Thompson Fabricating Incorporated
Steel Fabricators For the Waste Industry

Steel Gauges..

When purchasing Roll-off and or Hook-lift containers it will be very helpful if you have basic knowledge and understanding of Steel Gauges, what they are and how they work. When it comes to containers two main structural features to focus on are sheet steel used on the floor & sides of the container and the tubing used for the main and top rails. 

I will start with the Wall thickness for Tubing which is typically referred to in decimal form (.250) when being purchased from the mill or service centers.  You may see it referred to either in Decimal (.250) or fraction (1/4”) form when being quoted from different Container manufacturers.  Wall thickness of tubing is hard to detect but can easily be understood. An easy way to determine the wall thickness of a certain tube would be to look at the radius on any of the four corners of the tube, the rule to use is that the radius is 2 times the wall thickness, so the radius of a ¼” tube should measure ½”  on the outside. 


Sheet steel is referred in gauges, which can be a little more complex to understand for someone that is not familiar with how it is measured.  With sheet steel there is a range or tolerance that allows the steel of different thickness to still be consider the same gauge.

The larger the gauge number the thinner the steel. 

Example of the most common gauges used in container manufacturing

12 gauge steel range in decimal form is .0972 - .1120 or the Gauge Decimal of .1046

10 gauge steel range in decimal form is .1271 - .1419 or the Gauge Decimal of .1345  

7 gauge steel range in decimal form is .1719 - .1868 or the Gauge Decimal of .1793


The following chart should help explain the basic of steel thickness of sheet steel and tubing wall thicknesses.



Once the material thickness exceeds 7 ga. generally in the container business it is then referred to in the fraction form.

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