Learning the Metal Gauge System

Steel Cutting Basics: Thermal Cutting
August 2, 2018
Steel Cutting Basics: Mechanical Cutting, Part 2
August 20, 2018
Show all

Learning the Metal Gauge System

At Wasatch Steel, we’re experts in working with all varieties of sheet steel and sheet metal in general. Our steel services include everything from supply to processing and cutting, plus all the expertise our professionals bring as longtime steel experts.

When it comes to any form of sheet metal, including steel sheet, an important term to know is “gauge.” The gauge system refers to one that helps track the thickness of sheet metal, with values that are a little separate from traditional measuring system. Let’s go over the basic history of gauges in metal fabrication, how they’re used today, and how to use a sheet metal gauge chart.

History of Gauges

The gauge system has been used in some form for a long time, likely beginning in the British wire industry decades ago. This was even before the world adopted basic standard and metric measurement systems, so gauges were utilized to decipher the diameter of metal wire. This format was very useful and stuck, and has been used in various forms ever since.

Sheet Metal Gauges

Today, sheet metal gauges are for determining sheet metal thickness. As we noted above, they’re neither standard nor metric – they function as their own grading system, though simple charts can be used to convert gauges into a traditional measurement.

There are a number of different gauge systems commonly used within the metal world today. Steel and aluminum, for instance, use very different gauge systems – 18 gauge steel will measure 0.0478 inches in thickness, while 18 gauge aluminum will only come in at 0.0403 inches thick. For this reason, the use of metal gauge charts is vital.

Gauge Charts

Metal gauge charts help you find the actual relevance in your gauge measurement. The “16” in 16 gauge steel doesn’t actually hold any relevance unless you can match it up with inches or millimeters, and that’s what these charts do. Such charts exist for all basic metal types, including steel (galvanized and stainless), carbon, aluminum, brass, copper and others.

For more on steel and other metal gauges, or to learn about any of our steel services or buy steel online, speak to the pros at Wasatch Steel today.