Aluminum Source (long post)

Posted by Samuel Lindhorst.

Engineer on team #240, Mach Vee, from Jefferson High School and Visteon.

Posted on 10/24/2000 12:25 PM MST

I don’t know Chief Delphi’s rules about this board, and what I am about to post comes close to a commercial message, but I believe it’s very useful for FIRST teams, so here goes…

Aluminum is our material of choice. Getting you hands on exactly the right stuff in the middle of a build can mean a couple of wasted precious days sometimes. Aluminum can be expensive, too.

Without getting into too much detail, there are really only two aluminum alloys we use - either 6061-T6 or 6063-T5. 6061-T6 is normally refered to as ‘engineering bar’ and is the most common raw material stock, giving great strength at a reasonable cost. 6063-T5 is the alloy used most of the time for extruded shape, like 80-20, and offers a similar strength to 6061-T6, up until the area where forces start to deform it. Although easier to bend, its ductility means it loses proportionally less strength when formed. Basically, I think 6063-T5 is great stuff, easily bendable and still strong afterwards. Able to take most of what the typical FIRST student with a large hammer can dish out… :O)

Which leads me to a source for 6063-T5 extrude shapes in the Detroit area (and they take orders and ship too…)

Our problem getting good prices is that most of the time the size of an order for a robot build is too small to get any discount, so we pay a premium unless you are sponsored by a plant willing to use their purchasing dept for materials (and sometimes that doesn’t help). Also for things like the CDI, which isn’t a FIRST event, the plant may take no official part.

I’ve been buying material at a place near I-96 and Southfield for a while now, Aluminum Supply Company. These people come under the heading of ‘really nice folks’.

After talking to Bob Compton, a customer service rep, he’s willing to offer small quanities of aluminum at larger (50 pc) pricing. For example, I bought a 21’ piece of 1’sq tube with .063’ wall today for $20.25. Just for comparison, here’s a couple of more prices:

4’X10’ sheet of .125’thick - $139
1’ schedule 40 (alum) 20’ $41.23
½’ sq. channel .09’ wall 16’ $8.51
1½’ sq tube .063’ wall 21’ $31.89
½’ angle .063’ wall 16’ $3.46
¾’ angle .125’ wall 16’ $12.15

The best thing about this: it’s sitting in stock. They have a warehouse full, and they keep it stocked. Walk in, and walk out in a couple of minutes. They cut it for free to get it in the truck, too.

Call Bob Compton at (313) 491-5040 and tell him you’re a FIRST team. Ask for the standard products catalog, and ask him to quote something you’re using now to build with, and see if he’s competitive.

Sam

Posted by Dan.

Other on team - from Carnegie Mellon sponsored by -.

Posted on 10/24/2000 10:26 PM MST

In Reply to: Aluminum Source (long post) posted by Samuel Lindhorst on 10/24/2000 12:25 PM MST:

For future reference, when indicating ‘feet’ or ‘inches’ it’d be helpful if you put ‘ft.’ or ‘in.’ since this Message Board (at least according to my browser) turns all quotation marks into apostrophes. So, just for a second, I had thought you’d bought 21 ft. of 1 ft. square tubing for $20.25.
Looks good though, do they ship?
Dan

Posted by Samuel Lindhorst.

Engineer on team #240, Mach Vee, from Jefferson High School and Visteon.

Posted on 10/25/2000 2:07 AM MST

In Reply to: Re: Aluminum Source (Feet/Inches?) posted by Dan on 10/24/2000 10:26 PM MST:

: For future reference, when indicating ‘feet’ or ‘inches’ it’d be helpful if you put ‘ft.’ or ‘in.’ since this Message Board (at least according to my browser) turns all quotation marks into apostrophes. So, just for a second, I had thought you’d bought 21 ft. of 1 ft. square tubing for $20.25.
: Looks good though, do they ship?
: Dan

Yep.

If I could edit the post, I would. :o)

I was very tired when I put it up, and there’s some typos, but they’re easy to sort out.

Sam