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Hot Rods Cheap aluminum, any good

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Gus68, Jan 16, 2021.

  1. Gus68
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 438

    Gus68
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Maybe a stupid question. But is the aluminum angle they sell at menards or Lowe's any good? I know there are different grades of aluminum, but I don't know anything about em. Was looking at making light weight seat mounts for my light weight seats. But I also don't want them to break and get killed.
     
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  2. dreracecar
    Joined: Aug 27, 2009
    Posts: 3,347

    dreracecar
    Member
    from so-cal

    Most of the time its 6061 T6 which is a standard general purpose alloy-- since you are not building the "space shuttle" you will be fine using it
     
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  3. DDDenny
    Joined: Feb 6, 2015
    Posts: 16,742

    DDDenny
    Member
    from oregon

    The only problem with it is the crazy $$$ they charge for it!
     
  4. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 52,389

    squirrel
    Member

    It might be 6063 rather than 6061.

    I think the safety of your seat mounts will have a lot to do with the design, which of course should include careful material selection.
     

  5. big duece
    Joined: Jul 28, 2008
    Posts: 6,561

    big duece
    Member
    from kansas

    Using aluminum for your mounting of the aluminum seats would be fine, but those mounts are not what make you stay in your seat. Mounting your seat belt brackets to the frame with steel will keep you in your seat.
     
  6. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 31,852

    Mr48chev
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    All the metal that they have at Home Depot, Lowes or Ace (we don't have Menards is way too expensive for what you get. I'd think it is decent quality but you pay a lot extra for the convenience.
    That doesn't mean that I don't buy it once in a while at the Ace here when I have a project that takes a small piece and don't feel like driving 20 miles to the Scrap yard that sells all of the scrap pieces they get from local fab shops by the pound. Most of the local Jeep guys get their polished aluminum diamond plate there that comes from a local industrial fab shop.
     
  7. big duece
    Joined: Jul 28, 2008
    Posts: 6,561

    big duece
    Member
    from kansas

    6061 at Menards? I doubt it. More like 3003 alum, which is common.
     
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  8. noboD
    Joined: Jan 29, 2004
    Posts: 8,005

    noboD
    Member

    Don't use 2024, it can't be welded easily.
     
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  9. ekimneirbo
    Joined: Apr 29, 2017
    Posts: 3,119

    ekimneirbo

    If you get the wrong aluminum alloy it can't be welded, and since you are asking this question I assume you aren't someone who can weld aluminum. I would look at using some steel angle iron which is easily welded and ultimately much stronger .......not because you need it in an accident, but just because the occasional bumps that happen when driving. You could always fab some 4130 moly aircraft tubing if weight is a major issue......light and strong.;)
     
  10. Ziggster
    Joined: Aug 27, 2018
    Posts: 1,166

    Ziggster
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    I doubt you will see 60 series grade aluminum at box stores. Probably 50 series line 5052 or lower. Both my 79 IH Scout and 97 Lexus LX450 have the seat belt anchor points in the floor which is common even today considering unibody design. Is it better to mount to the frame - yes if done correctly. None of us really have the skills/equipment to design bssed on actual loads/ forces, so we mimic what we see. In the end I would be more concerned about fab skill/ quality of end product.
     
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  11. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 52,389

    squirrel
    Member

    6063 is very common for extrusions. The 2024, 3003, and 5052 alloys are common for sheet aluminum.

    There are some rather knowledgeable folks here....I don't like making blanket statements like that.
     
  12. Gus68
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 438

    Gus68
    Member
    from Minnesota

    Ya. Menards is just easier for me. We got some light racing buckets and I don't wanna add a bunch of weight in the mounting brackets. Kinda defeat the point of the light weight seats. But I also don't want to build something just to have it break either.
     
  13. According to Menard's website, Hillman is supplier and the 1" angle is:
    • Manufactured with Aluminum Alloy 6063-T5
    Hope this info helps in your decision making.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021
  14. Gus68
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 438

    Gus68
    Member
    from Minnesota

    So, I'm not an expert on the alloys and stuff. I guess what I need to know is will it crack or break easy? I don't need that.
     
  15. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 52,389

    squirrel
    Member

    If you design the brackets well, it won't break or crack. If you don't design them well, it might.

    So, we'd need to see your design before being able to offer an opinion.
     
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  16. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 6,523

    stanlow69
    Member

    Build it. Race it. Inspect it every so often. Every item on the car. Replace what needs replacing.
     
