Have you ever used a shim in your life? There’s a good chance that the answer is yes without you even realizing it. If you have propped up a wobbly table by putting something underneath one of the legs, then you’ve basically used a shim. This is, however, the most basic application of a shim. In an industrial setting, shims have a much wider application. And unlike stabilizing a wobbly table, the shims used for industrial purposes must be made from high quality material. Keep reading to learn what are metal shims used for.

What Is A Metal Shim?

A shim is a piece of wood, metal, or other material placed between two surfaces to fill a gap, adjust the fit of the two surfaces, or align the materials. The most common example of a shim is the small, thin wedge you usually use to balance furniture and appliances at home. But shims are made (by manufacturing companies like Mastercut Technologies) from a wide range of materials and come in an assortment of styles as well. Using the right material and style is important to ensure that the shim functions according to your desired purpose.

Stainless Steel Shim in 610mm Coils

Variety Of Materials And Styles

Shims can be made from different materials, with wood and metal being the most popular. Those used for industrial and construction purposes are usually made from metal because of their strength and durability. The most common metals used include aluminum, brass, copper, bronze, nickel, and steel. It’s also possible to use plastic shims for certain applications. Choosing the right material entails taking into consideration different factors such as climate, durability, and corrosion. The thickness of the shim must also be factored in. You can find shims that can be as flat as .001 inch.

There are also a multitude of different styles to choose from. For industrial purposes, the most popular choices include disc, round, slotted, tabbed, and notched shims. It’s also common to have shims custom made for your particular application. This is particularly useful if you require custom shapes and thickness for your project.

What Are Metal Shims Used For?

One of the most common uses for metal shims is for filling gaps. When there’s a gap between two materials, placing a shim can easily close that gap and make them level. This particular application is very common in the construction industry. Shims can also be placed in gaps between materials that are prone to wear. Doing this helps prevent or delay wear and tear on the material.

When leveling objects, a shim can also come in handy. Driving a shim between two objects is an easy solution to make them flush. For this application, it’s common to use a plastic or wood shim. But if a stronger material is required, then a metal shim may be necessary.

Shims also see some action in the manufacturing process. In cases that call for a reduction in clearance between two objects, a shim may be used. There are also cases in which the clearance must be adjusted. Such a case requires a shim partly made of foil so that it can be easily removed in case the clearance needs to be adjusted.

Plumbers also use shims to assist in repairs. Specifically, shims are used to align the pipes that need to be fixed, making them easier to work with.

Shims can also be used in computer manufacturing. In order to keep the processor safe from excessive heat coming from the heat sink, a shim can be placed between the two to keep them apart.

These are the most common uses for metal shims. Keep in mind that choosing the right material and style is vital to ensuring that you use the appropriate shim for your application.