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May 09 2014

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Aluminum

By far the best part of this journey into art for me is the learning of new skills. When I am completely out of my depth and comfort zone and exploring a new subject, I just get so happy.

The other night we paid a visit to Buck to pick his brain about how to build the skeleton of the lobate. After a bit of discussion we decided on aluminum pipe. Last year we avoided aluminum because of the cost and the fact that no one knew how to weld it. Fortunately, we do not have any structural construction this year which will keep the cost of new materials down. However, no one in our crew knows how to weld aluminum. Perfect!

We have calculated that each of the eight lines that run the length of the lobate will be more than 40 feet. Additionally, we will have a number of ribs and stand-offs to attach the skeleton to the truck. As such, we are looking at using about 400 feet of stock.

What size? That is a good question. Buck advised that we look at the price of anything between 1′ and 1.5′. So… I go off on a pricing hunt and run into this diddy:

What’s the difference between pipe and tube?
The way it’s measured and the applications it’s being used for.

Pipes are passageways. Tubes are structural.
A pipe is generally measured by inside diameter or ID.(IE: You could roll a 2″ golf ball through a 2″ NOM pipe.) Tube, on the other hand, is measured by Outside Diameter. (So your golf ball would have the same O.D. as the 2″ tube.)

I found this Buyer’s Guide front he same OnlineMetals.com to be quite helpful as well.

And here is where the fun begins.

6063-T52 ALUMINUM TUBE

8′ of the 1″ OD (Outer Diameter) tube with a 0.125″ wall cost 16.07

8′ of the 1.5″ OD tube with a 0.125″ wall cost 45.80

8′ of the 2″ OD tube with a 0.125″ wall cost 24.83

8′ of the 2″ OD tube with a 0.125″ wall cost 40.28

Schedule 40 Aluminum Bare Pipe 6061 T6

8′ of the 1.315″ OD tube with a 0.133″ wall cost 22.42

Extruded Schedule 40 Aluminum Pipe 6101 T61

8′ of the 1.315″ OD tube with a 0.133″ wall cost 33.08

6061-T6 ALUMINUM TUBE

8′ of the 1″ OD (Outer Diameter) tube with a 0.035″ wall cost 27.85
(That is super thin and will not work for us. Al the other 6061 are much more expensive.)

—-

1 SCH 40 (1.315 OD X .133 wall) 6061-T6 Aluminum Structural Pipe

20′ of the 1.35″ OD tube with a 0.133″ wall cost 47.00

3/4 SCH 40 (1.05 OD X .113W) 6061-T6 Aluminum Structural Pipe

20′ of the 1.05″ OD tube with a 0.133″ wall cost 28.00

—-

What does this all mean? We shall see… We shall see.

Crazy.

Permanent link to this article: http://unaverz.com/wp/aluminum/

1 comment

  1. Jeff

    Ulan,

    Aluminum is actually pretty easy to tig weld. Once you get the hang of it, and especially if it’s not too thin. The main thing is it has to be really clean, and then buffed right before you weld it. Protecting the backside can help as aluminum can burn away if it air gets to the puddle.
    Also Alco has quite a decent selection, much of it at scrap prices.

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