Home » What Is the Typical Thickness Range For Sheet Metals?

What Is the Typical Thickness Range For Sheet Metals?

by Uneeb Khan
sheet metal fabrication

Sheet metal is the foundation of many important things, like car bodies, plane fuselages, and major appliances. Knowing how thick your sheet metal is and its fabrication processes can help you design better parts. Sheet metal thickness is usually specified by gauge, and the gauge numbers differ between ferrous and non-ferrous metals. Also, the same thickness can be given different gauges in different countries.


When working with sheet metal fabrication, it is important to have the right thickness for your project. The right thickness, or gauge, will impact durability and cost. If you’re designing a structure or part that requires high strength and rigidity, then you’ll need thicker material. But if you’re building something that isn’t likely to be stressed, then thin material can work just as well.

  • Sheet Metal Thickness

Sheet metal thickness is customarily specified by gauge, a measurement of weight per unit area. Different types of metal have different gauge sizes, and even the same type of metal has variations within its tolerance range. For example, aluminum may be referred to as brown and sharp or manufacturer standard gauge while steel is referenced using the American wire gauge (AWG) system.

  • Sheet Metal Gauge

A sheet metal gauge chart can be a handy tool to use when specifying your metal thickness. These charts will show you the actual thickness of the metal in both inches and millimeters. They’re also helpful in comparing different metals. So if someone asks for a certain gauge, you can refer to the chart and understand exactly what they mean. 

This can help avoid miscommunications and ensure the correct product is being used. This is especially important when working with sheet metals that are prone to spring back after forming or other bending operations.


Metal can be categorized according to thickness — extremely thin sheets of metal are called foil, or leaf, while those thicker than 6 mm (0.25 in) are called plate (such as plate steel, a class of structural steel). These sheets can be sold as flat pieces or in coiled strips.

The thickness of sheet metal fabricator is typically specified by a gauge number. The number will differ by metal type and will grow progressively larger as the thickness of the sheet thinners. 

Gauge numbers are not millimeters or inches – they’re an alternative measurement system used mostly in manufacturing and engineering industries. A “mils” is actually a different unit of measure, equal to one-thousandth of an inch.


While there are no universal standard gauges, the table below gives a good overview of typical thicknesses for common materials. It is important to note that the thickness of a piece of metal can change drastically depending on the production process. Cold rolled metal is often much thinner than the standard sizes listed below while hot-rolled metal can be significantly thicker than the standard sizes.

Another thing to note is that the thickness of a piece of metal also changes when crossing over what is commonly known as “plate” metal. While it is possible to make a part from plate steel. This is not something most fabrication shops specialize in and it may require special machinery or additional machining steps.


There are a few different weight measurement systems used for sheet metal fabrication, including millimetres (abbreviated to’mm’), standard gauges and metric. Most engineers are familiar with mms and standard gauges, and the corresponding sheet metal thicknesses in both mms and inches. The metric system is less common outside the engineering industry, though it is used in some cases for precise measurements.

A sheet metal fabrication company will often use a gauge chart to determine which thicknesses are available for each type of metal. These charts will show the thickness corresponding to a given gauge number and the resulting weight per area in both mms and inches.

Chart Measurements

These chart measurements are not absolute, and there are some variations between actual products. It is always best to refer to the technical data sheets of each product if extreme precision is required, and for accurate calculations, to contact the manufacturer directly.

The gauge size and type of a sheet of metal have an effect on its density and weight, as well as its strength, durability, and workability. Thickness is a key factor in these variables, and choosing the wrong thickness could have a major or minor impact on the performance of a part.


Metal can come in a wide range of shapes and forms, but sheet metal fabrication is one of the most commonly used applications. It is used in almost all industries and for all sorts of projects, from constructing the body of an airplane to creating furniture for a home. It is also highly versatile, as it can be cut into any shape using different fabrication methods.

When designing a product, it is important to consider the thickness of the metal. This can affect how easy it is to bend or shape.  For example, a thicker piece of metal may require more force to be bent than a thinner one.

Types of Sheet Metal

There are many different types of metal that can be made into sheet metal, including copper, aluminum, brass, and steel. Each type of metal has its own unique properties that make it ideal for certain uses. For example, steel is very strong and ductile, while aluminum is lightweight and corrosion-resistant. Brass and bronze have a rich aesthetic, making them popular choices for decorative components.

It is also important to remember that metal thickness can vary slightly between batches. This is because of the tolerances in the manufacturing process and other factors. This is why it is important to keep an eye on the gauge tolerance chart provided by manufacturers like Ryerson.

Most Interesting Topics on Sheet Metal


In conclusion, the typical thickness range for sheet metal fabrication spans from less than 0.125 inches for light gauge sheets to 0.25 inches or more for heavy gauge sheets. The selection of the appropriate thickness depends on the application’s requirements, with thinner sheets offering flexibility and cost advantages. While thicker sheets provide increased strength and durability.

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