Choosing the correct material for your hinge...
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 in to account?
Outside 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 pain the pin itself, and inevitably, water still finds its way into the pin through the moving parts of the hinge.
Sometimes, the general aesthetic appearance and the weight of material needs to be taken in to 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.
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.
As with all things, price is sometimes the ultimate deciding factor. Mild steel and aluminium are cheaper than other materials.
However, taking in to account the conditions mentioned above, it may end up costing more in the long run if the wrong material is used.
If you are unsure about what material is best for your application, simply contact one of our team.