Category Archive: Steel

The Day in the Life of a Sheet Metal Worker

The metal fabrication industry is projected to grow by 9% from 2016 to 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This means there will likely be an increase in demand for sheet metal workers, but what exactly do these professionals do?

Let’s take a look at the day in the life of a sheet metal worker that works with thin steel sheet materials, combined metals, and more.

Working Conditions

Sheet metal workers typically have 40-hour workweeks with consistent hours. They work indoors and must wear personal protective equipment, such as safety glasses, work boots, hard hats, ear protectors, and gloves. This job is hands-on and often involves working closely with other sheet metal workers.

Daily Duties

What do sheet metal workers do on a daily basis? Take a look at a few typical duties:

  • Review blueprints and convert them into shop drawings
  • Establish project requirements, such as methods, needed materials, scope, and assembly sequences
  • Determine dimensions, measurements, and reference lines for project materials
  • Assemble products using a variety of methods
  • Repair thin steel sheet metal items
  • Smooth, grind, or trim parts using tools

Weekly and Monthly Duties

Depending on the company they work for, sheet metal workers perform the following tasks on a weekly or monthly basis:

  • Work on construction sites to fabricate parts using a variety of tools
  • Transfer prefabricated parts to construction sites
  • Install various fabricated parts
  • Lead maintenance of various equipment to ensure repairs are made in a timely manner
  • Perform mechanical inspections of a building’s various systems

Importance of the Metal Fabrication Industry

So, why is understanding what a sheet metal worker does on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis important? Our economy heavily relies on the metal fabrication industry. Without experts in combined metals, aluminum, brass and copper, and thin steel sheet and stainless steel materials, our home and building electrical systems would be very difficult to both create and maintain.

Sheet metal workers understand the ins and outs of the materials they work with, and they have the ability to warp them to meet the needs of systems that operate within homes and buildings alike.

The metal fabrication industry is an important one, which is why it’s paramount to have an understanding of what sheet metal workers do and how they keep our homes and buildings operating efficiently. If you’re interested in purchasing thin steel sheet materials and more, contact Thin Metal Sales today!

How the Sheet Metal Industry Is Helping the U.S. Economy

The American iron and steel industry is estimated to support around 716,000 in supplier jobs and pay an average of $53 billion in compensation and wages. The iron and steel industry contributes to the overall public finances of the nation, and the suppliers generate an estimated $173 billion in revenue. This also follows into the sheet metal industry, which currently accounts for around $30 billion in U.S. revenue.

But before we get too far into it, what exactly are we talking about here?

What Is Sheet Metal?

Sheet metal is a versatile form of metal wherein steel, aluminum, copper, brass, nickel, tin, titanium, or even precious metals are made into a thin sheet which can then be cut, bent, or otherwise molded to the desired shape and size. The term sheet metal refers to any metal which can be formed into a sheet of varying thickness, though very thick sheets are called plate.

How Is Sheet Metal Helping the U.S. Economy?

Being so versatile, sheet metal is a great choice for architects and innovative designers to work with. In addition to being malleable, it is also strong and finished in such a way that it is resistant to corrosion, sun, and moisture.

The sheet metal industry currently accounts for an estimated 30 billion dollars in U.S. revenue. While small compared to the 173 billion dollars believed to be generated by the steel and iron industry in the United States, that amount is still appreciable. Even simple aluminum sheeting brings in a hefty part of that figure.

The sheet metal industry helps form the backbone of the iron and steel industry in the U.S., providing workable, durable material from which all manner of things can be fabricated. While sheet metal does tend to suffer a bit when the economy is less than booming, it more than makes up for that in fruitful times.

Overall, sheet metal is clearly an important arm of the iron and steel industry, providing billions of dollars worth of strong, malleable, and corrosion-resistant material which can be used to fabricate all manner of parts and pieces, as well as be used for larger projects, such as those seen in architectural contexts.

Why the Metal Fabrication Industry Is Growing

Recent research within the metal fabrication industry has shown a growing trend towards increased demand and great profits through various niche markets. Continued research has highlighted a range of meaningful and actionable insights into the current situation within the metal fabricating market and the general landscape of the global market. Key areas of focus include the need for thin steel sheet metal production as well as other high-demand metals including aluminum, copper, and tin.

