diy sheet metal ideas

Creative Ways To Use Sheet Metals for DIYs

There are a million creative sheet metal DIY projects. Even for someone that’s inexperienced with metalworking, it’s not that hard to learn how to use sheet metal. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination.

Install attractive corrugated metal siding or roofing on a garage, potting shed, garden gazebo, barbecue pit, or even the main house. Choose a shiny, corrosion-resistant Galvalume finish, a pre-painted color, or use weathering steel for a rustic look. For something different, try perforated aluminum corrugated sheet. Use concrete screws to drill sections to concrete block walls. Alternate panel colors/materials or make a checkerboard pattern with the ridges.

Thin gauge perforated metal sheet can be bent, cut, and glued into a range of shapes to create see-through candle covers, free-standing or wall-hanging sculptures with led light illumination, lamp shades, privacy screens, luminaires, planters, bird feeders – whatever suits your fancy.

Create outdoor metal sculptures from corrugated sheet that can stand up to the elements, including Christmas trees, pumpkins, valentine hearts, Easter bunnies, and American flags. Use a pair of tin snips and wear protective gloves to cut out shapes – then spray paint with weatherproof paint to keep them looking good year after year.

Another fun DIY metal project: Build a robot costume for your child (or yourself). Use lightweight aluminum sheet and bend it into rectangles with a metal hand brake (see below) and glue sections together with epoxy.

Cover flat cabinet doors or walls with aluminum sheet for a dry erase board or steel sheet for a magnetic board. Decorate with metal letters and magnetic mesh baskets from a hobby shop. You can use small magnet-backed containers to attach and hold dried herbs and spices in the kitchen, paper clips and wall pins in the office, or beads & buttons and jewelry findings in the craft area.

Cutting and Bending Sheet Metal

Freshly cut sheet metal can be extremely sharp, so use protective gloves and work carefully when cutting with tin snips. After cutting to size, frame the sheet with wood trim. Or if the edges will be exposed, crimp or fold them over using clamps to hold the sheet to the edge of a workbench, and then hammer down the borders with a wooden mallet.

If the metal is too thick, you can try a metal bending machine, or brake. Small hand operated brakes are inexpensive and work on sheet less than 30 inches wide. For larger jobs, try a metal cutting and shearing service at your local metal supply dealer.

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For all your DIY sheet metal and supplies, contact Industrial Metal Supply.


Aluminum a Preferred Metal in Aerospace

Why is Aluminum A Preferred Metal Choice in Aerospace Industry?

According to the Aluminum Association, the history of air and space flight parallels the history of aluminum alloy advancement and production. Next to steel, aluminum sheet is the most commonly used and commercially available metal. Its soft, ductile texture has been fortified with a number of different metals to create alloys that exhibit highly useful qualities that have served the aerospace industry for over 100 years.

First Flight

Aluminum’s lightweight and high strength-to-weight ratio make it a good choice for aircraft, which is probably why the Wright brothers chose it to build parts of the engine used for their ground-breaking successful flight back in 1903.

Though the first primitive airplanes were made of lightweight wood, the downside of wood is that it’s susceptible to rot. For that reason – and as it became more readily available – aluminum became the go-to construction material for aircraft by the beginning of WWI.

Rise of the Aluminum Industry

A generation later during WWII, the U.S. built almost 300,000 aircraft, both for itself and our allies – with the help of a flourishing aluminum industry.

After the war, the beginning of spaceflight was achieved with the help of aluminum. For instance, the Titan family of rockets used to launch the manned Gemini craft into orbit in the 1960s was made of aluminum.

In use from the 1960s to the 1990s, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane – one of the fastest aircraft ever built – had an internal aluminum frame

From 1969 to 2003, aluminum-skinned supersonic Concorde passenger jets flew across the Atlantic at twice the speed of sound.

The Space Shuttle Discovery, which flew astronauts around the Earth from 1984-2011, had a backbone of aluminum alloy plate and had an external fuel tank made of aluminum. Its solid booster rockets were powered by aluminum metal mixed with solid ammonium perchlorate.

Modern Age of Aluminum

Still one of the world’s most popular jet planes, the Boeing 737 is approximately 80 percent aluminum, with different alloys used for different parts of the aircraft. For example, the fuselage skin, slats, and flaps are made of Aluminum 2024 (alloy of aluminum and copper), chosen for its good fatigue performance, fracture toughness, and slow crack propagation rate. Meanwhile, the wing upper skin, spars & beams are made of Aluminum 7075 (aluminum alloyed with zinc, magnesium, and copper), known for its high compressive strength-to-weight ratio.

The primary structure of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, the next-generation space exploration vehicle which will someday transport people to Mars, is constructed of an aluminum-lithium alloy.

Aluminum: The Cost-Effective Solution

Though not as strong as titanium or carbon-alloy steel, and heavier than composites, aluminum costs less and has a good balance of strength and low weight that make it a great fit for aircraft. When alloyed with other materials, aluminum exhibits many additional properties beneficial to flight, such as stress corrosion cracking resistance and high tensile strength.

Aluminum sheet & plate is as strong as steel at a fraction of the weight. Aluminum sheet & plate is also highly resistant to corrosion, which adds to its overall value. As manufacturing technologies advance, aluminum is sure to stay in the forefront of air and space craft for the foreseeable future.

For more information about aluminum metal supplies, contact Industrial Metal Supply today.