4 Key Factors to Consider when Choosing Metal

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Choosing a suitable metal for a project is much like choosing the right bullet for a gun. If the characteristics and specifications of the bullet and gun do not properly align, the gun will not be able to fire. The same is true for metal. Each metal is created with the intrinsic qualities that make it unique. Certain metals are stronger than others, while others provide advanced corrosion protection and elevated melting temperatures. Four key factors determine metal fabrication qualities and considerations for steel, stainless steel, and aluminum materials.

Application, Performance Requirement & Cost Factor Considerations

Project metal considerations should include design requirements and materials selection criteria that optimize the end product’s performance, reliability, and cost. The metal forming application should also be considered, including product specification requirements and comparisons to differing metal alloys.

Identify the Design Requirements

Prior to production, it is vital to discern proper design requirements. Identifying these necessary conditions will provide a complete perspective of the metal fabrication process and the features the metal must offer the design. Metal forming design considerations can include the following:
  • Size, shape, and mass requirements
  • Cost requirements
  • Manufacturing and assembly requirements
  • Industry standards
  • Performance & reliability standards
  • Government regulations

Identify Project Metal Criteria

A metal’s properties will provide a broad sense of what tasks it can and cannot perform. Strong metals such as steel and aluminum provide a greater yield strength than softer metals such as copper and tin. Before choosing a metal for your project, it is crucial that the minimum yield stress is accurately determined. Also, consider each material’s range of values when determining which materials fit your needs. Assessing the metal’s benefits will provide an easy to compare similar alloys.

How to Choose the Best Metal Fabrication Material?

Choosing the best material for a metal forming task can be a harrowing ordeal, especially if there is no clear-cut favorite. The only way to know you’re making the right choice is by making an informed decision. When it comes to metal fabrication, informed decisions are made by assessing the needs of your project compared to the values of the metal alloys under consideration. The fundamental properties to consider include the following:

Tensile Strength

A metal’s tensile strength represents the force it can withstand without snapping. Tensile strength is a critical factor, especially for projects that will experience significant force.

Corrosion Resistance

Specific metal forming applications require a metal that does not corrode when exposed to certain conditions, such as salt water and wet environments. Corrosion-resistant metals such as stainless steel and aluminum contain trace elements that protect their metal substrates from harmful corrosion, preserving the integrity of the metal.


Some metals are easier to weld than others. If you choose a metal that isn’t easily welded, the manufacturing process will require additional time and expertise, which may impact your timeline and budget. Examples of easily welded metals include aluminum, copper, iron, chromoly steel, Hastelloy, Inconel, and Kovar.


Machinability describes the ease with which a metal can be cut with a blade. A less machinable metal may require specialty tools, which can increase expenses and lead times.

Ductility & Formability

Ductility and formability determine what shapes a metal can become. A metal with lower ductility cannot easily be shaped into a wire, and a less formable metal can’t be bent without snapping. A highly formable metal may be the best option if your metal project requires significant shaping.

What are the Most Common Metals Used for Fabrication?

Several metals are commonly used within the metal fabrication process. Premium metal-forming fabrication metals are sought after due to their valuable features and benefits, allowing them to be used for nearly limitless applications. Common metal types used within metal fabrication include:

What is Sheet Metal Fabrication?

When sheet metal is converted from its original state, it is fabricated. Sheet metal can be fabricated through various cutting or forming processes to reach your application’s desired outcome. Sheet metal is manufactured via a blueprint and a manual or computerized cutting or forming process, determining the sheet metal’s final result.

The IMS Difference

What separates IMS from other metals companies? With an abundance of metal options and customer service that is second to none, IMS has you covered with the following advantages:
  • Next-day delivery of processed material via our trucks
  • Same-day pick-up in Will-Call
  • No minimum purchase
  • Unprecedented customer service
  • Support of Just-in-Time manufacturing processes
  • Salespeople that act as an extension of your purchasing department (we will get any metal products you need)
  • Material management (stocking and delivery on a scheduled basis)
  • Credit lines with good terms
  • Seven stores are open six days a week (check each location for specific times)
  • Shop by metal alloy

Precision Metal Fabrication Materials

In the market for premium metal products and accessories? IMS stocks a wide selection of high-quality metal products in the sizes and styles you need. We also provide metal cutting services to make purchasing easy and convenient. Stop by one of our California or Arizona locations or request a quote today.
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