Choosing the correct material for your hinge

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When it comes to specifying hinges for machine building projects, the material they are made from can often be an important factor. Specialist hinge manufacturer, Gold & Wassall, explores the considerations that should be made when identifying the most appropriate material for your application.

Deciding what material to use for any project is often the first and most important step. This is no different for hinges.

It’s only a hinge, right? Wrong. Imagine spending what can sometimes be a considerable amount of money on a project or product, only for the moving parts to fail; that’s exactly what can happen if you start off with the wrong material for your hinge.

What factors should be taken into account?

The environment

Elements such as weather and temperature should be considered; exposure to rain, and even sea air, will make untreated mild steel hinges rust quite quickly. If the hinge is plated or painted, rust will still occur if the hinge has a mild steel pin. It’s almost impossible to plate the pin itself, and inevitably, water still finds its way into the pin through the moving parts of the hinge.

Appearance

Sometimes, the general aesthetic appearance and the weight of material need to be taken into account. We get a lot of call for brass hinges, where perhaps the application lends itself to something a little more vintage or antique. Stainless steel, as well as its obvious corrosion resistance, can also often offer a better physical appearance than mild steel. Products designed to be lightweight benefit from using aluminium material, which is considerably lighter than other materials.

Workability

Ability to re-work material can sometimes be important. Often our hinges are cut to size from a longer length, welded, or drilled and countersunk to suit the application on site.

Tasks such as this can be made more difficult if a harder metal such as stainless steel is used. Aluminium and mild steel are preferable if the environment is suitable.

Price

As with all things, price is sometimes the ultimate deciding factor. Mild steel and aluminium are cheaper than other materials.

However, taking into account the conditions mentioned above, it may end up costing more in the long run if the wrong material is used.

Of course, if you are unsure about what material is best for your application, it is always advisable to contact a specialist who will be able to advise you on the best option.

www.goldwassallhinges.co.uk

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