Aluminium is a lightweight, recyclable material that is used in a wide variety of manufacturing applications. It is the third most abundant metal on the Earth’s crust and yet despite this, wide scale production of Aluminium did not start until 1888 and at one time Aluminium was more valuable than Gold. As a sub-contract machinist we are used to dealing with a wide variety of materials and certainly have machined Aluminium in a variety of forms.
Aluminium is considered one of the more ‘free machining’ of materials in that it chips easily and is relatively easy to shape. Chipping easily means that the cutting tool will spend more time and effort cutting the work piece (component) instead of chips it has created. Aluminium can be machined up to 3 or 4 times faster than Iron or Steel and speed of manufacture obviously makes Aluminium components cheaper to produce when compared to the same component made out of another material. The main difficulty with machining Aluminium is that the material can adhere to the tool cutting edge, which will quickly dull the tool.
Cast Aluminium will machine differently depending on the casting process in play. Sand Cast Aluminium tend to pick up the texture of the mold which may be coarse depending on the sand used and so will potentially require finishing applied over a large surface. Aluminium is the most widely used material for Die Castings. The difficulty with Die Cast Aluminium is that it will range in hardness depending on the material grade, and of course with any casting process there is likely to be a degree of variation in the casting process which requires close attention to detail during machining.
Protection of Aluminium
One of the most noticeable attributes of Aluminium is a naturally occurring protective Oxide layer, and there are a number of different methods to extend this further and increase the wear and corrosion resistance of parts, such as Anodising. As well as machining a part we can provide a full manufacturing service which includes oversight on finishing processes. We only work with trusted suppliers, who are ISO certified.
Bronte Precision deliver up and down the country and have a niche in large sized and complex components, often involving multiple process steps and intricate geometries. Send through your RFQ today for a no obligation quote.