It is vital to understand the gauge system to specify sheet metal thickness in numbers when working with sheet metal. People working on steel and precision work often used “gauge” or “gage” to make precision components. This standard is used in workshops and factories. You’ll find it on operating tools and equipment and more.
Here’s a tool that makes it easy for you to figure out what you have rather than having to consult a chart. Otherwise, scroll down to check out the chart.
These are units that are used to specify the thickness of sheet metals.
When you have come across these numbers for various products, they are significant since they indicate the thickness of the metal. It affects the price and quality of the material, of course.
Commercial steel products are classified into two types: Flat and round. Flat metals are used to fold various tools like anchors and flashings. They’re also used for clips, also known as sheet metals. They’re available in flat pieces or coiled strips. Wire cables are a typical example of round metals. As a result, the number will be visible on the surface when you buy these products. The number represents the gauge, which measures the thickness of the material.
However, notice that the role of a metal gauge is symmetrically opposed to that of a conventional measurement method. It means that when the value of one material increases, the value of the other decreases. It may appear to be complicated, but it is not. If you purchase a thicker one, look for one with a lower number. The smaller the number, the thicker it is.
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Sheet metal is specified in gauge (ga) instead of fractions of an inch. It is inversely proportional. It may sound odd, but here is how it is explained. As the number increases, the thickness decreases. The higher the number, the thinner the material. The lower the number, the thicker the material. For example, a 10 will be thicker than one with numbers of 11 or higher.
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Steel sheet metal is based on an average density of 41.82 pounds per square foot per inch thick. Different materials have different classifications. Non-ferrous materials have a different standard than ferrous ones.
Standard steel and aluminum have their classification. Stainless steel and galvanized steel do as well. What about brass and copper? They also have specific standards.
For example, take the gauge of standard steel. We’ll go over steel because it is the most commonly used material. Steel is calculated as 41.82 multiplied by how thick it is. The number in pounds equals the product of the two numbers multiplied together. So 41.82 X gauge thickness equals the pound per square foot. To get the corresponding number for steel, you may refer to the chart provided below.
As an outcome, 12ga steel has a thickness of 0.1046 inches. The formula to figure out the weight of the material then uses the thickness multiplied by the value of 41.82. 41.82 * 0.1046 = 4.37 lb/ft2 for 12 gauge steel material.
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Steel’s bending strength increases depending on the type of product you are working with and its classification. To explain, the diagram below illustrates a general rule of steel strength.
|Material (gauge)||In decimal (thickness)||Lbs (weight)||↔||14ga material (0.075)||12ga material (0.106)||11ga material (0.120)||10ga material (0.135)|
As a result, a 12ga (0.106t) material is 2.86 times more powerful than a 14ga (0.075t). And 11ga (0.120t) steel is 1.45 times stronger than 12ga (0.106t).
These sizes are numbers that represent the thickness of sheet metal. The corresponding number varies depending on the weight of a sheet of a particular material for each standard.
You may refer to the chart below to determine the corresponding classification. It depends on the size standard based on the numbers of each given material.
Standard gauge for sheet, plate iron, steel
|Number (gauge)||Estimated thickness
(inch by a fraction)
(Pound per Square Foot lb/ft2)
(Pound in Ounce)
Sheet metals are classified into several classifications, including aluminum and copper. Brass and the various types of steel are different, too. In steel, you’ll even find carbon & galvanized.
Sheet metals are cut and bent into various shapes, the primary form used in metalworking. The term foil or leaf refers to a super-thin sheet, whereas ones more than 6mm are steel plates or structural steel. Check out this article on amp wire, too.
Because of their toughness, they are suitable to withstand harsh and arduous conditions. Steel is advantageous when significant resistance is required for internal and external pressure. It can endure incorrect alignment and temperature changes. It’s also great for tension and unexpected deformation.
These sheets are excellent for a wide range of applications due to their exceptional durability and structural rigidity. They can work successfully in corrosive environments. They are appropriate for structures and bridge engineering. They can also be used in plant and residential construction. Conveying pipelines is another place you’ll find it. They may also be used in general machine production, such as being used for:
- drilling equipment
- power trolleys
- and many more things.