According to PR Newswire the global metal fabrication market is largely on the rise, and the industry will grow by billions of dollars by 2027. Data such as this highlights the growing demand and value of the metal production and fabrication industry as a whole. High-demand industries such as aeronautics, medical, industrial, and construction are fueling the need for reliable quality sheet metals and related products.

Key points to remember when it comes to monitoring the metal fabrication industry include the following:

  • The global market for metal fabrication continues to be very segmented when it comes to things like documentation, terms of service, niche industry specifications, customer demands, and regional shipments.
  • In terms of service, the metal fabrication industry generally gets broken down into the following: metal stamping, metal rolling, metal cutting, metal punching, metal forming, metal folding, metal shearing, metal welding, and metal machining.
  • Metals in demand range from thin steel sheets to pre-constructed aluminum paneling, to durable components needed for use with other metal pieces and mechanisms.
  • Many of these segments, particularly metal welding, cutting, and stamping are seeing an increase in demand throughout many industries and niche markets.
  • When looking at industries driving the metal fabrication explosion they include: aerospace, electronics, energy and power, construction, manufacturing, automotive, and others.
  • Of these, aerospace and manufacturing are poised to see the greatest level of growth. They are being watched closely as an opportunity for lucrative development within the global metal fabrication market.

As highlighted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the metal fabrication industry can be expected to add more than 12,000 jobs to the sector in the next few years, which shows why there has been such a renewed interest in this industry today.

All You Need to Know About the AMS 5510 Standard

Integral to the manufacture of tools, appliances, and equipment necessary for modern life, the U.S. metal fabrication industry continues to grow by significant margins. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the industry will record a CARG of 9% between 2016 and 2026, adding at least 12,000 jobs to the workforce. The increasing demand for combined metals in the automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing industries will continue to drive up the growth of metal fabrication.

A critical aspect of thin metal sheet use is the industrial standards. Specifications such as the AMS 5510 provide a guideline of the technical, chemical, and physical properties of the different metal sheets. The standards also dictate the use of the specific metal in certain industries.

The AMS 5510

The AMS 5510 is a stainless-steel specification for the 321 stainless grades. Type 321 is a chromium-nickel stainless steel grade with an addition of titanium. The titanium sets it apart from the 304 stainless steel series and increases its industrial applications.

Learn more about the properties of the AMS 5510 stainless steel below.

Resistance to Intergranular Corrosion

One of the greatest challenges in welding stainless steel under high temperatures is carbide precipitation. At temperatures between 930°F and 1470°F, the chromium combines with carbon to form chromium carbide grains at the edges, becoming a detriment to the corrosion resistance properties of the stainless steel.

Manufacturers using thin metal strips of stainless steel can combat intergranular corrosion by using the AMS 5510 specification 321 grade. At high temperatures, carbon has a higher affinity for titanium over chromium, thus preventing the formation of chromium carbide grains. This makes the stainless steel 321 grade a better option than the 304 series.

Oxidation and Corrosion Resistance

The AMS 5510 specification for the 321 stainless grade guarantees better corrosion and oxidation resistance at higher temperatures of 800°F to 1500°F. This makes the stainless-steel grade an excellent metal for use in chemical manufacturing industries with high intermittent temperature ranges. Besides, the 321 has higher creep and stress rupture properties than the 304 or 304L stainless.

Fatigue Strength

The high endurance mechanical properties of the AMS 5510 make it an ideal metal for use in high-temperature exposures. In an annealed condition, the typical fatigue limits in the 321 stainless steel are higher than those in the 304 or 304L stainless. This increases the ductility of the 321 in high-temperature welding conditions.

Temperature Factors

The temperature factors in 321 are slightly higher than those of the 304 and 304L at elevated temperatures. This makes 321 an excellent choice for higher temperature ranges such as aircraft piston manifolds, exhaust pipes, refinery equipment, and high-temperature chemical plants.


You can order the 321 stainless steel grades in a variety of forms. The AMS 5510 is available in sheet, strip, bar, tube, plate, strip, or forging fork. You can discuss your exact thickness specifications with your compound metal supplier in Chicago.

