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Using Perforated Sheet Metal for Ventilation


Every week, Team Protocase is bringing you a Proto Tech Tip video, where we’ll give an informative look at a particular aspect of sheet metal fabrication and CNC Machining. This week, Cody from our Engineering & Design Services team talks using perforated sheet metal for ventilation of custom sheet metal enclosures. Perforated sheet metal can be a cost-effective way to ventilate your custom enclosure.

Watch the full video below – or, if you’d prefer to read Cody’s Proto Tech Tip, we’ve got the full transcription below.

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Hey everybody, Cody here from Protocase with another Proto Tech Tip. This week we’re going to discuss perforated sheet metal and how it can help ventilate your enclosures. Perforated metal is sheet metal stock that has patterns of cutouts already punched into it. The main use of perforated metal is for controlling the passage of air, light, liquids and even sound through an enclosure.

So any enclosure that has electronics inside of it is going to generate heat. This heat needs to be ventilated somehow. You can achieve ventilation by a number of different ways.

We recently did a Tech Tip on sheet metal louvers. You can also achieve ventilation by adding custom cutouts to enclosures. This gives you the flexibility to control over the number and shape of cutouts you would like to place, however if you require hundreds of cutout holes for your ventilation, I would recommend instead choosing perforated sheet metal because it’s a much more cost-effective option. So for example, the part I have in front of me here has hundreds of tiny little holes in it. If you were to laser cut every one of these holes in your part, it would be expensive.

Instead, you should opt to use a piece of perforated sheet metal simply fastened in behind to give you a much more cost-effective option. At Protocase, we stock perforated sheet metal in a round perforation style in both aluminum and cold rolled steel. Both types can be attached to an enclosure or panel by either welding or using fasteners.

You can also customize the perforated sheet metal that you are putting on your part by adding a finish to it. For aluminum perforated material, you can either leave it as no finish, add grained finish. You can anodize it or have it powdercoated using one of our stock colors. If you’re not opting to use welding to mount your perforated material, we suggest going with a stainless steel fasteners for best material compatibility. If you’re going with cold rolled steel perforated material, we suggest either powdercoating it or you can leave it unfinished.

Please note: if you do opt to leave your cold rolled steel parts with no finish, they will eventually rust. If you are not going to be welding your perforated steel, we recommend using zinc plated fasteners to mount it.

So if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to improve your ventilation or filtration on your custom enclosure, we recommend using perforated sheet metal on your next project. Thanks for watching everybody and please be sure to tune in next week for another Proto Tech Tip!

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