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aka Whitehawk!
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey folks, I'm looking to try my hand at working with some AL on some future builds. But I have a couple of questions for the folks that have worked with AL already. I've read some topics here, but info is spread around quite a bit, I'd like to compile it in one place for my info.

If you can help answer any of these, it would be appreciated:

1. Where are the best places to get AL in sheets? Online seems a bit pricey, and since I'm not practiced at purchasing metal, what are your best local sources for AL sheets at reasonable prices?

2. I know that, just like Stainless, there are different types of AL. Just wondering if any of you have a preference for a certain type. I'm not building any Schlocklay type stuff, so I don't need AL from the International Space Station.

3. While I've seen it discussed, I'm still unclear - what's the best way to polish/finish AL to help prevent future oxidation on the surface? Or can that even be done?

4. Best recommendations for cutting AL? I know I can use a hack saw and maybe even a band saw? Maybe a scroll saw? I've heard it can bung up your blades.

5. In my work as an electrician, I did plenty of drilling and tapping, but that was almost always in steel or copper. How well does AL stand up to tapping and holding a thread? Can I expect threading to be similar to steel, or are there any special considerations?

I know some of y'all are quite smart about these things, so thanks in advance folks!
 

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I use AL but I use scrap at a machine shop I work at. I've had my AL SS's for over a year and no oxidation. I am using aircraft 6061 AL though. I use a band saw, air powered dremal, and belt sander. We do have a mill that I use but I could still make them with out it. In the picture posted I used the dremal to get those curves for the finger grooves. The profile was done on a mill though. It could be done with the other tools it was just easier for me. The finish is bead blasted but i still had more sanding to do so it looks shinier now. Any other questions I am more than happy to help

~MoS
 

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aka Whitehawk!
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4,700 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Aluminum doesn't hold threads very well. If you have helicoils then they will hold. Or loctite thread locker
That may make a good case for using steel in that event. I do know that steel will hold a thread very well. Unfortunately for one of my plans, thread locker won't be an option as the screws have to be able to be removed or reinserted.
 

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#7
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855 Posts
You will find threaded Aluminium every day, it of course also depends on the sort of aluminium because Al does not equal Al but for a Slingshot i won´t see any problems.
Copper is WAY softer f/ex.
You could also use thicker Al if you are afraid...but you shouldn´t imo.

What you could also do if you plan to add wood on each side, you could drill a bigger hole and embedd a nut into the wood on the other side.

Regarding cutting and such...i still have some of my 15mm cores here...those are thick enough for threads too ;)
 

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aka Whitehawk!
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4,700 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I use AL but I use scrap at a machine shop I work at. I've had my AL SS's for over a year and no oxidation. I am using aircraft 6061 AL though. I use a band saw, air powered dremal, and belt sander. We do have a mill that I use but I could still make them with out it. In the picture posted I used the dremal to get those curves for the finger grooves. The profile was done on a mill though. It could be done with the other tools it was just easier for me. The finish is bead blasted but i still had more sanding to do so it looks shinier now. Any other questions I am more than happy to help

~MoS
That's a very nice slingshot, by the way. Great work.
 

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aka Whitehawk!
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4,700 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
You will find threaded Aluminium every day, it of course also depends on the sort of aluminium because Al does not equal Al but for a Slingshot i won´t see any problems.
Copper is WAY softer f/ex.
You could also use thicker Al if you are afraid...but you shouldn´t imo.

What you could also do if you plan to add wood on each side, you could drill a bigger hole and embedd a nut into the wood on the other side.

Regarding cutting and such...i still have some of my 15mm cores here...those are thick enough for threads too ;)
Are those the 'target shooter' cores? I forgot about those. Perhaps it's time to consider ordering one or two of those bad boys from you.
 

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One question you Didn't ask Brother. Does Aluminum have a grain similar to wood? Yes it definitely does, after polishing it will not show. Pay careful attention to the grain in Slingshots using big bands. ;)
 

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aka Whitehawk!
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Discussion Starter #12
One question you Didn't ask Brother. Does Aluminum have a grain similar to wood? Yes it definitely does, after polishing it will not show. Pay careful attention to the grain in Slingshots using big bands. ;)
Good point, and noted. Thank you.
 

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I rarely shoot rocks!
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I cut 1/4 inch aluminum with a good jigsaw and a bi metal blade. Had absolutely no trouble. Just wear safety glasses because the chips fly everywhere
 

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E, I cut ally cores up to 1/4" on my scrollsaw using Flying Dutchman brand ultra reverse #7 blades. There are ''aluminum cutter'' blades but they are just sh1t, about 6 or 7 blades to one core. With the ultra reverse wood blades, maybe one breakage per core. Mike's Workshop is the place to get them, good prices and cheap shipping. The part number is, and here's a shocker, fd-ur #7. All the flying dutchman blades are very good, the only ones I use.
 