The AMS 5510 321 stainless steel grade may provide better corrosion and temperature endurance properties than the 304 series. To discuss your order for the stainless steel or other thin metal sheets, contact Thin Metal Sales today.

The Main Advantages of 6061 Aluminum

The 6061 aluminum alloy is a popular choice among many metalworkers and manufacturers. It is advantageous because it can resist corrosion, which is its most notable attribute. Aluminum as a whole is not extremely strong. However, this particular one is more resistant to corrosion and places less stress on parts. The 6061 aluminum alloy has a steel-like texture, but it’s easy to work with and can be polished to achieve different colors.

What Is 6061 Aluminum?

Let’s define what the 6061 aluminum alloy is. This metal is composed primarily of three different elements: magnesium, silicon, and aluminum. The percentage varies depending on what use it will have. For example, parts for aircraft often contain about 1% magnesium and copper, while ball bearings contain more silicon than other varieties.

The remaining elements vary due to their alloy type, which refers to combining alloys made from two or more metals to create a specific characteristic. This makes them ideal for desired purposes, such as creating long-lasting parts with maximum strength and resistance to corrosion. It’s also worth noting that because aluminum itself has a low melting point, it’s often alloyed with other metals to increase its strength.

Here are some of the most notable benefits of using 6061 aluminum.

High Resistance to Corrosion

The combination of silicon and magnesium makes it more resistant than most others in its family of aluminum alloys. Because of this, you can use it inside or outside without having to worry about significant rust forming on your equipment – even if weather conditions aren’t ideal. In fact, it is one of the best materials available for water cooling and underwater welding. If your product is frequently exposed to moisture, humidity, or saltwater, 6061 aluminum is an excellent choice because it won’t corrode any quicker than other types of aluminum.


This is partly owed to the addition of silicon to the mix, which increases its ability to resist corrosion and increases strength. Additionally, it has excellent cold work properties, which means that it can be bent and molded without cracking or breaking. For example, if you need a certain curve in your product, 6061 aluminum is ideal because you can bend it into shape easily instead of cutting panels out then weld them together with high-strength joints. In fact, this type of metal is often used for bridges and buildings because they want something that will hold up over time while remaining cost-effective for consumers.

Marine Applications

Because of its corrosion resistance, this alloy is a popular choice for boat building and other marine applications. If your boat or ship will be exposed to salt water, the 6061 aluminum alloy makes an excellent material to use because it won’t rust as quickly as you would expect; some people have even used it in their underwater cars. It’s also worth noting that it can withstand marine environments with ease while remaining strong enough to handle the stress placed on it.

Most Affordable Variety of Aluminum

Because 6061 aluminum is used so often, and the machines that make pieces out of them are incredibly efficient, this alloy is very cost-effective when compared to other materials.

Additionally, some people and industries prefer 24-4 alloy or 5086 instead; these two have higher tensile strengths but are less resistant to corrosion than 6061 aluminum. It’s important to research what industry you’ll be working in before choosing which alloy is best for you. Regardless of whether you are looking for thin aluminum strips, combined metals, or stainless steel at Thin Metal Sales, Inc., we have you covered.

Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Purchasing Thin Metal Strips for a Project

Thin metal strips are a popular material for many different applications. They allow people to have the versatility of using metal in their projects without having to deal with the weight and expense of thicker metals. But how do you ensure you buy the right thin metal strips for your next project?

Here are some questions that will help guide your decision process.

1. What Is the Quality of Material Used to Make the Strips?

Your first consideration should be the quality of the material being used to make the thin metal strips or thin sheet metal. A high-quality metal will last longer, be easier to work with, and can endure more heavy use than lower-quality ones.

2. Does It Come with Different Thicknesses?

In some cases, you may need thin sheets that are slightly thicker or thinner than others. If this is the case, look for thin metal strips that offer multiple sizes of products so you have choices when designing your project.

3. What Is The Reputation Of the Supplier?

It is always a good idea to check the reputation of the supplier you plan on using. Find out what other people who have used their services had to say about their quality, service, and shipping times. This information can help give you a clear picture of how that company operates and whether or not it may be right for your needs.

