The Go-To Guide for Different Types of Steel

Steel is one of the most manufactured and commercially available materials in the US. It is found in everything from home appliances to industrial drilling tools. Because of all the different uses for steel, several different varieties are better suited for specific applications. We’ve compiled this handy go-to guide for all the different types of steel, so keep reading to know more.

What is Steel?

Steel is an iron alloy – a mix of iron and another metal. This mixing changes the properties of the resulting alloy, making a metal that is stronger and more fracture resistant than iron alone.  Different metals will create a different type of steel, so choosing the right kind of steel is crucial in ensuring the project goes according to plan. Here are the main types of steel alloys.

Carbon Steel

Carbon steel comes in three main varieties that relate to how much carbon is present in the alloy. In general, carbon steel must contain no more than 2% carbon in its makeup. It also does not have any other standard steel alloy metals like cobalt, tungsten, molybdenum, or titanium. The three carbon steel classifications are:

  • Low Carbon. Also called mild carbon or plain carbon steel, this alloy will have up to .3% carbon in its makeup. It is inexpensive and easy to produce and is the most commonly used type of steel, found in ipes, domestic appliances, wires, medical equipment, car parts, etc.
  • Medium Carbon. This alloy contains between .31% and .60% carbon along with .31%-1.60% magnesium. It is extremely strong but is also challenging to weld and shape. It can e found in cranks, gears, railway tracks, and more.
  • High Carbon. The final classification contains between .61% and 1.50% carbon and up to .90% magnesium. It is the hardest steel and is often used in railways, bars, plates, etc.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is another commonly used metal. The alloy must contain at least 10.5% chromium. Chromium is responsible for the “stainless” part of the metal since it protects the steel from oxidation. That means you won’t see rust on stainless steel items like knives, medical equipment, or cooking pans. The three main types of stainless steel are:

  • Austenitic Alloy. This stainless steel alloy is the most common on the metal market. It has that classic sheen, oxidation resistance, and is non-magnetic.
  • Ferritic Alloy. Ferritic stainless steel is similar to Austenitic, but it is magnetic. Ferritic alloys have a slightly lower nickel content, so they are cheaper to produce.
  • Martensitic Alloy. This is the most uncommon type of stainless steel on the market. It is much stronger than the other alloys, but they do tend to rust more.

Tooling Steels

Tooling steels are those alloys needed for generally heavy-duty tool work, like drilling. They typically contain significant amounts of tungsten, cobalt, vanadium, and molybdenum, resulting in extra-strong and heat-resistant steel.

Alloy Steels

Alloy steels take carbon steel as a base metal and then combine it with a mixture of alloying elements –metals that are added to change the characteristics of the final product. Chromium, cobalt, tungsten, vanadium, molybdenum, and nickel are the most common elements to add. Different amounts of different elements will result in steels that can be strong, durable, flexible, temperature resistant, and rustproof.

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We offer a large and diverse steel & aluminum inventory coupled with an extensive array of in house metal processing equipment allowing us to service customers on an unparalleled level. For questions or information on our products and services call us today at 978-658-1121 or contact us directly on our site.

The Benefits of Aluminum Sheet Metal Fabrication

Markham Sheet Metal

Metal fabrication is generally a straightforward process that involves forming, cutting, and welding. Some materials are tougher to cut than others, so it is important to know what exactly what type of material will be best for the job. When it comes to meeting your fabrication needs, there are many options and a variety of materials to choose from. Depending on the scope and your specific needs for the job aluminum sheet metal may be an ideal and economically viable decision. As we will discuss below there are a variety of benefits when it comes to using aluminum to meet your fabrication needs, while there are many benefits to using aluminum it is not ideal for every job, be sure to consult with a professional if you ever have questions.

Cost Effective

Aluminum is a lightweight metal that is both strong and versatile and can be used in various applications for both indoor and outdoor fabrications such as roofing, gutters, framing, and much more. due to is versatility and relatively low cost when compared to other metals, aluminum is utilized across a variety of industries such as military, aerospace, commercial, and residential. Aluminum sheet metal is great for any contractor looking to minimize their overhead.

