Custom Extrusions

I am looking for a way to have an aluminum extrusion custom made to dimensions.
The material would be 0.125 thickness (1/8") and the design is not very complicated. What information would I need to provide to have an extrusion made? How much would it cost?
(It’s for a summer robot project.)

Custom extrusion is an expensive affair that usually doesn’t pay off unless you need a lot of the extruded material (like hundreds of feet for a machine that will turn a profit). The machine time as well as the cost to create the die will get very expensive even for simple shapes. If this is just a summer project, I would suggest finding another means to create the parts you need, or modifying the design to use existing extrusions.

Either way if you still want to have the extrusion done, you would want to specify the alloy, the geometry(profile) and tolerances at the very least. This is all assuming that you know of someone who will extrude this for you.

if in fact you do want to use extrusion, the prices will vary, my suggestion would be find a local metal/machine shop and take them your request.

Maybe I should explain that I need several hundred small, identical pieces (chain links). My idea is to have the extrusion made and then bandsaw it crosswise to get as many pieces as I want. Otherwise I would CNC each individual part, which would take time. This help?

You’re making an omnitrack aren’t you?

I have not seen your design, but could you make the part as a stamping?

Ken is (as usual) right on the ball here. It seems like a sheetmetal operation would be best for getting what you want.

Extrusions need extreme quantities to be economical, and bandsawing them would probably not be conducive to high quality parts.

You should look into stamping, punching (may have a high tooling cost), or simply laser or waterjet cutting the parts you want.

For what application are you trying to make custom chain?


I would make a drawing of the cross section to be extruded and send it to a shop for a quote if you want a good idea. Also the smallest quantity I’ve ever been able to get is ~1000 lbs. order.

Tooling isn’t too expensive (relatively) as long as the cross section is simple and the wall thickness is constant. The shop should take your net shape and correct it to a mold for die swell etc. once you have and agreement.

Laser cutting, water jetting, chemical etching, stamping… I think these are your best solutions to getting 1,000’s of identical, flat metal plates. If it’s plastic, you can certainly find some rapid prototyping companies to make you a mold to pop those out. The more info you get us, the more help we can be for you.


I’ll reveal what my project is: omnitracks. I need about 250 links for two belts on an experimental base. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I uploaded an image of the ommnitrack links in the photo gallery (tag: omnitrack). I would want ab extrusion or metalwork that has that profile.