Tri-State Aluminum is a full-service provider of custom aluminum extrusions. When you choose us for your aluminum extrusion needs, you can expect comprehensive service from aluminum fabrication to anodizing and other finishing options to shipment. For your convenience, we have compiled this guide to provide you with all the information you need about aluminum extrusions, including extrusion design, thermally treated tempers, and other customization options.
Aluminum Extrusion Design Process Guide
The first step in aluminum extrusion design is to know your desired circle size. Not every manufacturer can provide a full range of circle sizes. Knowing your desired circle size will help you narrow down which manufacturers you can work with.
Next, establish weight-per-foot specifications. This specification will have a major impact on the design process. The weight-per-foot specifications will impact the press size and operation of the press.
Lastly, consider shape constraints. It is best to avoid high tongue ratios for the aluminum extrusion process to work efficiently.
To ensure a high-quality final extruded aluminum product, keep in mind the following best practices:
- Proper utilization of grooves, webs, and ribs
- Generous application of tapers
- Well-balanced walls
- Avoiding or limiting hollows, when possible
- Minimize the perimeter and cross-section ratio
- Practice symmetry as much as possible
Most Common Aluminum Alloys for Extrusion
- 1100 aluminum – 1100 aluminum is soft and has virtually no added ingredients. It cannot be heat treated, but can be extruded into complex shapes while maintaining a bright finish. 1100 aluminum is commonly found in appearance items as well as heat-exchanger tubes.
- 3003 aluminum – 3000 series aluminum alloys are typically only used for heat-exchanger tubes.
- 6063 aluminum – 6063 aluminum is ideal for difficult-to-extrude features and complex details because it is easy to extrude and available in a range of tempers. Its excellent surface finish makes it a great option for decorative purposes. 6063 aluminum has a minimum psi of 25,000 but can achieve a minimum psi of 30,000 with a T6 temper.
- 6061 aluminum – Being stronger than 6063 aluminum, 6061 aluminum is frequently used in transportation and machine parts. It has a minimum ultimate yield of 35,000 psi and tensile strength of 38,000 psi. 6061 aluminum welds easily, making it a popular choice for auto parts, trailer frames, railroad cars, and pipelines.
- 7004 aluminum – 7004 aluminum is press heat treatable, is reasonably extrudable, and has a high-weld strength. It has an ultimate yield of 40,000 psi and tensile strengths of 50,000 psi. The 7000 series aluminum is widely used in sporting goods, bicycles, and motorcycles.
Cost Comparisons for Aluminum Extrusions
Aluminum extrusions are comparable in cost to coiled sheets before they are slit and cut. They have the same properties after, while also being stronger and lighter.
When compared to castings, custom aluminum extrusion dies are significantly cheaper than casting tools. Additionally, extrusion suppliers will pay for replacement dies. Casting tools can take months to make, whereas extrusion dies can be made in weeks.
Aluminum Extrusion Design Tips
Symmetry is highly recommended and should be used whenever possible. This includes keeping wall-thickness variations to a minimum. Walls with an uneven thickness will cool at varying rates during heat-treat quenching, which can contribute to distortions. Remember that wall thickness minimums will increase as the aluminum extrusion shape gets larger.
Narrow shapes that have deep gaps can also cause problems. In these scenarios, the die steel that forms the opening is difficult to support and prone to breaking. Certain shapes that are not hollow must be produced on a hollow-type die. Otherwise, the die tongue can’t endure the extrusion pressure and will break.
Thermally Treated Temper
Aluminum has four temper designations, with “T” meaning thermally treated. Each subdivision of T (1-10) represents a specific sequence of basic temperature treatments for aluminum extrusions.
- T1 – After an elevated temperature shaping process, the aluminum extrusion is cooled and naturally aged to a substantially stable state. Suitable for parts that will not be cold worked after cooling.
- T2 – After an elevated temperature shaping process, the aluminum extrusion is cooled and cold worked. It is naturally aged to a substantially stable state. Can include products that are cold flattened or cold straightened.
- T3 – Heat-treated with solution and cold-worked to improve strength after cooling. It is naturally aged to a substantially stable state.
- T4 – Heat-treated with solution and naturally aged to a substantially stable state. Will not be cold worked after heat treatment.
- T5 – After an elevated temperature shaping process, the aluminum extrusion is cooled. It is then artificially aged and is not cold worked after heat treatment.
- T6 – Heat-treated with solution and then artificially aged. WiIl not be cold worked after heat treatment.
- T7 – Heat-treated with solution and overaged and stabilized. Applies to wrought products which are artificially aged after solution heat treatment.
- T8 – Heat-treated with solution, cold-worked, and artificially aged. Applies to products that are cold worked for improved strength, flattening, or straightening.
- T9 -Heat-treated with solution, artificially aged, and cold-worked. Applicable to products that are cold worked for enhanced strength.
- T10 – After an elevated temperature shaping process, the aluminum extrusion is cooled, cold-worked, and artificially aged.
Aluminum Wire, Rod, and Bar Standards
For a comprehensive table and data on specifications for our aluminum extruded wire, rods, and bars, please utilize this resource. Included are details of mechanical property limits, dimensional tolerances, closed shape dimensions, open-space dimensions, diameter across flats, thickness or width, length, straightness, twist, flatness, surface roughness, contours, corner and filet radii, and angularity.
Aluminum Tube & Pipe
For comprehensive information about the specifications of our extruded aluminum tubes and pipes, please utilize this resource. Included are details about mechanical property limits in relation to aluminum alloy and temper; diameter width and depth as it pertains to different shapes (square, rectangular, hexagonal, and octagonal); wall thickness for both round and non-round shapes; length; twist in relation to temper; straightness in relation to temper; flatness; squareness of cut ends; angularity; surface roughness; and dents.
Wrought Aluminum Alloy Tables
This resource covers the chemical composition of wrought unalloyed aluminum and wrought aluminum alloys that are registered with the Aluminum Association. Included are breakdowns of specific aluminum alloy numbers and their composition of silicon, copper, manganese, magnesium, chromium, nickel, zinc, and titanium.
Comparative Aluminum Characteristics Table
This resource contains information and specific aluminum alloys and corresponding tempers. Included are comparative grades of corrosion resistance, cold workability, machinability, brazeability, weldability (gas, arc, and resistance to spot and seam), and common applications of said aluminum alloys.
Comprehensive Aluminum Extrusion Services from Tri-State Aluminum
If you are in the market for a full-service aluminum extrusion company, we can help. Not only can Tri-State Aluminum handle all the aluminum extrusion steps, but we can also cut, fabricate, finish, pack, and ship all the finished aluminum products.
We have a diverse group of clients. From complex engineering projects to simple painting frames, we can serve just about any industry. We have proudly been in the aluminum extrusion business for over 30 years. Our founders saw the need for an aluminum extruder that wasn’t tied to a major multinational manufacturer. We are small enough to work closely with our clients and big enough to complete large and complex orders. With our fleet of trucks, we can deliver quickly across the Tri-state area given our strategic location in Bridgewater, New Jersey. Our shop is less than one mile from Route 287, allowing us to get deliveries on the road quickly.
Sustainability is a priority for our company, allowing us to work on green projects. Aluminum is one of the most recycled materials in human history. We believe that high-quality aluminum and sustainability go hand in hand.
We believe that your aluminum product is our aluminum product. We take a consultative approach with clients, ensuring that the final aluminum product meets a high standard of quality. Our team can help with conceptualizing a product, designing the product, and bringing it to fruition.
If you have any questions about our services or capabilities, feel free to contact us today.
This is for general/informational purposes only: