Choosing the Optimal Sheet Metal Hinge for Your Part

Last updated on December 14th, 2023 at 08:13 am

Are you designing a sheet metal part that requires a hinge? Sheet Metal Hinge

A hinge is a type of hardware used in custom sheet metal fabrication that joins two parts together and facilitates rotation between them. Often used in doors, cabinets, boxes, and trays, hinges come in a variety of different options.

At Approved Sheet Metal, our customers often have questions about the best hinge for their parts. A hinge must be able to withstand the weight and usage of a part without breaking, so it’s important to make this selection wisely.

As a trusted sheet metal fabricator, we’re always happy to help you select the appropriate hinge for your needs.

Common Hinge Types Used in Custom Sheet Metal Fabrication

Here are the four hinge types we encounter the most often at our custom sheet metal fabrication shop:

Integrated/barrel hinges

Often used for box assemblies and other permanent constructions, integrated/barrel hinges are formed onto the part itself. We can attach integrated hinges using a punch press or press brake, but specialty tooling is required, making this hinge type a particularly expensive option.

Piano hinges 

Piano hinges are often used on doors, lids and covers, and swing-out trays. Held together with a central pin, piano hinges are longer than other hinge types and have a wide range of motion. These hinges are typically spot welded onto the outside of a part.

Concealed hinges 

When you don’t want a hinge to be visible from the outside, concealed hinges are the best choice. These small, bullet-shaped hinges have tabs that can be inconspicuously tack welded onto a part. This hinge type is also popular because it allows for slight adjustments after installation.

Lift-off hinges

Lift-off hinges are ideal in situations where you may need to remove one part of an assembly for servicing or cleaning (e.g., removing a door from an enclosure). Like piano hinges, lift-off hinges are held together with a pin, but the two parts can be detached by lifting one half and sliding it off.

Key Factors to Consider When Selecting a Hinge 

Let’s examine the top factors to take into account when selecting a hinge for your custom sheet metal fabrication project.

Part weight and function

Consider how much your final assembly will weigh. Your hinge manufacturer or sheet metal fabricator can provide you with information regarding the load sizes that various hinge types can support.

Frequency of use

Each hinge type is further divided into standard and heavy-duty varieties. Manufacturer information will include details on which type you need for low-, medium-, or high-frequency parts of different weights.

Ideal number of hinges

If your design requires a piano hinge, for instance, you’ll likely need only one—even for a heavy part. But what if your application requires the easy removal of a cover? We recently worked on a project just like this one.

For this customer, we recommended using multiple lift-off hinges, which together can bear the same weight as a piano hinge but also facilitate simple part removal. We then worked with the customer to modify the part cover to accommodate this hinge configuration.

Approved Sheet Metal Can Help You Choose the Right Hinge 

Your sheet metal fabricator should be able to recommend the best hinge type for your project by carefully considering your part’s application, weight, and expected frequency of use.

At ASM, our team members are highly knowledgeable about all hinge types and are pleased to work with hinges you supply or recommend the optimal hinges to order. We are always committed to helping our customers get the highest-quality sheet metal parts and assemblies for their money.

Request a quote for our custom sheet metal fabrication services!

Optimal Sheet Metal Hinge FAQ

Hinges join two parts in sheet metal fabrication, enabling rotation between them. Choosing the appropriate hinge is crucial to ensure durability and functionality, particularly in applications like doors, cabinets, and trays.

The commonly used hinges include integrated/barrel hinges, piano hinges, concealed hinges, and lift-off hinges. Each type serves different purposes and installation methods, catering to various applications and aesthetics.

Critical factors include the weight and function of the assembly, the frequency of use the part will undergo, and determining the ideal number of hinges needed for optimal support and functionality.

Our team considers the application, weight, and expected frequency of use of your part to recommend the most suitable hinge type. Whether using supplied hinges or suggesting optimal options, we aim to ensure top-quality sheet metal parts and assemblies.

For instance, in a scenario where easy part removal was required, we suggested using multiple lift-off hinges instead of a single piano hinge. This adjustment maintained weight support while allowing straightforward part removal, necessitating modifications to accommodate the hinge configuration.

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