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Size It Up!

There are many factors that influence part size such as what the part does, items the part interfaces with, and weight or strength requirements. One aspect, however, that often gets overlooked when designing sheet metal parts is the size of the sheet metal stock commonly available for the particular material chosen.


When parts are designed from the ground up, so to speak, it can be very helpful to allow material sheet sizes to influence the size of the parts. The better the parts ‘fit’ on the sheet, the more economical it becomes to make them from a material cost standpoint.


It can also sometimes save manufacturing time when part sizes are optimized to utilize the sheet stock well. Be aware that machines used to process sheet metal usually require “dead zones” where parts cannot be placed or blank space is needed between the parts and around the border. Dead zones and part spacing vary depending on what equipment is being used (laser, punch, etc…), the part configuration, or material types and thickness. The working range of equipment is also an import consideration, see asterisk below. We would be happy to discuss these requirements for your particular projects.


Below are common sheet metal stock sizes for you to consider, happy designing everyone!


20ga (.036”) through 11ga (.119”) Cold Rolled Steel and Stainless Steel: Most common 48” wide x 120”* long. Also may be available in 36” & 60”* wide, and 96” & 144”* long.


.040” thick through .125” thick aluminum 5052-H32 and 6061-T6: Most common 48” wide x 144”* long. Also may be available in 36” & 60”* wide, and 96” & 120” long.


*Be aware that often sheet metal profiling equipment cannot process full sheets in the larger width of 60” and/or in the larger lengths of 120” & 144” (as an example many lasers are designed to process 48” x 96” sheets).



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