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Back to Previous Resources Blogs What are the common metal materials and their major uses for metalworking?
What are the common metal materials and their major uses for metalworking?

A variety of metals and their alloyed counterparts can be formed into sheets used to fabricate and manufacture sheet metal parts. The following are the metal materials you may choose to use at Aldine, along with each of their advantages and potential drawbacks (depending on your project). 

Stainless Steel

Stainless Steel, an alloy of steel and chromium, is highly desirable for its durability and strength. Its resistance to rust, stains, and most corrosive chemicals, its ability to withstand high temperatures, and its minimal maintenance/cleaning needs make it ideal for industrial applications (such as food-grade products, architectural facades, medical equipment, and more). Additionally, stainless steel is strong, long-lasting, and recyclable. 

Three common types of stainless steel include austenitic, ferritic and martensitic. Austenitic stainless steel is the most widely used type of stainless steel, with non-magnetic properties and a high chromium and nickel content. Ferritic stainless steel is magnetic and has a high chromium content with almost no nickel. Martensitic stainless steel is corrosion-resistant and nickel-free, and responds well to hardening. There are a variety of grades of stainless steel, such as 301, 302, 304, and 316. Stainless steel is ideal for complex designs because it is easy to weld, form, and machine.


One of the most popular and versatile fabrication metals at Aldine is aluminum. It is extremely lightweight, reflective (of both heat and light), malleable, and corrosion/chemical resistant. Aluminum has a high strength-to-weight ratio, allowing for a higher durability at lower weights when compared to other metals, such as stainless steel and copper. Furthermore, aluminum can be recycled an infinite number of times without losing any quality. One drawback, however, to aluminum is that it is only suitable for temperatures under 392˚F. 

Primary applications for aluminum fabrications include medical equipment, enclosures, and automotive components. Medical equipment uses include sterilization kits, ventilator parts, surgical devices, bed pans, and more. Aluminum’s properties benefit enclosures manufactured for use with power supplies, black plates and sub panels, sun shields, heaters, wheels and casters, etc. Automotive components manufactured from aluminum include subframes, suspension components, chassis, engine blocks, and brackets. Many aircraft and aerospace structures are also machined from aluminum. 

Aldine frequently fabricates aluminum products from 5052 H32, 6061-T6 & T4, 2024-T3 and 3003.


Steel, an alloy primarily composed of iron with small amounts of other metals, including nickel, silicon, and boron, is often used to manufacture structural elements such as beams and frames. The strength of steel depends on the compounds with which it is alloyed. There are over 3,500 different grades of steel, with three primary types: carbon, alloy and stainless. Carbon steel is the most basic of the three, typically composed of only carbon and iron. The higher the percentage of carbon, the stronger and more costly the steel. Alloy steels are steel with additional elements added, including nickel, silicon, manganese, vanadium, tungsten, boron, chromium, and more. Stainless steel, as noted above, is created when chromium is added to the carbon/iron proportion, creating corrosion-resistant properties. In addition to steel sheet metal, Aldine also fabricates with structural steel pieces such as tubing, angle, and flat bar.


Copper has been used in industrial manufacturing for over 6,000 years and is known for its exceptional machinability. It has high ductility and can be machined and formed without losing its strength. Copper is highly resistant to corrosion and is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, making it ideal for manufacturing electrical components. When exposed to water and oxygen, copper develops a green patina, protecting it from corroding further while providing an aesthetic or decorative appearance. Copper is also often used in industrial and marine environments.


Brass is a versatile and malleable alloy of copper and zinc, that has an appealing gold appearance, without the high cost. Common brass metal fabrication uses include knobs, hinges, nuts, bolts, gears, brackets, handles, and other hardware/decorative components. Brass is rust- and weather-resistant, easily machined, and has very good joining, plating, polishing, and finishing characteristics for flawless finishes and sturdy construction.  

Contact Aldine Metal Products today and elevate your projects to new heights.