View Full Version : Help getting started, please
02-17-2005, 09:10 AM
I'm a woodworker needing to get a metal project off the ground and into limited production. I need to make several hundred aluminum plates about 3"x4"x.050 2024-T3 aluminum. Quotes from vendors seem high for small runs. Might this be a project I can do myself with some used equipment of some sort? I'm guessing it's probably a stamping job but don't know for sure. I can email jpegs of drawings and any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Mike
02-17-2005, 09:27 AM
Mike, be happy to look at it. Email drawings/specs to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You might look further for vendors. My knowledge is extremely limited, but a couple years ago I was doing some contract writing and prototype machinig work for a small startup company. When they built their first 25 or so prototypes, it turned out they could get the enclosures made from scratch, starting with sheet aluminum, punched to spec, bent to shape, and painted, for about the cost of buying pre-made blank boxes. This was in the Boston area, where I expect there is some amount of competition for that kind of work.
Another point, which others no doubt know more about than I do: 2024 may not be the easiest alloy for fabrication. Another alloy, easier to form, might be cheaper. (Or maybe not.)
If those are just 3" x 4" rectangular 2024-T3 .050 plates then go to the nearest aircraft repair shop. That would be a quick job on a 4 foot shear. They might have to order in a sheet of .050 as that isn't a standard aircraft thickness. If you can use .063 they should have it in stock.
02-17-2005, 03:49 PM
Actually the rough blank will be about that size so I thought cutting that on a metal shear would be the first step. There are corner radiuses (radii?) though and a tongue on one piece so it's not a straight cut. But thanks, you're right, I think, the shear first and then after that ?? Mike
Once you have the rectangular blanks stack them up ten at a time and mill them. 2024-T3 mills like a charm.
02-17-2005, 10:00 PM
Try Loftis Aluminum in Nashville TN. The are good and inexpensive (not cheap). Also try Hi Tech Fab in Shelbyville TN.
02-17-2005, 10:09 PM
You're cost issue may be due to the 2024 material. Most sheet metal fab houses more commonly use 5052-H32 and have tons on hand. They may have to special order the 2024-T3 & for such a small job may not want to be bothered. If you can live with 5052, try getting a requote.
02-18-2005, 08:09 AM
You're absolutely right. Onlinemetals.com has all 3 alloys and 2024 is $8.99, 6061, $4.99, and 5052 is $2.74 per sq. ft. That will certainly make a difference. Since I don't have metalworking equipment, i.e., shears, mills, etc., I'm thinking of stacking a bunch up, taping them together and using a drum sander mounted in a drill press. Thanks all, Mike
"I'm thinking of stacking a bunch up, taping them together and using a drum sander mounted in a drill press. "
Do you have a 12" disc sander in your wood shop?
I make quite a few 6061 T6 aluminum roadster parts and use a 12" disc sander to bring them to size and/or round the corners.
It's quick and easy.
02-18-2005, 09:21 AM
Aircraft-Spruce has 2024-T3 in .050 an will be much cheeper than OnLine Metals.