Selecting The Correct Steel Product For Your Next Art Sculpture Project

As you select the raw materials for your next art sculpture project, it is important for you to understand the difference between hot rolled steel and cold rolled steel because each material has its best uses and those that should be avoided.

Hot Rolled Steel vs. Cold Rolled Steel Manufacturing

Industrial steel is produced in two different ways:

  1. hot rolling
  2. cold rolling

Hot rolled steel refers to steel metal that has been heated and rolled at a very high temperature. In contrast, cold rolled steel is heated and rolled at a much lower temperature.

Cold rolling produces a stronger steel that can be used to create high-quality parts with a small variation threshold. Hot rolled steel is a lower cost product that is used to create structural components, such as railroad tracks and I-beams.

Hot rolled steel can be identified by its blue color and rough surface, while cold rolled steel is gray and smooth when you touch it.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Hot Rolled Steel

As hot rolled steel cools, its metal atoms reconfigure themselves and make the resulting steel much more malleable and able to be formed into a wide variety of different products and shapes. One of the most common types of hot rolled steel is sheet metal.

Hot rolled steel has the disadvantage of shrinkage during the cooling process, and this shrinkage makes cold rolled steel more appropriate for precision parts and complex shapes. For larger, less tolerant components, the shrinkage isn't as important and hot rolled steel is the most cost-effective selection.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cold Rolled Steel

Cold rolled steel is generally a bit more expensive than its hot rolled counterpart. However, cold rolled steel has the major advantage of virtually zero shrinkage, because it is processed at a temperature that is close to room temperature. 

Cold rolled steel is ideal when your product needs to be processed into

  • bars
  • rods
  • strips

Cold rolled steel can also be made into small sheets and small parts that will be very long lasting and tolerant when it comes to error margins.

The main disadvantages of cold rolled steel are that the shapes it can be produced in are limited, and it is not a good product to use to create large structural components. 


Selecting the proper steel type for your art sculpture project is vital for its ultimate success and to create a quality end-product. If you need additional information about the various raw metal materials available for you to work with, then you should speak with someone at your local steel manufacturing plant like A & C Metals - Sawing.