Type of Aluminum used in kit frame

I was wondering what type of aluminum is used in the kit frame. I basically want to get some of that in an angle shape. The reason i ask is that we are doing something where we need lots of holes to line up and having the holes allready drilled will make it a lot easier. Also, that aluminum is easier to weld for us than the stuff we get at the hardware store. Thanks

According to the chassis documentation package on IFI’s website, the material is 5052H34, 0.125 thick. The stuff they sell at the hardware store is some soft, gummy alloy (usually, one hardware store around here stocks 6061-T6) that is hard to machine or weld.

If you’re interested:

We have angles and c-channels with kitbot hole spacing (1" pitch) available for sale.


Thanks, just what i was looking for.

The aluminum at our local home center is 1100. I’m surprised to hear your characterization of 6061 T6, which has a reputation as being easily welded (for aluminum) and is fairly strong and resiliant. The frame on my Cannondale road bike, for example, is 6061 T6. 5000-series alloys are harder, but more prone to cracking. (This pretty much exhausts my aluminum alloy knowledge. IAN a metallurgist.)

I believe he was trying to say that whatever series Al his local hardware store carries isn’t machineable/weldable, unlike 6061.

Yeah, well, you only say that because it’s true. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

I imagine that Jeff’s local store sells 1100 stock, too. It’s almost pure aluminum without the magnesium, copper, silicon, and other fun stuff that makes aluminum useful.

Yes, sorry for the confusion. Most of the hardware stores / Home Depot / Lowes / etc around here sell the aluminum that is stocked in the nice display rack. I’m not sure of the alloy, but I suspect it is probably 1100 series. The intent of my comment was that we are lucky enough to have one store near here that stocks 6061, which is one of the common aerospace alloys. The machine shop that is just down the hall from my office machines a few thousand pounds of 6061 a year, so I am quite familiar with it. It machines and welds nicely, but will work harden, so you only get to bend it one time. The rest of my experience is with 2024 and 7075. neither of which are weldable.

For a discussion of what the different alloy series numbers mean and some of the properties of each, interested parties can check out http://www.key-to-metals.com/Article2.htm

Keep in mind that all opinions in the above post are coming from an EE, and so are probably worth less than you paid for them :slight_smile:

Rather than buying from Home Depot or Loew’s, you may want to find an industrial supplier. Sometimes they will have shorts (or “drops” and “dings)), or even small scraps that they will sell for less or even donate. Our local steel suppliers stock all types of aluminum. It generally runs about $3 per pound, which is the smallish sizes of tube and angle is roughly a buck a foot. I got a 21 foot piece of 1” x 1" x 1/8" square tube for about $27. Some places will lop them into more transportable sizes without charge.

Actually, I pass no less than 3 industrial metals suppliers in the 4 miles between here and the office, Ryerson Tull being the largest… AS far as drops go, I highly recommend to anyone that may have a Metal Supermarket in the neighborhood to check them out, they usually have a room full of drops that are all priced by the pound. My original comment was directed more toward the fact than many teams don’t have those sorts of things in the neighborhood, and the ones that do probably tend, like us, to come up with a need for a piece of something when they are not open.

You can often save some money and aggravation by collecting an odd mix of little short pieces during the off season, or buying a bit more than you need at a better rate and saving it for the next season. If you scrounge around, you may find suppliers even in rather small towns. I had one guy, who ran a 1-man steel supply outfit, give the team a 10 foot piece of 3/4" square aluminum tube for no charge. A local machine shop machined an axle at no charge, and offered to let us feed at their scrap pile if we needed. These people live in the industrial world, and it is all around us, even in smaller towns. Think INDUSTRIAL, not commercial, consumer oriented storefront businesses at the mall. I get better deals by visiting the dumpsters behind industrial concerns than I do at the local hardware purveyors.