Durable

Both plastic and aluminum are on the cheaper end of fabrication quotes, however, if you are looking for a product that is least resistant to wear and tear, aluminum takes the category as well. When it comes to durability aluminum ranks higher than plastic due to its resistance to friction, corrosive elements, and changes in weather, especially high-temperature areas. Under great amounts of heat, plastic has a tendency to warp and melt, whereas aluminum will maintain its shape for years to come.

Corrosion Resistant

Aluminum and steel can be used interchangeably depending on the type of work being conducted, this is another primary reason to opt for aluminum sheet metal over steel mainly due to the fact that aluminum is naturally resistant to corrosion. It is possible to treat steel with a finish to increase its durability, but this will increase the overall cost.

When looking at cost-effective options, aluminum is an ideal choice over steel because it is lightweight, durable, resistant to corrosion and can be melted, formed, and machined like any other fabrication metal, for specific dimensions, cuts, & designs, give us a call today!

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We offer a large and diverse steel & aluminum inventory coupled with an extensive array of in house metal processing equipment allowing us to service customers on an unparalleled level. For questions or information on our products and services call us today at 978-658-1121 or contact us directly on our site.

metal bending

What is Metal Bending?

Metal Bending is a process that involves the shaping of metals to a predetermined shape by applying force to it. This then causes such metal to bend at an angle to form a particular shape. In doing this, a press brake tool is usually employed to bend the sheet metal.

Types of Metal Bending

There are three basic types of metal bending: Air bending, Bottom Bending/Bottoming, and Coining. These typifications are based on the relationship of the end tool’s position to the thickness of the material.

Air bending

This is the most preferred type of metal bending due to its benefits – such as less need for the punch tip to be pushed past the surface of the metal and less weight required for bending.

Air bending is the process of forming materials by pressing a punch into the material, thereby forcing it into a bottom V-die to be mounted on the press. This enables the distance between the punch and the sidewall of the V to be greater than the material thickness.

Unlike the other types, the least amount of contact with the material is usually made in air bending, as the equipment touches the material only at three points i.e., at the punch, the tip, and the die shoulders. While its disadvantages are the difficulties in providing accuracy of the stroke depth and the difficulty of the sheet in maintaining contact with the dies.

Bending/Bottoming

The distinction between air bending and coining is that, unlike the former, there is a difference in radius between the two. While, unlike the latter, the punch and the die do not make full contact with the material, and there is usually insufficient tonnage to make an imprint into the material.

The advantages of bottoming include better accuracy and fewer spring-backs, while the disadvantages are that a different tool is usually needed for each bend angle, sheet thickness, and material.

Coining

Here, the material is forced by the top tool into the bottom die with 5 to 30 times the force of air bending. Therefore, causing permanent deformation through the sheet. Note that coining may produce an inside radius as low as 0.4 T, with a 5 T width of the V opening. While coining can attain high precision, however, higher costs signal that it is not often used. Additionally, more tonnage is required on this type of bending than in the others.

The advantages of coining are that, to produce outstanding results, accuracy is essential, and with the coining method, this can be achieved. Also, the difficulties with spring-back are extinguished with coining.

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We offer a large and diverse steel & aluminum inventory coupled with an extensive array of in house metal processing equipment that allows us to service customers on an unparalleled level. For questions or information on our products and services call us today at 978-658-1121 or contact us directly on our site.

Uses & Benefits of Metal Shearing

Metal shearing is a sheet metal cutting technique that allows the metal to be cut to size out of a much larger flat sheet or roll. This process has proven advantageous to those in the industry. If you’re curious to know why, keep reading for all the information you need on metal shearing

Types and Uses

There are lots of different types of metal shearing that are useful for various applications. Here are the most common types:

  • Aligator or Lever Shear. This type of shear uses a hydraulic cylinder or flywheel-powered jaw, much like an alligator’s bite. This is particularly useful for cutting scrap or in applications where complete accuracy isn’t necessary.
  • Bench Shear. This shear is mostly used for creating rough shapes but isn’t designed for detailed work.
  • Also called the squaring shear or power shear, the guillotine is usually powered by foot or hydraulics. It is excellent for working with aluminum, bronze, brass, and mild steel, but not so much with stainless steel.
  • Power Shear. This type of sheer is a hand tool useful for cutting substantial pieces of sheet metal. In projects where straight lines are required, this is an ideal choice. More powerful versions of this pneumatically-powered shear can cut up to 12 gauge sheet metal.
  • Throatless Shear. The throatless shear is perfect for more intricate metal cutting. It is relatively small, and the sheet metal can be moved around the blade to focus cuts on any side. It’s also capable of making straight or curved cuts into the metal.

