Two common metals used in metal fabrication are aluminum and stainless steel and each bring their own unique attributes and strengths to the table. We are going to outline some of the differences in using stainless steel and aluminum in your metal fab projects.
The Process with both
Stainless Steel: Stainless steel can withstand an amazing amount of pressure and wear and tear. This means it yields durable products. The caveat is that stainless steel is not as easy to cut and shape as aluminum is. Machining, hardening, soft soldering, welding, and brazing are all common aspects of fabricating with stainless steel. The shaping techniques that agree with stainless steel the most are bending, folding, deep drawing, cold/hot forging, spinning and rolling.
Aluminum: Aluminum is very pliable in comparison to stainless steel. It can be easily cut and formed to fit the specifications of the project at hand.
The End Products They Produce
Stainless Steel: Products that are built from stainless steel are very durable in several ways. Heat resistance (up to 400 degrees), easy to weld, and very resistant to corrosion, stainless steel products will last for the long haul. If you are looking for metal products that are hardy and resistant to oxidation and various other forms of corrosion, look for products made from stainless steel.
Aluminum: Aluminum is much lighter than stainless steel so products made from aluminum are very light weight when compared to like products made from stainless steel. The light weight leads to aluminum also being a cheaper option at the cash register. Aluminum is better at conducting heat than stainless steel which lends it to being desirable for select applications that would never consider stainless steel in the same scenario. Aluminum is also very pliable and can be shaped easily, but will start to soften and melt at a much cooler temperature than stainless steel.