Frequently Asked Questions About Aluminium Sheet Metal

How Is Aluminium Sheet Made?

Aluminium sheet is made by a process called rolling, which involves passing an aluminium ingot through a series of rollers to achieve the desired thickness and dimensions. The process involves the following steps:

  1. Casting: Aluminium ingots are first cast from molten aluminium, which is poured into moulds and allowed to cool and solidify.
  2. Preheating: The ingots are then heated in a furnace to a temperature of around 450-500°C to make them more pliable and easier to work with.
  3. Rolling: The heated ingots are then passed through a series of rolling mills, which reduce the thickness and increase the length of the metal. The rolling mills typically consist of several sets of rollers that are arranged in a series, with each set of rollers reducing the thickness of the metal slightly.
  4. Annealing: After the panel has been rolled to the desired thickness, it may be annealed to reduce any residual stress and improve its strength and ductility. Annealing involves heating the metal to a high temperature and then allowing it to cool slowly.
  5. Finishing: Finally, the metal plate is trimmed to the desired size and shape, and may be subjected to additional treatments such as polishing or coating to improve its appearance or protect it from corrosion.

How Do I Cut Aluminium Sheet?

Here are some common methods for cutting aluminium sheets:

  1. Straight cuts: For simple straight cuts, you can use a circular saw or a jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade. Clamp the plate to a work surface to prevent it from moving while you cut.
  2. Curved cuts: To make curved cuts in sheet metal, you can use a jigsaw with a metal-cutting blade or a rotary tool with a metal-cutting disc. Draw the curve you want to cut on the sheet with a marker, and then carefully follow the line with the cutting tool.
  3. Power shears: Power shears are a specialized tool designed specifically for cutting sheet metal, including aluminium. They can be used to make straight or curved cuts, and can be operated by hand or with a pneumatic or electric motor.
  4. Manual snips: Manual snips, also known as aviation snips, are a type of handheld cutting tool that can be used to cut aluminium sheet by hand. They are especially useful for making small, precise cuts, and come in various shapes for making different types of cuts. We would not suggest this for anything thicker than 1mm.

How Do I Clean Aluminium Sheet?

Cleaning an aluminium sheet can be a relatively easy task. Here are some steps you can follow:

Aluminium Sheet Metal Plate Panels On Black Background

  1. Prepare a cleaning solution: Mix one part mild detergent or soap with three parts warm water in a bucket.
  2. Dip a soft cloth or sponge into the cleaning solution and wring it out well.
  3. Use the damp cloth or sponge to gently scrub the surface of the metal. Be careful not to scrub too hard or use any abrasive materials, as this can scratch the surface.
  4. For stubborn stains or grime, you can use a non-abrasive cleaner specifically designed for use on aluminium.
  5. After cleaning, rinse the plate thoroughly with clean water to remove any remaining soap or cleaning solution.
  6. Dry the sheet with a clean, soft towel or cloth.
  7. If you notice any spots or stains that won’t come off with the above methods, you can try using a mixture of equal parts vinegar and water to spot-clean the area.

How To Bend Aluminium Sheet?

We recommend that you use a sheet metal brake:

  1. Choose a sheet metal brake: A sheet metal brake is a tool specifically designed for bending sheet metal. It consists of a flat surface with a clamping mechanism that allows you to hold the sheet in place while you bend it.
  2. Measure and mark the plate: Use a ruler or measuring tape to mark the length and location of the bend you want to make on the sheet. You can use a pencil or a sharpie to make these marks.
  3. Place the sheet in the brake: Open the brake and slide the metal into the clamping mechanism, aligning the marked line with the top of the brake.
  4. Adjust the brake: Adjust the angle of the brake according to the degree of bend you want to make. Most sheet metal brakes have a lever that you can use to adjust the angle.
  5. Clamp the sheet in place: Tighten the clamping mechanism to hold the plate securely in place.
  6. Make the bend: Slowly and evenly pull down the handle on the brake to bend the material to the desired angle.
  7. Release the clamping mechanism: Release the clamping mechanism and remove the bent sheet from the brake.

If you do not have access to a sheet metal brake, you can also use a vice or a hammer to bend aluminium sheet. However, these methods may require more skill and precision to achieve a clean, accurate bend.

Can I Bend It By Hand?

Yes, but you have to choose the right thickness. The general thinking is that it is possible with anything 3mm or less. Even this may prove to be a struggle.

How Do I Join Aluminium Sheet?

Aluminium Sheet Metal Panels On Black Background

Here are some common methods:

  1. Mechanical fastening: This is the most common method and involves using screws, bolts, rivets or other fasteners to join the sheets. This method is easy and inexpensive, but it may not be suitable for thin sheets as it can cause distortion and weakening of the sheets.
  2. Welding: Welding is a popular method. There are several welding techniques used including TIG welding, MIG welding, and spot welding. Welding provides a strong and permanent joint, but it requires special equipment and expertise.
  3. Adhesive bonding: This method uses adhesives to join the sheets. Adhesive bonding is suitable for thin sheets and provides a clean and aesthetically pleasing finish. It is also a good option when the joint needs to be sealed or when the sheets are not compatible with welding.
  4. Clinching: This method involves using a punch and die to create a joint by pressing the sheets together. This method is suitable for thin sheets and provides a strong and permanent joint.
  5. Soldering: This method involves using a metal alloy to join the sheets. Soldering is commonly used for electronic applications, but it is not as strong as welding or adhesive bonding.

How Do I Paint Aluminium Sheet?

Painting aluminium can be a bit challenging, but it is possible with the right preparation and techniques. Here are the steps to paint aluminium sheet metal:

  1. Clean the surface: Before painting, clean the aluminium sheet metal to remove any dirt, dust, or debris. You can use a degreaser or a solution of water and mild detergent to clean the surface. Rinse thoroughly and let it dry completely.
  2. Sand the surface: Use sandpaper to roughen up the surface of the metal. This will help the primer and paint adhere better. Use a fine-grit sandpaper (between 220 and 320) and sand in a circular motion.
  3. Apply primer: Apply a coat of primer designed for use on metal surfaces. Allow the primer to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  4. Paint the surface: Once the primer is dry, you can paint the surface with a paint that is designed for use on metal surfaces. Apply the paint in thin, even coats, using a paintbrush, roller, or sprayer. Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next coat.
  5. Apply a clear coat (optional): For added protection and durability, you can apply a clear coat over the paint. This will also give the surface a glossy finish. Allow the clear coat to dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  6. Let it dry: Once the final coat is applied, let the surface dry completely. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time.

Well that about covers the main questions. We also try to answer all the questions that you may have through the product pages themselves. Look out for the FAQs section on each page.  

Please also check out the other articles in our helpful guide series. We have written about aluminium sheeting and checker plate recently. These articles may also help to assist you to make the right decision when selecting which metal works best for you.

If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us.



How do you fancy

15% OFF

your first order?

Subscribe to our mailing list now to get your coupon code.