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Thread: what sheet metal thickness do you use?

  1. #1
    Registered Member WagonCrazy's Avatar
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    what sheet metal thickness do you use?

    i recently bought some 4 x 4 sheets of 16 gauge sheetmetal for fabricating interior panels (center console, rear seat back bulkhead, etc.)

    Its difficult to work with, as its fairly stiff.

    Do any of you use 18 gauge for your panels? Did i go too thick here?
    1957 Nomad- LS1/T56 on C4 chassis
    1959 Fleetside Apache 1/2 ton, shortbed, big window, 327ci.

  2. #2
    Registered Member Custer55's Avatar
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    I have been using 18 gauge on my 39 Ford. 16 gauge would be good for a firewall or body braces that need to have more structural strength. For a console or seat backs 20 gauge might be fine. It depends on how much shape or bends the piece will have as both shape and bends or bead rolling will make the piece more rigid.

  3. #3
    Administrator 567chevys's Avatar
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    Most of your factory sheet metal should have been 19 GA, which may be difficult to find. 18 GA is more readily available and will give you just a bit more thickness, 20 GA is also fairly easy to find but if you can't find the 19, I'd rather stay on the side of thicker, give you more to work with.


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    Like Brian, I usually use 18 gauge, unless I feel it’s better to use 16 gauge for strength.

  5. #5
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    I use pre-painted 20-gauge .032-inch aluminum from a local dirt track supplier for lots of stuff. It's plenty strong enough with bends and/or bead rolling. Very easy to work with. I have a whole car built out of that aluminum and the body weighs 100 lbs.
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    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    I assume you're talking about steel. For non-structural stuff I use 20 gauge (.036"). If I need a little more stiffness I use 18 gauge (.048"). 16 gauge (.060") is pretty thick and I only use it for really heavy stuff and brackets where structure is important. My rear seat risers are 16 gauge because then support the seat bottom framework. My console top is 20 gauge steel. The rest of my console is aluminum as are the rear armrests. Another consideration is what equipment you have. It's hard to bead roll 16 gauge without very heavy equipment. It's hard to bend 16 gauge of any significant width without a very good brake. Steel is 3x stiffer, but aluminum is 1/3 the weight for the same gauge.
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  7. #7
    Registered Member WagonCrazy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chevynut View Post
    It's hard to bead roll 16 gauge without very heavy equipment. It's hard to bend 16 gauge of any significant width without a very good brake.
    Hence my frustration with working with it. I'll get some thinner stuff to build the interior upholstered underpieces from.

    Thanks guys.
    1957 Nomad- LS1/T56 on C4 chassis
    1959 Fleetside Apache 1/2 ton, shortbed, big window, 327ci.

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