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The thickness of a 7ga is 4.7625 inches (3/16”). It’s great for high-temperature applications and medical equipment. It’s also used as construction materials and om chemistry. Find it in the food industry and agriculture. Ship components are also a place where it’s used.
Most gun-safe owners prefer a 3/16” plate because it keeps non-powered equipment out. Pickaxes and sledgehammers won’t get through. It is also used for garage doors and fire pits. It’s great for other applications that need heavier materials.
A 10 gauge steel sheet is 9/64” thick and weighs around 90 ounces. It is suitable for:
- the chemical industry
- food processing equipment
- the medical industry
- the fiber industry
- and automobile components.
11 gauge steel is great and used for:
- Food processing
- chemical processing
- power generating
- and wastewater treatment
They are just a few applications that employ 18” sheet metal goods. Heat treatment and pharmaceuticals are others. So are beverage bottling and brewing.
A 7/64” 12 gauge plate can be used for:
- food, medicine
- oil industry
- energy industry
- household appliances
- and all types of spare parts.
16 gauge sheets with a thickness of approximately 1.5875 mm are appropriate for escalator or elevator doors. It is used in various applications, including:
- manufacturing tools
- household appliances
- freezers, cold rooms
- car components
- machinery and packing equipment
- medical devices
- and transportation systems.
At 2.5 lb per square foot, a 4×8 sheet will weigh roughly 80 lbs.
1.27mm is the thickness of an 18 gauge sheet. It is used for architectural decorations such as luxury doors and advertising nameplates. You can also find it used as aisle panels and cabinetries. Its applications include entertainment venues and hotels. It’s great for light industrial purposes and culinary equipment. This type is also commonly used in various appliances, one of which is farmhouse and utility sinks. The choice of material will naturally affect the sink price. The associated price tag will also reflect it when you go with a higher-quality stainless steel option.
The good news is when you choose high-quality stainless steel, you’ll be less likely to experience things such as denting. It is advantageous if you plan on using it for something like a utility sink where people are less careful.
If you come across one of these 4×8 18 gauge sheets, you’ll know that it is quite heavy. It weighs in at roughly 32 lbs.
A 20 gauge with a 3/80” thick plate is utilized for storage and pressure and processing tanks. They can also be used for pipe and tubing. Enclosures and cabinets are also one of their uses. They’re popular in the maritime and transportation industries.
The cost of these is somewhere between $10 and $40 per, depending on the dimensions you are going with. You should know that this may not include the cost of shipping. Given that the material has a substantial weight, you’ll want to factor that into your budget.
A metal plate that is 1/32” thick is also known as the 22 gauge. It is used for architecture and decorating. You can find it in the chemical industry and food processing equipment. You’ll be happy to know that a 4×8 sheet of this material is substantially lighter than some of the higher-range ones. It comes in at roughly 40 lbs or 1.25 lbs per square foot.
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Because of its 0.635mm thickness and weight, 24 ga steel is ideal for garage storage cabinets. It’s used for culinary utensils and domestic decoratives. Shops currently employ this product to make metal wall decorations and interior home arts.
Products of various classifications can be found in many everyday objects, from tiny to large. It became the basis of all engineering today. They are used in marine equipment and production equipment.
The gauge system was developed in the British wire industry before the standard, and metric measuring systems became widely used. They were employed to determine the diameter of the metal wire being drawn. Before then, the gauge system had been a popular method of indicating the thickness of wire and sheet metals.
Wire drawers developed a better method of measuring their products at the start of the industrial era by determining the weight of the material. Without stating the specific product you are working with, the quality or weight of a specific substance is somehow immaterial. As a result, wire drawers entered diameter scaling depending on the number of draws performed and quickly became a gauge. Because each drawing operation reduced the diameter, more drawings resulted in a thinner wire. It is why a more significant number corresponds to thinner material.