When you purchase thin strips or metallic sheeting from an unknown supplier, there’s no way to be certain of the quality.

4. How Much Will This Material Weigh?

You should always look into this information before purchasing to ensure that your project can accommodate the extra weight associated with working with these types of materials. If not, you will need to find something lighter to reduce the overall load on your project.

5. What Type of Thin Metal Strips Do I Need?

If you are purchasing thin aluminum strips for a specific project, then you want to make sure that you know exactly which type of material is compatible with the project.

Thin aluminum strips: These strips can be found in very thin gauges as small as .020 inches thick. Many people choose to work with thin aluminum strips because they’re incredibly lightweight. This characteristic makes it easy to incorporate them into projects without worrying about extra weight putting strain on other parts of your project.

Thin copper strips: Copper is another type of material that can be purchased in ultra-thin gauges more than 60% thinner than standard gauge copper, so it may be worth checking out if this level of density is necessary for your project.

Steel strips: Another type of material that can be purchased in a thin gauge is steel strips. They are commonly used for projects like building boat hulls, but they also have other industrial uses, such as reinforcing and protecting the deck of an off-road vehicle.

6. How Durable Is the Thin Metal Strip That I’m Purchasing?

Several factors can affect the durability of thin metal strips. One of these is the gauge, which changes how thick or thin material is once it’s been manufactured. The thinner a strip is, the more vulnerable it will be to bending or breaking apart during use.

If you need something that will last for years on your projects and provide maximum protection against damage from everyday wear and tear, make sure you buy materials made from durable metals like stainless steel.

Thin metal strips are the best sheeting materials for use with a wide variety of projects due to their incredible flexibility, lightweight design, and resistance to damage. It’s important when working on your project that you choose thin metal from a reputable supplier so you can be certain about the quality of materials you’re using for your project.

4 Key Benefits of Purchasing Thin Sheet Metal From a Certified Vendor

The metal fabrication industry has a broad application across the manufacturing industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the industry is poised to grow by 9% from 2016 to 2026. The metal fabrication industry is also on track to add over 12,000 jobs over the next decade. This employment growth reflects the expected increase in industrial, commercial, and domestic use of combined metals.

Maintaining the quality of your thin metal strips is a critical factor to business success in the hyper-competitive manufacturing eco-system. Consumers are incessantly pushing for high-quality products, with the heat turning on plant managers. Manufacturers then request tight quality controls from their suppliers, aligning to regulatory compliance and consistency.

ISO 9001:2015 Certification

To meet the demands of both consumers and metal fabrication plants, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) creates an international standard for quality management systems. It allows manufacturers to find providers for thin metal sales near me that follow the best practices through QMS principles. Here are four advantages of ordering metal sales near me from an ISO-certified supplier.

1. Standardized Quality

The main pilar in ISO 9001:2015 is the standardization of GMP and QMS practices. Acquiring the certification can take months on end, as the company proves it can produce and supply quality products on a consistent basis.

For combined metals of Chicago consumers, it means the production of high-quality products throughout, reducing supply chain headaches. With a well-documented QMS, you can expect standard quality for your 3003-aluminum order from the certified vendor.

2. Reliability

With the increasing demand for combined metals, firms in the metal fabrication industry are finding it hard to meet their needs for the sheet strips. ISO’s complex framework covers data management and quality control that allows for the effective distribution of thin metal products, foils, strips, and sheets.

Certification makes it easier to find a vendor that has the capacity and technology to supply all the aluminum, stainless steel, brass, and copper that you need for your manufacturing.

3. Consistency

ISO certifications are not permanent. Companies have to reapply to renew their certificates after an inspection of their facilities. It ensures that the suppliers are consistent in their service delivery. QMS help to consistently improve the supplier’s distribution channels. Picking certified distributors of metal sales near me make it easier to establish long-term partnerships that quickly adapt to the changes in the fabrication industry.