Benefits of Metal Shearing

Unlike other metal-cutting methods, shearing provides a more accurate cut to a flat sheet of metal. The control and power are unparalleled, so the work is quick and relatively easy. And depending on the type of shear you use, you’ll be able to get even more intricate shaping done as your project requires. And unlike other cutting techniques that rely on heat, your metal will experience no melting or burning. There will also be less material loss during the processing.

Shears are also quite durable and can put out large volumes of cut metal without failing. The process is also very fast, so less time needs to be spent on the cutting process itself.

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Still wondering about which type of metal will work best for your next job? There are a lot of different types of shears for a variety of applications, so if you have questions on an upcoming job feel free to contact us for insight. We offer a large and diverse steel & aluminum inventory coupled with an extensive array of in house metal processing equipment that allows us to service customers on an unparalleled level. For questions or information on our products and services call us today at 978-658-1121 or contact us directly on our site.

What is Galvanized Metal?

In the commercial metal industry, galvanized options are becoming more and more popular for specific applications. A process that lengthens the lifespan of metal, galvanization is essential for making some of the highest quality metal products. Here’s what you need to know about Galvanized metal.

What is Galvanizing?

Named after Luigi Galvani, galvanization is a process of coating a metal with zinc. Originally, though, the term meant “to shock with electricity.” Galvani experimented extensively with bioelectricity, studying how electricity is created within the body and how it reacts to that electricity. So what does electricity have to do with metal coating? Honestly, not much. Galvani popularized the study of electricity, spurring on a mainstream interest in the science. The term “galvanize” was then created to mean applying a stimulus to encourage action (like with electricity).

In modern-day use, galvanization is a technique to protect metal from corrosion, generally using zinc as a primary component.

The Process

There are different galvanization techniques in use today, but the most commonly used is called “hot-dip galvanization.” The process deposits a dense layer of zinc over the base metal (usually aluminum or steel), protecting the metal underneath. This method does not generally reduce the strength of the base metal, though extra care should be taken with high-strength steels, as they can suffer from hydrogen embrittlement.

Another popular method for adding a protective coating to a base metal is electrogalvanizing. In this process, the zinc coating is bonded to steel through electroplating. Essentially, electricity is sent through a saline and zinc solution and the resultant physical reaction creates a strongly bonded zinc coating. This application is mostly used in the automobile industry, where a thinner galvanization is preferred.

Sherardizing is a unique galvanizing technique that was developed around the turn of the 20th century. The base metals are placed into a close drum and surrounded by zinc and sand. The drum begins to rotate and is heated to 500C. At this temperature, the zinc sublimates into a vapor that then permeates the base metal to protect it from within. Because no liquid is needed for this technique, it is often called “dry galvanizing.” Small household fixings like screws and nails will most likely be galvanized this way.

Benefits of Galvanized Metal

What does all this information mean for consumers or businesses? There are several benefits to using galvanized metal in a variety of projects.

  1. Long lifespan. Galvanized steel can withstand exposure to the elements in various climates for up to fifty years before needing a replacement.
  2. The best protection. Galvanization gives the absolute highest protection to the base metal. All of the above processes ensure that every millimeter of the item is coated.
  3. It’s economical. Galvanized metal may cost more upfront, but its long life makes it less expensive in the long run.
  4. It’s quick. Think taking the time to have your metal materials will take too long for your project timeline? A full coat can be done in only a couple of minutes, depending on the method you choose.

Contact Us Today For A Quick & Easy Quote

Still wondering about which type of metal will work best for your next job? We offer a large and diverse steel & aluminum inventory coupled with an extensive array of in house metal processing equipment that allows us to service customers on an unparalleled level. For questions or information on our products and services call us today at 978-658-1121 or contact us directly on our site.