Steelmakers discovered that weight was simpler to quantify than thickness throughout the development of metal sheets. If they are by weight per square foot, thinner material will weigh less per square foot.
And today, the standard is SWG for wire. It’s MSG for steel and AWG for non-ferrous or non-iron-based metals.
The mechanical characteristics of these products are the same as those of the base metal. Steel ones have high tensile toughness and durability. It makes them ideal for use in construction and equipment. Almost all standard manufacturing metals are also in the form of sheets. Furthermore, the modern architecture uses copper sheets as a decorative layer.
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Tool to measure the thickness
Certain tools can make it a lot easier to determine the thickness of a particular material. They come in a variety of shapes and characteristics nowadays. Depending on the application, each one performs somewhat differently.
The common types and their applications indicate the parameters associated with a specific kind of material.
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Because of the article’s topic, let us focus on wire and sheet metal ones. The metal is precision-cut holes and slots that make it easy to see a given material’s thickness and corresponding classification. This device determines the corresponding number for sheet metal and wires.
The tool is very easy to use. It allows you to use it for your various stainless steel purposes, but you can also use it for wires. If you’re frequently working with either of the materials, it’s a convenient little tool to put in the back of your truck. It doesn’t take up a lot of space, and it only costs a couple of dollars. It’s the tool you may not think you need until you do. Then you’ll be sad you didn’t get it. We have included a link to a straight tool, but the round one provides more functionality.
To access the decimal equivalent sizes, it has a corresponding number from its template. Some contemporary options have analog and digital features. They can fit in your pocket and have other unique characteristics. Using the tool we’ve shown a picture of above, you’ll see that 12 gauge steel is 2.7781mm thick. Gauge 10 is 3.5718mm. Gauge 16 is 1.5875mm. Gauge 18 is 1.27mm, etc. However, it’s important to note that not all types of steel will have the same thickness for their numerical classification.
Different standards apply to different materials. Because ferrous and non-ferrous metals of the same gauge have varying classifications, different devices are needed to measure them.
Standards for other types of products
As we mentioned before, this is not the only industrial standard measurement size out there. Nor is it necessarily the one that is used in every single country. To make sure that people are talking about products with the same characteristics, it’s important to have these standards. Without them, it would be harder to achieve the desired purposes.
Have you ever wondered what happens if you use the wrong extension cord or wire? Whether welding or trying to power an appliance in your bath, it can be a disaster. Certain components in a car need to function properly, like an air control valve. An extension cord does, too. Without the proper standards, it would be extremely hard for you to stroll down to Home Depot and find the cord you need.
And unfortunately, the use of the wrong cord could have monumental consequences. We’re not just talking about the potential for your lawnmower to break down if it isn’t treated properly. We’re talking about the potential for fires. Think about the important work that steel does. In the same way that electrical cords play a vital role, you’re also talking about metal products. They often need certain strength characteristics to do their functions.
How do I find out my gauge size for sheet metal?
- Lay the sheet metal on a leveled surface to reduce the error in readings.
- Use a tape measure to measure the sheet metal’s thickness.
Use mm for maximum accuracy.
- Convert the value in mm to inches by multiplying it by 0.03937.
- Use a sheet metal gauge chart to find the gauge number representing your sheet’s thickness.
For instance, a 1/20” thickness is represented by an 18 gauge reading.
The thicknesses of metal range anywhere from 12mm to approximately 0.16mm. The metal is easily categorized, with each gauge number representing a specific thickness. For a 7 gauge metal, the thickness is 4.7625mm. Similarly, for a 22 gauge metal, the thickness is about 0.7937mm.
An 11 gauge steel has an estimated thickness of 3.175mm. It measures an approximate weight of 80 pounds in ounces.
A 7 gauge steel represents an estimated thickness of 4.7625mm, which translates to high strength. As a general rule, the thicker the metal is, the stronger. Therefore, a 7 gauge metal is much stronger than a 12 gauge steel with 2.7781mm thickness.
A 22 gauge measure represents a 1/32” thickness. In mm, it has a thickness of 0.7937 at a weight of 20 pounds in ounces.