4. Credibility and Trust

ISO 9001:2015 is a globally recognized standard of quality across 160 countries. The QMS is a flexible standard that allows businesses to define for themselves what their objectives are and how to achieve them. It creates an environment of trust where you can rely on a reputable supplier to provide you with all of the aluminum-grade metal sheets that you require. With a certification, you can have the peace of mind that the vendor has at least created systems that guarantee quality.

Finding a trustworthy supplier is critical to finding the right metal sales near me. An ISO-certified supplier goes over and above certification requirements to provide the best-in-class customer service. Thin Metal Sales is an ISO-certified distributor that you can rely on for all of your combined metal needs.

Understanding The Most Common Types Of Sheet Metals

While the sheet metal market continues to expand at an average growth rate of about 4.09%, the growth is projected well into 2022. Thanks to this growth, just a thin steel sheet is seen as a valuable commodity for various businesses and industries. In fact, sheet metal is one of the most adaptable building materials within the manufacturing industry. Let’s examine some of the most common kinds of sheet metals that are utilized for an array of products.

Stainless Steel

While the versatility of just one thin sheet is quite impressive, one of the most common kinds of sheet metal is stainless steel. There are several grades of stainless steel to choose from. Some of the most common that are found in sheet metal fabrication include Martensitic, Ferritic, and Austenitic. Each has properties that are durable, strong, and corrosion-resistant.

Additionally, stainless steel can withstand an array of temperatures. High heat can be no match for a thin steel sheet of stainless steel. Thin metal strips of stainless steel and other forms of stainless steel offer far more flexibility, making it a more viable choice for various applications in lots of industries.


Aluminum is one of the most common materials utilized in manufacturing and various sheet metal fabrication. There are many benefits of just one aluminum thin steel sheet. Not only is it lightweight, but it is also resistant to corrosion. Aluminum also has a remarkable feature of ductility while its density and low melting point make it easy for a fabricator to work with. When you melt the aluminum, it’s bendable and can be crafted into various shapes and forms.

Low/Mild Carbon Steel

Low carbon is also known as mild steel. Thanks to its low carbon content, mild carbon steel is the ideal choice for many fabricators. Mild steel is also far more pliable and flexible compared to stainless steel, offering more ease when it comes to welding. Compared to aluminum and stainless steel, mild carbon steel is less expensive. Furthermore, a thin steel sheet of mild carbon steel has both great heat transfer and ductility.

Regardless of what your steel needs are, we supply businesses and industries with quality thin metal strips, thin aluminum strips, thin-gauge sheet metals, and more. As an experienced high-quality stainless steel sheet supplier, copper and brass outlet, and aluminum sheet supplier, we offer thin steel sheet solutions for your fabrication needs. We also service such industries as aerospace, medicine, and more. Connect with us for your thin steel sheet metal needs today and let us help you propel your business.

How To Choose The Right Stainless Steel Supplier

Stainless Steel

Since the late 1800s, steel remains a product material for choice for a wide variety of industries. With millions of applications across every major industry, the demand for stainless steel only continues to surge. Statistics from World Steel show that the steel industry sold products worth $2.5 trillion in 2017 while adding a net value of over $500 billion.

Finding the right stainless-steel grades for your industrial applications can be a daunting task. First, you may need to find a reputable supplier to source your 302 stainless, 304 stainless, and other steel grades. Here are five tips to help guide you in picking the right vendor.

1. Understand Your Needs

Stainless steel has a variety of applications across different industries. You may need to determine the specifications and properties required within your industry before placing the order. You may have to study the different steel grades and series available carefully and find the right fit for your applications. Determine the sheet thickness and finishing that you want for your steel supply.

Understanding your needs may help narrow your search to suppliers that only provide the quality you require.

2. Reliability

Additionally, you may need to find a stainless-steel supplier that can handle your order requirements. If you require large batch deliveries of thin sheet metal, find a vendor that has the capacity and technology to handle your stainless-steel demands. Delivery delays can result in halting your production processes, which may affect your business bottom-line.

Always ensure you find a company with established communication channels that will allow you to raise any queries that you may have about their service or product quality.

3. Consistency

You may need to evaluate the quality of stainless steel from the different potential suppliers. You ought to find vendors that will not compromise on the specifications you provide on all of your orders. Please inquire about the quality assurance processes and validation that they undertake to verify their work quality. You can learn a lot about their work ethic from reviews and testimonials from past clients.

