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Aluminum Extrusion

What is Aluminum Extrusion?

Aluminum extrusion involves the manipulation of aluminum material by directing it to flow through a specifically shaped opening in a die. This process results in the aluminum material emerging from the die as a lengthened piece with a continuous cross-sectional profile, which can be intricate and intricate. To simplify extrusion for those unfamiliar with the concept, one can compare it to the production of pasta shapes or Play-Doh. In both cases, dough is inserted into a chamber, pressure is applied by rotating a crank or handle, and strands of the material are extruded through a small aperture. By altering the attachment for this aperture, the cross-section of the extruded strands can be modified, allowing for the creation of various shapes such as tagliatelle, penne, and more.

How Does Aluminum Extrusion Work?

Standard Aluminum Extrusion Profiles

Custom Aluminum Extrusion Profiles

Finishing Options for Aluminum Extrusions

  • Basic mechanical finishing: Aluminum extrusion is commonly employed for the mass production of various non-cosmetic components such as tubing and frames, where the emphasis on finishing may not be particularly crucial. Nevertheless, custom aluminum extrusion is also utilized to manufacture premium products that can greatly benefit from the incorporation of color, text, logos, and other finishing techniques.
  • Anodization: Aluminum extrusions have the capability to undergo anodization in order to acquire a protective coating that is resistant to scratches and oxidation, while also enhancing their aesthetic appeal.
  • Painting: Painting an aluminum extrusion can effectively change both the color and surface appearance, whether a matte, gloss, or textured finish is desired.
  • Powder coating: Powder coating provides a viable option to anodizing, offering superb chemical resistance and uniformity in color.
  • Silk-screen printing: Silk-screen printing offers a cost-effective method for incorporating text and logos onto aluminum extrusions compared to more expensive machine-based finishing techniques.
  • Laser engraving: Laser engraving is a valuable technique that can be employed to incorporate intricate details, such as text, onto an extrusion. Moreover, it possesses the advantage of being resistant to wear and tear, ensuring that the engraved information remains intact over an extended period. Consequently, laser engraving proves to be particularly beneficial for crucial aspects like part serial numbers.

Applications of Aluminum Extrusion

  • Industrial: Extruded aluminum possesses versatile applications in the manufacturing of industrial equipment such as workbenches and carts, in addition to extruded aluminum frames and framing. Among the commonly used framing systems is the 80/20 extruded aluminum framing, which is based on the T-slot structural framing design.
  • Construction: Aluminum extrusion is utilized in various ways in architecture and construction, including the creation of extruded aluminum rails, balustrades, and ladders.
  • Electrical: Aluminum possesses electrical conductivity, making it valuable in its extruded state for various lighting components like LED aluminum extrusions, structures for supporting solar panels, and other applications.
  • Transport: Extruded aluminum is good for fabricating items like automotive, horse, and boat trailers.

5-Axis CNC Machining FAQ

What are the 5 axes on a CNC machine?

The axes, in terms of CNC machining, determine the number of directions that the cutting tool can move in when producing parts. There are the three-dimensional axes, and the 5-axis machine’s cutting tool can also rotate to approach the part from two directions, which serve as two additional axes.

When does 5-axis machining make sense?

Because of the flexibility offered by 5-axis machining, it should be used to create the most complex shapes and details in parts. The stability of the tool also provides a smoother and more consistent finish.

Can 5-axis provide tight tolerances?

5-axis CNC machining is one of the most advanced manufacturing technologies available, so it can produce some of the tightest tolerances possible, even on complex and detailed parts.

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