Aluminium Fabrication

Aluminium Fabrication FAQ's

What and Why?

Fabrication refers to the manipulation of a product, by bending and shaping the product to serve a purpose.  Aluminium fabrication is a fast growing industry.  Aluminium is often referred to as a wonder metal as it has many uses, and is easily available.  It plays well with others, and can be used with a variety of other elements.  One would assume that it is easy to work with and the best choice for most metal manufacturing requirements, (Commercial air travel would not be possible without this metal!) but there are a few tricks to learn when working with this element.

The Problem with Aluminium:

The elements of aluminium that make it good are the same that make aluminium fabrication a little tricky. It gets hot very quickly due to its great heat conduction, making it easy to burn when welding. Its pliability hinders manufacturers during the welding process because it is so flexible. This means that a certain level of skill is required to ensure an end product that the client is happy with.

The Upside of Aluminium

Aluminium is resistant to corrosion, conducts heat and electricity, is light and pliable but also strong. It is resistant to magnets, which means it can be used in areas where other metals can’t for example in electronics. Its impermeability makes it great for containing food and drinks – it keeps germs out, and the contents in. It is 95% recyclable, and making new aluminium from old uses about 5% of the original power. Aluminium fabrication cuts the work load down for construction workers, as large portions of the building can arrive on site pre fabricated – ready for installation. Once the building has served its purpose, in 100 years or so, it can be melted down and made in to pretty much anything else.

Tips of the Trade:

  • To avoid scratching the soft surface of the metal during aluminium fabrication, one would not use the helically wound up steel liner.  A better option is to use nylon or Teflon liner as these will prevent damage.
  • To eliminate the use of sharp edges in drive holes, use the u-shaped hole with a light pressure on the rolls.
  • Aluminium fabricators that know their stuff will also know that a bigger hole is used during the welding stage of aluminium fabrication, as it will expand slightly more than steel does.
  • Set the brake tension loosely on the aluminium, and keep the cable gun straight and you are one step closer to easier and better aluminium fabrication.
  • Choosing the right alloy.  The alloy is the product of pure aluminium mixed with another element, to give it different strengths.  These are categorized into casting alloys and wrought alloys, which are again separated into heat treatable and non heat treatable alloys.
  • When replacing a steel sheet with an aluminium sheet, remember that aluminium only ways 1/3 of what steel does, and you will need a sheet about 40% thicker than the sheet you are replacing.