4. Cost-Effectiveness

Steel is relatively pricey — the high costs are a result of the high costs of raw materials utilized in the production process. However, technological advancements and recycling are effectively lowering the same. Currently, approximately 40% of steel production globally is from recycled metal. Steel production may at times exceed demand, resulting in competitive pricing across the board. You may need to find a combined metals supplier that fits within your budget estimates. As you receive multiple quotes from different vendors, remember not to compromise quality for cheaper products.

5. Reputation

Finding the right stainless-steel supplier may blossom into a long-term relationship that grows with time. You may need to find out more about the vendor and how they conduct their business. Please find out how long they have been in operation. Longevity may indicate experience and quality service. Reading through customer comments and recommendations on their site and other review sites may also help you get a glimpse of what to expect. It is also important to review their delivery times.

Finding the right stainless-steel supplier is key in increasing your production output. Thin Metal Sales can help supply all the steel that you require, no matter the quantity. Reach out to us today to receive your quotation on the stainless steel grades you require.

5 Ways of Strengthening Thin Metal Strips

Sheet metal is one of the most common metal forms used in metalworking applications. This is because it is strong, lightweight, and non-corrosive. Its market has particularly expanded over the years with analysts predicting growth of 4.09% between the years 2018 and 2022 globally. Despite its many applications, its lightweight construction makes it prone to deformation. Knowing how to modify and strengthen thin metal strips enhances their performance for any application, including body repairs, restoration, or rebuilding projects. Here are techniques used to strengthen thin metal strips.

1. Bending the Edges

Bending the edges of the panels reduces the risk of the sheet deforming and enhances its structural integrity. This is because most of the damage sustained on the thin steel sheet happens on the outer edges. Once the edges bend, the rigidity and thickness of the vulnerable areas increase, eliminating the risk of deformation.

Note, the extent of the bend depends on the metal’s minimum bend radius. As such, excessive bends may cause the sheet metal to crack instead of strengthening it. There are several ways of bending sheet metal. The simplest involves clamping the stainless steel metal on a table and using your weight to bend it over. Alternatively, you can use a body hammer and the edge of a dolly to fold the metal to create a firmer bend. However, if you want to make crisper bends and have a little more control, a metal brake should come in handy. The type of metal brake used determines the size and the thickness of the metal you can bend. High-quality metal brakes are designed to handle 20- and 18- gauge thin metal strips easily.

2. Creating Structural Grooved Seams

This technique is most effective when you want to create a round shape on metals such as copper and brass. Creating ribs or groove designs into the sheet metal increases strength significantly while adding to the design of the panel. This is because the stretched metal on those areas hold tension better and improves its structural rigidity.

You can use a hammer and brass, wooden, or plastic chisel, or a panel beater bag to make the grooves. Bead rollers also make excellent tools for adding grooved seams, and large tools like the Pullmax come in handy.

3. Creating Hemmed Edges

This method is similar to bending in that it adds more strength and resilience to thin aluminum strips. The process still involves bending the sheet metal panels at the edge, but this time you determine the size of the bend depending on the project requirements. A small piece of wire is used to improve the final look for the panels while enhancing the metal’s rigidity.

4. Stretching the Metal Profile

Stretching the profile of thin metal strips improves their strength significantly. The process changes the shape of the metal and creates a curve or bulge on the panel. You can use a regular hammer, a power hammer, or an English wheel designed for creating compound curves. While the metal sheet stretches regardless of the tool used, you can determine the degree of the stretch based on the amount of work and the time invested in the project.

5. Punching Holes on the Metal Sheet

Normally, punching holes on a metal panel reduces its strength, but if you’re stretching it into the edge of the hole, the material is strengthened. Creating a grooved seam or bead around the hole strengthens the sheet metal. Sheet designers use hammers to punch holes, but tools such as the small draw-through punch-flare have been developed to make work easier.

A combination of these methods should strengthen thin metal strips while creating attractive designs for a range of applications. You also need a handful of metal fabrication tools on hand for the best results.