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Aluminium Fabrication: Helpful Specifying Tips

Being both lightweight and ductile, aluminium readily lends itself to fabrication.

However the un-initiated should tread carefully as there is no substitute for experience in specifying fabricated aluminium. It might, therefore, prove helpful if I share some key pointers with you, and these are;

ProductionTolerances: How long is a piece of string? There is no such thing in aluminium fabrication as an exact dimension. Every measurement is subject to a production tolerance. If sizing is critical, make sure you agree specifics with us before fabrication commences. If requested and to ensure a satisfactory ‘fit’, we can normally provide measurements that are ‘no greater than’ or ‘no less than’.

Aesthetics: To quote from Shakespeare ‘Beauty is bought by judgement of the eye’. Workshop processes will literally leave their mark on all metal surfaces. If aesthetics are important, and they often are, consider the intended location of the fabricated items. Lighting conditions, viewing distance and angle, etc., are among the elements that need to be taken into account.

Working from the premise that ‘prevention is better than cure’, sheet materials can be covered with a peelable protective film prior to production. This best practice precaution certainly assists in reducing, but not necessarily completely eliminating, surface marking.  Sheets are normally supplied with one good side (unless otherwise specified). It is also sometimes possible to ‘hide’ surfaces liable to workshop abrasions, as long as the visible faces are identified to us prior to fabrication.

Aluminium sheet with protective peelable film
Aluminium sheet with protective peelable film

It should be understood that with tonnage pressure and the types of processes involved in fabricating aluminium, surfaces will often incur some degree of marking. For patterned and perforated materials, the surface design and texture will certainly assist in reducing the visibility of these abrasions, sometimes rendering them almost invisible to the naked eye. Plain materials, however, can require post production surface finishing.

Perforated Aluminium Sheet
Can you see the surface abrasions in this perforated sheet? Probably not

Sampling: An excellent investment, and a very good way of avoiding the unexpected turning up on site, is arranging for a ‘one off’ sample to be produced. Although initially chargeable, sampling costs can be considered a cost effective method of avoiding possible delays at a later stage. The good news is, that on larger scale projects sampling costs are normally refunded against the bulk order value, thereby effectively making the sample free of charge. A win win situation, if ever there was one!

Aluminium Sheet
A pre-production sample of a modified GA Ver T Fix Panel Hanging System

Communication: It’s good to talk! Many potential pitfalls can be avoided simply by discussing your proposals with our team of knowledgeable project managers. Whatever your requirement we will endeavour to help you find a suitable solution.

Gooding Aluminium are a national and international supplier of a wide range of high quality perforated sheet, stair nosings, aluminium angle and aluminium channels. For more information about bespoke or ready made aluminium products, subscribe to our blog or visit our main site at

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