper designations help manufacturers know more about each metal just by looking at a single letter. If you’re unaware of all the designations, then it can be a bit confusing to decipher. We’ve put together a quick guide to understanding aluminum temper designations so you can catch up right now.


The first temper designation is F, which stands for “fabricated.” However, this designation does not simply mean that the aluminum has undergone fabrication. Instead, this means the material is successfully tempered without special control implemented in the strain hardening or thermal treatment.


Unfortunately, the letters don’t always correspond to words the way “F” does to “fabricated.” For example, the W temper designation for aluminum stands for “solution heat treated.” This designation represents materials that spontaneously age after the heat treatment process.


T is a temper designation that signifies thermally treated aluminum. However, there are various treatments that can full under the T designation. For example, T1 signifies aluminum that is properly cooled down from an elevated temperature shaping process, then naturally aged to a substantially stable condition. On the other hand, T5 represents aluminum that is cooled from elevated temperature shaping processes and artificially aged.


H is a designation used to symbolize strain-hardened products. In some cases, H-temper-designated aluminum materials have not undergone heat treatment. The primary method used to strengthen aluminum in this process is strain hardening, but it will earn an H temper designation with or without thermal treatment afterward.


The final stop on our guide to understanding aluminum temper designation is O, which stands for “annealed.” This means that the aluminum has been annealed, or recrystallized, to achieve a low strength but high ductility design. As you can see, learning the aluminum temper designations is fairly straightforward if you look closely at the meanings.

At Thin Metal Sales, we provide thin aluminum sheets for aerospace, medical, and other industries. Always ask your aluminum provider about the temper designations if you want to ensure the metal will react precisely how you need it to. As you can see from the list above, seemingly small changes in the tempering process can have substantial effects on the metal.