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Where to buy pre-bent stock aluminum sheet metal?

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SamP

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Nov 4, 2016
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SF Bay Area, CA
Looking to purchase some prebent 0.032" and 0.025" 6061 Aluminum C channel. It seems like it would be a common thing, but can't seem to find a source. I tried Aircraft spruce, Wicks, but no luck. Thanks!
 

cheapracer

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Sheetmetal shop can do it quickly and cheaply if it comes down to getting it done yourself.

Make sure you get 3 times or more thickness bend radius (3T BR). That will add about 1mm/0.040" to your outside width.

Most shops can't do more than 1" walls for 2" width, so if your design needs are greater, check around first.
 

SamP

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SF Bay Area, CA
Greatly appreciate it! It seems the right serach term was "formed" and not "C" since that gave me the thicker extrusions.

Happy Thanksgiving all!
 

pfarber

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Sheetmetal shop can do it quickly and cheaply if it comes down to getting it done yourself.

Make sure you get 3 times or more thickness bend radius (3T BR). That will add about 1mm/0.040" to your outside width.

Most shops can't do more than 1" walls for 2" width, so if your design needs are greater, check around first.
As long as they have press dies that don't gouge your Aluminum. I'd specify surface finish otherwise you might get some unusable parts back.
 

Mad MAC

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It should be pointed out that metal shops are not all the same.

Many years ago I worked for a Startup OEM that brought a type design and starting manufacturing it by subbing out all the sheet metalwork to a stainless steel sheet metal specialist. They had a few guys who could do aluminum well and they always did the proof of article, but after that the reject rate ran at 40% to 60% for what was mostly dumb stuff. They never did really resolve that*. The stainless parts however always came though beautifully.

*Poor business model, plus management from the banking sector killed it, took them 3 years though.
 

pfarber

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There is one kit manufacturer that, for small, thin Aluminum parts, is printing 3-d dies for use in their press. Its good for a dozen or so parts. Beats machining dies, but again, the size of the parts were generally small.

No way the plastic die mars the Al finish.

Also, I'm not sure if extruded parts are the same strength as press bent sheet. Things like grain orientation were the reason. I can't remember the specifics though.
 

proppastie

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good luck...we have lost so much industrial base that if you find that shop that will make you perfect parts with no marks it probably will cost a fortune. Might be easier to bump up the size or fiddle with the design so you can accommodate not so perfect parts.
 

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