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Steel sheet is commonly categorized as either "hot rolled" or "cold rolled" and by varying the amount of carbon, the manufacturer can produce a wide range of material characteristics. Tool steels have a much higher carbon content than the mild steels used in sheet metal work.
  • The hot rolling process is generally less expensive, but results in a surface slag that is not always acceptable. Pickled and Oiled Hot Roll Steel has had most of the mill oxide removed and has a better surface appearance.
  • Cold roll steel is commonly used in precise ion sheet metal applications due to its excellent surface condition, material consistency, and accuracy in thickness.
  • ASTM-A366 specifies a cold roll steel with a maximum carbon content of .10 for improved welding and forming. It is soft enough to bend back on itself in any direction without cracking. Typical applications include refrigerators, ranges, washing machines, auto and truck bodies, signs, panels, shelving, furniture, and stamped parts.
  • One main advantage of steel over aluminum is the ease of resistance spot welding. Steel also has a lower cost per pound than aluminum, although adding corrosion protection (plating and painting) may consume a great deal of the cost savings over aluminum.
  • Steel sheet is available in a wide range of pre-finished products, including galvanized, paint primered and fully painted. DSM generally works with bare steel sheet and plates the finished part to assure that all perforations and bends are adequately covered.

Steel Sheet Thickness Tolerances

The following table shows the commercial quality gauge thicknesses. DSM generally purchases “HCQ" (Half Commercial Quality) which tightens the tolerance range on each gauge by approximately 50%. Note that some gauge thicknesses actually overlap in decimal range.
Gauge Nominal Max Min LB/SF
 10  .1345  .1405   .1285  5.625
 11  .1196  .1256  .1136  5.000
 12  .1046  .1106  .0986  4.375
 14  .0747  .0797  .1697  3.125
 16  .0598  .0648  .0548  2.500
 18  .0478  .0518  .0438  2.000
 20  .0359  .0389  .0329  1.500
 22  .0299  .0329  .0269  1.250
 24  .0239  .0269  .0209  1.000
 26  .0179  .0199  .0159  0.750
 28  .0149  .0169  .0129  0.625