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aka Whitehawk!
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4,700 Posts
Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
E, I cut ally cores up to 1/4" on my scrollsaw using Flying Dutchman brand ultra reverse #7 blades. There are ''aluminum cutter'' blades but they are just sh1t, about 6 or 7 blades to one core. With the ultra reverse wood blades, maybe one breakage per core. Mike's Workshop is the place to get them, good prices and cheap shipping. The part number is, and here's a shocker, fd-ur #7. All the flying dutchman blades are very good, the only ones I use.
Good info D! Thanks for that. I need to get some blades for my scroll saw anyway, it's about time I do that.

I see he has a lot of different blades available. Is that FD-UR #7 the only style you use? Or do you use any others?
 

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I'm not sure how available these would be, but you might think about an automobile junkyard. Some car engines are aluminum, also might be able to buy 3 aluminum wheels off a wrecked car for just above scrap price if the other one is ruined. I would think that wheel aluminum should be a fairly tough alloy. Scrap yard is also another choice for aluminum of all types and sometimes you can buy from them at just over scrap price. If you can give them more than they can get by selling it at scrap, it is to their benefit.
 

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Premium Member
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6,101 Posts
Hey Withak,

What about a combination?
I have your address, some 6mm aluminum you´ve seen here before..
and there´s a post office 200 meters away. What do you think?
(I can offer you to roughly cut out the shape you want to have..)

Concerning your questions/ those you didn´t ask:

any high grade steel tools for wood can (slowly-heat!) be used
for A-L-U (yes, guess what: also for wood ;) ).

Files can be pre-stuffed with chalk, so the aluminum won´t
stick to them that badly. The tool that comes with a file is a
stiff steel brush for cleaning (there´s special brushes for that..)

finishing metal can be done with cellulose varnish/ "Zapon-Laquer?"
or with stuff like my beloved epoxi "surface resin".. (You´d want
stuff with low viscosity.)

In the thread about my "Bliss" shooter I posted pics of how I
would want to solve that aluminum/thread issue with a modded
hexnut _N-O AGAIN.. it was not a hexnut.. but I guess you know
what I mean.. I used the hexnuts for the musketeers..
(may be the easiest way to compensate for a lack of
thread-cutters?) http://www.theslingshotforum.com/f5/16th-slingshot-bliss-34434/index3.html#post279039

Tell me if 6mm could work for you?!

kind regards,

Be
 

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aka Whitehawk!
Joined
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4,700 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Hey Withak,

What about a combination?
I have your address, some 6mm aluminum you´ve seen here before..
and there´s a post office 200 meters away. What do you think?
(I can offer you to roughly cut out the shape you want to have..)

Concerning your questions/ those you didn´t ask:

any high grade steel tools for wood can (slowly-heat!) be used
for wood.

Files can be pre-stuffed with chalk, so the aluminum won´t
stick to them that badly. The tool that comes with a file is a
stiff steel brush for cleaning (there´s special brushes for that..)

finishing metal can be done with cellulose varnish/ "Zapon-Laquer?"
or with stuff like my beloved epoxi "surface resin".. (You´d want
stuff with low viscosity.

In the thread about my "Bliss" shooter I posted pics of how I
would want to solve that aluminum/thread issue with a modded
hexnut (may be the easiest way to compensate for a lack of
thread-cutters?) http://www.theslingshotforum.com/f5/16th-slingshot-bliss-34434/index3.html#post279039

Tell me if 6mm could work for you?!

kind regards,

Be
6mm is actually what I'm looking for at the moment. But I'd only agree to that if I could send something in return.

I appreciate the reminder on that thread of yours, I had forgotten about that, and it's a good idea, something I may have to try, it it will work in my application.
 

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Good info D! Thanks for that. I need to get some blades for my scroll saw anyway, it's about time I do that.

I see he has a lot of different blades available. Is that FD-UR #7 the only style you use? Or do you use any others?
The ultra reverse is the only kind, from #3 to #9 is the ones I have.
 

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aka Whitehawk!
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4,700 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
The ultra reverse is the only kind, from #3 to #9 is the ones I have.
They send samples (2 blades) for free if you're a new visitor, I sent him a request for 2 of the #7 to try them out. Thanks for the heads-up, I appreciate it. His prices look very reasonable too.
 
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