Sheet Metal Reference Materials


I know, I know… Sheet metal isn’t very sexy for an industrial designer… But it can be…

And whether you’re designing an enclosure made completely from sheet metal or using it as an internal structure to support your bitchin’ covers, from time to time, you’ll be confronted with the need to know about this stuff. The better you understand what you can and can’t do with sheet metal, the more effective a designer you’ll be. Right, huh?

I came across the site for DSM Manufacturing Company, a precision sheet metal shop in Denver. DSM was kind enough to assemble a pretty decent and easy-to-read collection of information and design guidelines that I thought you might find useful:

In their Technical Resources section, you’ll find a nice design guide for sheet metal bending, a plating guide and a cosmetic inspection standard for plating. All of these are PDFs. The also have a very nice FAQ page that talks a good bit about precision sheet metal parts and what kind of tolerances you can expect and why.

All definitely worth a read and if you do have some sheet metal work coming up, you should give these folks a try.

[Current site and older site with a few different things.]


3 Responses to “Sheet Metal Reference Materials”

  1. 1 vandf1 January 12, 2011 at 3:22 am

    I agree that any designer needs to know as much as possible about the material they are designing with and the manufacturing techniques that can be applied. The problem for a designer is in knowing which designs are suitable for the production batch size and their impact on the price of the sheet metal component. We often have people asking for components to be fully welded where tack welding would be suitable or having a sheet metal part zinc plated when zintec would be sufficient. I would say always contact the sheet metal fabrication company that is going to manufacture your designs and let them comment as early as possible on your designs to keep the final solution as financially effective as possible.

  2. 3 vandf1 January 12, 2011 at 4:12 am

    Hi, thanks for your quick reply. I have just started a blog recording some of the varied sheet metal parts that my company manufacture. I hope to be able to provide a source of ideas for people looking to see what’s possible with modern sheet metal manufacturing techniques. Please take a look and come back from time to time, your comments would be very welcome. Ray

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