Why Do I need a Sheet Metal Gauge?
Posted: February 27, 2020 By: MattM
We admit it there are tools and welding accessories out there that are “nice to have” but aren’t necessities. A good sheet metal gauge can be a fabricators best friend and isn’t a tool we would overlook when stocking up on metal fabrication and welding accessories. We list our top 5 reasons below why you need to have a sheet metal gauge (or 3) laying around your garage.
- Welding Settings– When you’re setting up your welder you need to dial in the settings quite accurately; especially on sheet metal. By having a sheet metal gauge you can quickly check the thickness of the metal and adjust your machine to the appropriate setting to avoid poor welds in the beginning when guessing on thickness and settings.
- Patch Panel Choice- When doing sheet metal work on a vehicle you want to match the sheet metal patch panel as closely as possible with the thickness of the panel you’re working on. If you use thicker metal than the original metal it will take more amperage or voltage to weld the thicker metal and it will cause the original sheet metal to burn through or warp easier. This is why we like to use a sheet metal gauge to check the original metal as well as the metal we’re making our patches from.
- Heavier fabrication- When doing chassis or suspension work you may need to use thicker metal to fish plate something or do a modification and you want to use metal that matches the original frame or thicker. With a sheet metal gauge you can get into a stock frame edge and measure the thickness as well as the metal you plan to use for the custom chassis work.
- Checking Metal At the Yard- If you’re like us we like to go to the discount metal yards and get our own metal supplies so we can be assured we get what we need. The Eastwood Sheet Metal gauge is a small pocket-friendly tool you can throw in a jacket or pants pocket and check metal on the fly at the metal yard. We routinely get our small drops from these yards for jobs where we don’t need large sections of metal. This will keep you from getting the incorrect metal and causing a wasted trip.
- Welding Gauge Tool– This tool can also be used to check the gauge of filler rod, tungsten, or welding wire. This can help if you have excess wire or set it down on a bench and aren’t sure what thickness it is that you have. Simply check the wire or tungsten by slipping it through the holes at the base of the slots in the gauge. Matching your welding wire to the weld material is just as important as the welding settings themselves.