How to Buy Metal Channels
The world of metal channels is surprisingly large. If you have never tried to purchase a metal channel, then you have no idea how many different selection factors are involved. Luckily, we’ve put together this little guide to help you navigate the waters of metal fabrication and can help you identify the best channel for your needs.
Metal channel profiles: There are two different standards for metal channel profiles in the metal cutting world. The first standard is the Aluminum Association (AA) profile, which has an even thickness on all sides of the metal. The second standard, the American Standard (AS), has tapered sides and a flat bottom. This is an important distinction, especially if you plan to use the channel as a guard over another material, such as a fence railing.
Shape: There are several different channel shapes to choose from. Most shapes look exactly like what their name is, so that makes it easier to choose. You can choose from the classic “U” channel, the “J” channel, the “L” channel, the “Z” channel, the “C” channel, the hat channel, the enclosed box channel, or several other channels based on your particular needs.
Metal type: Most metal channels are made from aluminum or a steel alloy. However, it is possible to find them made from other metals as well. Aluminum has the advantage of being lightweight and easier to work with, but steel-based metals are stronger and can last longer.
Workability: Depending on the type of metal, the workability of the channel changes. Lighter metals, like aluminum, have an easier workability than heavier metals, like steel. If you do not have the tools to work with heavier and denser metals, then you can either choose a metal that has a higher workability, or you will have to make sure that you can obtain the tools necessary to work with the tougher metals.