Although people still think steel is the prime construction material, aluminum is also an excellent construction choice. And not only for construction purposes but for numerous other industries as well. It is remarkably strong, lightweight, corrosion-resistant, durable, easy to maintain, and can be finished with different techniques and methods.
This is why architects and product designers love it – it can do more than steel for a smaller price. It is also the most recycled industrial material, so you can contribute to a more sustainable industry if you decide to use it.
Aluminum extrusions are widely used for making windows, handrail systems, door frames, handrail systems, light fixtures, and many more applications. Custom extruded profiles are the best way to make something special out of your building project. When you hear the word “custom,” you may get cautious because this implies more costs and extended lead times.
Nevertheless, going for it will make it worthwhile – if you do some research and prepare, you can get a beautiful end product with great functionality, high value, and an attractive design.
Getting started is a matter of knowing where to find factual information if you are unfamiliar with aluminum extrusions. Aluminum Standards and Data and the Aluminum Design Manual, both issued by The Aluminum Association, are two leading publications. The extrusion’s experience is another vital resource.
Extruders vary in equipment, experience, and capability, so you can help prepare your project while keeping costs down by shopping around early and learning as much as possible. You can find and browse aluminum extruding companies listed by location and capacity in the Aluminum Extruders Council database, but you need to be a member.
In any case, read along to find out how to get your custom aluminum extrusion projects done in time and on a budget.
The Key Aspects You Should Know For Extruded Aluminum
If you are undertaking a project that will include custom-made extruded aluminum, two elements prevail – financing and viability. This is a matter of the weight per linear foot of the proposed form and the circle’s size.
It is not as difficult as it sounds to combine these two metrics; it merely refers to the proportion between the material’s thickness and the profile dimension. Extrusion presses differ in their ability, so it is a matter of browsing to find an extruder that can produce a specific profile.
The casting die is the main expense here. A well designed and manufactured die will probably cost several thousands of dollars. However, if you put in the building budget, you will notice a relatively small expense compared to the whole project cost. Also, if you work with the right company, delivery times are often less than 30 days.
These aspects lead to custom extrusion affordability, including full-scale prototyping and, if necessary, subsequent revisions. Bending machine tooling and custom-made inspection fixtures often cause additional costs. This is why it is essential to consult a professional extruder so that you can avoid them.
Important Design Instructions
Extruded aluminum does have some limitations concerning its shape and form, but otherwise, it’s very adjustable and offers maneuvering space for designers. Always remember that it is not a process of selecting and designing a stand-alone profile template; it is a question of creating a new profile.
The extrusion process positions the metal for esthetic, construction, or practical uses. Aluminum extrusion can modify the material’s form for the best possible use, whether the material is hollow or solid. Here are the steps to making a great design.
Select The Right Alloy
There are lots of different aluminum alloys available. 6XXX series alloys are the perfect option for most construction works. Other alloys that can be used are the 6061, 6063, 6060, and the 6005A series. 6060 and 6063 are aesthetically superior, while others have better structural properties.
Consider The Design Of The Profile
When selecting the design, it is very advisable to consult an expert extruder. This is a must if you aren’t familiar with the aluminum extrusion process. Get creative with your shapes; whether it’s an I, L, C shape or rectangular design, extruders will be able to make them all.
Also, try to keep it simple to increase the chances of a clean execution with minimal costs. Pay attention to the following: Symmetry is essential; wall thickness needs to be as uniform as possible, be gentle with corners, and try to make tongues as shallow as possible. Additionally, bear in mind that a distinctive design doesn’t necessarily mean a complicated one.
Surface Stipulation And Tolerances
You can find the industry standards in the Aluminum Standards and Data, as mentioned earlier. Keep in mind that most extruding professionals keep even higher standards, so make sure to ask them for their 5 cents on the matter. Use these discussions to talk about finishing and other important elements of the project like material tolerances.
In order to create the best possible structure, you need to be very delicate. Going through functionality and shapes is where you start. The Aluminum Design Manual will be of great help here.
It covers appropriate strength design, addresses the load and resistance factor design, and includes vital information for the stress, compression, flexure, and share design of extruded members.
Aluminum immediately forms a tenacious oxide film after it’s been extruded. This provides corrosion protection. Additional finishing is not necessary in most cases. However, suppose you want an aesthetically pleasing profile.
In that case, this is a must (it also stiffens the profile and is very useful if the extrusions will be subjected to harsh conditions). Where a different finish is required, fluid or powder anodizing or painting is usual, although the manufacturer specifies a mechanical process such as brushing or sandblasting in some cases.
A construction project that includes aluminum extrusions is something you can do on a budget and in record time if you follow these principles. You can reduce costs even more if you opt for recycled aluminum since this fantastic metalwork can be recycled endlessly without losing its structural properties.
Even if you are in a hurry, remember to take your time to research and communicate with your custom extruder (after all, they are the experts). A great, unique, functional building or product is just around the corner if you work thoroughly and use aluminum extrusion.