Posted on August 18, 2021

Choosing Metals for Your Project: Get it Right From the Start

trumpf metal machine closeup

EDCO Fabrication may speak fluid “fabrication-ese,” but we understand that to many, it seems we speak a completely different language. In a way, we do. We make understanding metal quality a priority for manufacturing the expert fabrication projects our customers have come to expect from us.

Here’s what you need to know about choosing the right metals for your projects.

Learn the Lingo

Metalworking uses many different processes, each with a distinct purpose. If you’ve been researching metals, you may have heard some of these terms:

Pickling: In metalworking, pickling is a process that is used to remove scale, rust, and other impurities from the surface of a metal. This is one of two steps in removing impurities and protecting the metal.

Oiling: Oiling metals is done immediately after the pickling process to prevent corrosion, remove rust, and allow the metal to be stored without further oxidation. Since oiling is the second step of pickling and oiling, you may see the entire process referred to as P&O.

Hot Roll: Hot rolled steel has undergone the rolling process at exceptionally high temperatures. This allows it to be more malleable, making it far easier to work with after the process is complete. It is commonly referred to as HR.

Hardened: These metals have been heated, then rapidly cooled to increase their hardness.

AISA: American Iron and Steel Institute sets the standards for classifying metals. 

Gage: Refers to a metal’s thickness, with higher number indicating thinner sheets. 

What’s in a Number?

The AISA Steel Numbering Systems are usually four digits, with each number corresponding to the source metal and percentage of carbons within. 1011, for instance, refers to carbon steel with .11% carbon. 1011 is the standard specification for light gauge hot-rolled steel.

These numbers are also referred to as the SAE or AISA-SAE designations of metals.

Commonly Used EDCO Fabrication Materials

A successful fabrication starts with using the right materials and the right gage. A lower gage of sheet material is a good choice for projects that need rigidity or will be exposed to the elements. A thicker gage, on the other hand, is more flexible for designing products with curves or rolls.

The finished product’s efficacy depends on choosing the right materials from the start. Choosing the wrong materials will affect the finished product’s durability, dependability, and overall usefulness for the job it was intended to do. 

While we deal with plenty of different materials, the three we use most commonly are: 

1: 7 Gage Steel Sheet Stock


0.175″ Thick


2: 11 Gage Sheet Stock


0.115″ Thick


3: 1/8” Aluminum Material


AISI 5052 Al

H32 Hardened

Trying to Choose the Right Metal for Your Project? Let Us Help!

An EDCO Fabrication technician will be happy to help you choose the right metals for your projects. We understand the importance of “quality in, quality out” and will never cut corners on any project.

Want to learn more about our commitment to manufacturing quality products? Contact us today.