How To Work with Aluminium Sheet Metal

The most abundant element on earth and arguably one of the most useful, aluminium is used in a variety of applications from transportation to computer heat sinks. In households, you are probably familiar with aluminium foil, which has 99% aluminium in it. It is one of the most tensile elements on earth. Sheet metals are thin, flat pieces of a certain kind of metal like copper. It is a very basic form in metalworking. A lot of objects from everyday use are also made from sheet metal as its prices are less expensive. Equipment used to transform these sheet metals into works of art, or useful items are easy to use and will be discussed at length in this article.

Lots of equipment is used in transforming sheet metal into a variety of things. These tools can be used alternately to truly transform your basic sheet of aluminium metal into various things. Cutting sheet metal uses shears or aluminium extrusions. Shears are basically large cutters where you place your sheet metal in the machine and with a very sharp metal, normally something harder than the metal you are using. A notcher, on the other hand, gives your sheet metal a v-shaped cut so you can work with smaller, triangular pieces. Some, however, use these just for depressions so you can literally make a “notch” on your sheet metal or aluminium bar. A roller is another piece of equipment in use for sheet metal. True to its name, a roller rolls the sheet metal into smooth rolls for shaping and forming into aluminium tubes and aluminium bars. Rollers also reduce the thickness and weight of a sheet metal should it be too thick for your purposes. A press braker machine looks somewhat like a roller, however, what it does is bend your sheet metal in such a way that it has corrugations. You may change these corrugations and adjust them to fit whatever use you may have.

Annealing is a method to “soften” the aluminium sheet to mold it into place with heat. This is normally done with a normal bar of hand soap and a blowtorch. Rub down the sheet metal with the hand soap and then heat up the metal with the blow torch until the suds are black. Now, cool your metal down. There are two methods to do this. The first would be to just let it sit at room temperature until it is cool enough, and the other would be dip it in water. There is no significant difference in either method, although various types of metals will react differently to either method of annealing. There are two types of a welding, the spot and the seam. For aluminium welding, use the spot welding approach as it is the best because it only uses a small portion of the sheet itself and makes the heating time of the sheet itself much longer.

Aluminium sheet metals can be used to make anything and the equipment and methodology in using them are easy, although safety should always be a priority, be careful not to put your foot, or any part of your body, for that matter, where it isn’t supposed to be. Also, gauge just how many aluminium sheets you need so you don’t run out! All in all, working with one of the most tensile kinds of metal is easy. Let your imagination run wild and see what you can come up with!


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