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  17. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,994

    5window
    Member

    I don't know how it is in your area, but here in PA, our local Farm Bureau offers me a membership in the Farm Bureau for $75 a year. That not only supports farming, but gets me 10% off Nationwide Insurance, and,even better, a discount on everything and FREE shipping from Grainger. Grainger lists size, grade and characteristics for all their metal. I've had a 6' strip of 1/4"x 1/2" aluminum arrive in a 6' mailing tube to my door for about $6. Good deal, you might consider.
     
  18. pirate
    Joined: Jun 29, 2006
    Posts: 780

    pirate
    Member
    from Alabama

    Most medium sized cities have aluminum/steel supply businesses. Some only sell to businesses others will sell to individuals if you know what you want or they have it in stock. Do a Google search for your area. There are also numerous places to buy online although shipping can be expensive.

    I have a local company that does fab work I walked into looking for a small piece of steel. Told him about using it for a car project and he cut it to size and gave it to me saying it would cost more to fill out and invoice then the steel was worth. Have also made out a list of steel/aluminum needed (prepaid for material) and they added it to the list of things they were ordering and called me when it came in.
     
  19. Most of the aluminum extrusions sold at the big box stores are 6063. I think the bigger question is size and thickness of the angle vs. length. Web based programs can steer you toward the desired angle based on anticipated loading. A good example would be 1.5" x 1.5" x 1/16" 6063 say 20" long with mounting holes drilled in it would be a poor choice especially if the seat belts were attached to the seat. As previously stated, the belts should be anchored to the floor with steel.
     
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  20. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,994

    5window
    Member

    mad mikey likes this.
  21. Here's my go-to for metals.... McMaster-Carr

    Click on 'raw materials' once you get there, they'll have almost whatever you need. I've always found their shipping to be reasonable and fairly fast. The aluminum stuff the box stores sells is mostly aimed at trim and would be too light IMO for a structural part like a seat mount. Metal costs have risen quite a bit over the years...
     
  22. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 6,519

    41rodderz
    Member
    from Oregon

    Heck cheaper yet is your local metal recycler. Used and unused steel , aluminum etc. Fortunately for me we have local plants that do work for the NASA , Boeing and others. So we get all different specs on material. Ours charge $0.40 cents a pound . Good luck.
     

  23. Speak for yourself.......you are way off base here......there are many guys on this forum qualified to properly design and fabricete lots of hot rod parts. I am a PE, structural engineer, PhD in fracture mechanics, certified welder (all position MIG, and submerged arc)., and certified inspector (visual, mag particle, ultrasonics, dye penetrant, X-Ray, eddy current). Designed the wing structure for C-130 aircraft, tail structure for L-1011 airplanes and numerous primary structures for deep submergence vehicles, nuclear submarines, and surface warships.......and I do ALL of the work for my hot rods, including engine work, paint and upholstery.
     
  24. Both statements are true but if you ask the right person most are glad to help especially when it comes to a safety aspect.

    Referring again to the above statement. When I built my two story garage I went to a structural design engineer friend to design the upper floor system. Being unfamiliar with the various stresses and load carrying capabilities of structural steel I asked. He designed for me a system based on the loading information I gave him. You need to add the weight of the material being used then add the moveable weight, add in a safety factor and then come up with the materials and sizes needed. When he inspected my finished project he stated. "Did I spec 21" bar joists, I thought I speced 18" and a 12" X 42 Beam but you have 21" bar joists and a 14' X 52 central beam supported by two 4" schedule 40 supports and you have 5"?" I informed him that he was correct on his assumptions and that I bought the materials from his Dad who had a building demolition business and instead of down sizing I up-sized. Conforming to what his Dad had on hand to avoid any structural deficiencies. He chuckled and said I would have no problems. His professional engineering cost me 1/2 a day at his house placing a beam and welding it in place after which we sat by his pool and drank scotch. Good deal for all involved and always keep safety in mind.
     
  25. bill gruendeman
    Joined: Jun 18, 2019
    Posts: 633

    bill gruendeman
    Member

    Looks like you are a real jack of all trades and a master of ALL of them, you must be a hell of a lot smarter than me.
     
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  26. Not really......I firmly believe that most people, given the opportunity, can learn just about anything they put their minds to do.......
     
  27. 2OLD2FAST
    Joined: Feb 3, 2010
    Posts: 4,210

    2OLD2FAST
    Member
    from illinois

    The problem that frequently arises is applying knowledge to practice..;)
     
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  28. And finding an accessible source of the knowledge...
     
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  29. stanlow69
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 6,523

    stanlow69
    Member

    How much weight savings can you gain by using aluminum over steel. Is it worth the effort.
     
    Texas57 and bill gruendeman like this.
  30. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 9,979

    Budget36
    ALLIANCE MEMBER

    At first I was thinking the same thing, but I guess if it’s some kind of race car, every pound would help.
     

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