Starting the Deep-dive into Metal Shaping

One of the first things I enjoyed about working with sheet metal is that I could apply the skills I already had in working with cloth fabric.

How sheet metal is like fabric

  1. It’s flat. And it gets made into things that are not flat.
    • Sheets of steel get shaped into (used to get shaped into) car door panels or wheel wells.
    • Fabric gets shaped into pants and shirts.
  2. Sheet metal can be cut in many types of shapes and put together with a variety of methods. Interestingly, metal can be sewn together with wire just like fabric can be sewn together with thread.
  3. Sheet metal has a straight grain, cross grain, and bias. The grain direction, just like with fabric, affects how the metal reacts to bending and shaping.
A diagram of grain direction of metal and fabric. Straight of grain is parallel to the length of fabric, the cross grain goes across the fabric, the bias is 45 degrees to both of the grains.
Grain directions for metal and fabric.

While these similarities have helped me understand how to work with metal, there are some important differences and I will talk about those differences in my next newsletter.