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  1. How Aluminum CNC Machining Adds Value to Your Product

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    Product value is not solely determined by features or functionality but also by the manufacturing processes employed. Nowadays, manufacturers constantly seek innovative techniques to elevate their products and stand out. That’s where aluminum computer numerical control (CNC) machining comes into play. It combines the versatility of aluminum as a metal and the advanced capabilities of CNC technology.

    This powerful combination creates endless opportunities, empowering manufacturers to explore new frontiers in design and engineering. This article will delve into the benefits of aluminum CNC machining, explaining how it adds value to products.

    Benefits of Aluminum CNC Machining

    The following advantages highlight the value that aluminum machining brings to manufacturers and their products:

    Precision and Accuracy

    CNC machining utilizes computer-controlled systems to execute precise and accurate manufacturing processes. This precision level ensures that complex designs, intricate features, and tight tolerances are achieved consistently. With aluminum, manufacturers can create metal components that fit together seamlessly, resulting in superior product performance and functionality.

    Lightweight and Durable

    Aluminum is renowned for its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio. It is lighter than many other metals while still offering durability. This makes CNC-machined products ideal for applications where weight reduction is crucial, such as in the aerospace, automotive, and consumer electronics industries. Moreover, lightweight aluminum components contribute to improved fuel efficiency, enhanced performance, and increased ease of use.

    Enhanced Corrosion Resistance

    CNC-machined aluminum components can withstand exposure to moisture, humidity, and various chemicals without compromising their structural integrity. This resistance extends the lifespan of products, particularly in industries such as marine, construction, and outdoor equipment.

    Versatility and Design Flexibility

    Aluminum’s inherent malleability makes it easily shaped, molded, and machined to meet specific design requirements. This renders it an excellent choice for CNC machining processes. The level of control also allows manufacturers to push the boundaries of design and transform the most intricate and complex geometries into reality.

    Design flexibility is advantageous, particularly in industries where customization is valued. Manufacturers can leverage this machining technique to create aluminum products that exceed customer expectations. Whether it’s personalized consumer electronics or customized automotive components, the versatility of aluminum machining allows for the creation of tailor-made products.

    Superior Surface Finishes

    CNC machining allows for precise control over surface finishes, resulting in products with excellent aesthetics. Manufacturers can achieve detailed textures and even incorporate branding or custom designs. Furthermore, aluminum is highly receptive to various surface treatments such as anodizing, painting, or powder coating which enhance corrosion resistance and visual appeal.

    Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness

    CNC technology offers high levels of automation and efficiency, reducing production time and minimizing human error. It enables batch production and mass customization, improving productivity and cost-effectiveness. In addition, aluminum is a relatively affordable material than other metals, making it an economical choice for manufacturing processes.

    Excellent Thermal Conductivity

    Excellent thermal conductivity is a standout feature of aluminum, making it an ideal material for products that require efficient heat dissipation. This attribute has widespread applications across industries where effective thermal management is crucial for optimal performance and extended product lifespan. For example, aluminum CNC-machined components reduce the risk of thermal-induced damage, including material degradation, electrical failures, or premature wear.

    Ease of Assembly and Integration

    Aluminum CNC-machined components offer easy assembly and integration into larger systems. The precise machining of aluminum parts ensures accurate dimensions and consistent quality, facilitating seamless integration with other elements. This simplifies the assembly process, reduces assembly time, and improves manufacturing efficiency.

    Trust Richardson Metals for Reliable Aluminum CNC Machining Solutions!

    Richardson Metals is your trusted partner for aluminum machining needs! Our dedicated Sales and Engineering team is ready to address your unique requirements. We also have state-of-the-art in-house 3-axis and 4-axis machining centers, allowing us to provide quick and cost-effective solutions for your projects.

    Contact us for more information about our services! You can also request a quote now.

  2. Step-by-Step Aluminum Extrusion Process

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    Aluminum extrusion is a manufacturing process that involves shaping aluminum alloy into profiles with a uniform cross-sectional shape. It is a highly versatile and cost-effective method to create complex and customized metal parts and structures. Hence, this method is widely used in the construction, automotive, aerospace, electronics, transportation, and consumer goods industries.

    The aluminum extrusion process involves several steps that transform a billet into a finished extruded profile. Here is an overview:

    Step 1: Preparing the Billet

    Billet preparation is the initial stage, where a suitable billet is selected and prepared for extrusion. It is often made from an aluminum alloy and is carefully cut into specific lengths based on the requirements. Then, the billet is heated to the extrusion temperature, making it more malleable for the next step. Homogenization may be performed to ensure uniform alloy composition.

    Step 2: Setting Up the Extrusion Press

    The setup process includes preparing the extrusion die, which is a specially designed metal component that determines the final extruded profile’s shape. It is then inspected and cleaned to ensure its proper functioning. Next, the press is prepared by adjusting various parameters such as the hydraulic system, temperature controls, and pressure settings. Finally, the heated billet is loaded into the press.

    Step 3: Preheating the Container

    Preheating the container minimizes heat loss and maintains the temperature of the billet throughout the process. The preheating temperature must be controlled and monitored to align with the desired temperature. This step allows the thermal energy to be absorbed and retained, creating a conducive environment for the extrusion operation.

    Step 4: Extruding the Billet

    Ram extrusion is the application of intense pressure using a ram to propel the heated billet through the die. As pressure is applied, the aluminum billet undergoes plastic deformation and takes on the form of the die opening. The pressure and speed of the ram are precisely controlled to ensure uniform flow and maintain the desired dimensions and surface quality.

    Step 5: Cooling and Handling

    The extruded profile is cooled using either water or air, depending on the specific requirements of the alloy. Cooling the profile helps harden it, stabilize its structure, and improve its mechanical properties. Proper cooling also aids in setting the desired metallurgical properties of the alloy, enhancing its strength and durability.

    After the extruded profile has undergone adequate cooling and solidification, it is carefully handled and transferred to subsequent post-processing stages. These may involve cutting, machining, surface treatment, or additional heat treatments.

    Step 6: Stretching and Cutting

    The profile undergoes stretching to improve its straightness and dimensional accuracy. This process typically applies controlled tension, either manually or with the help of specialized stretching equipment. Then, it is cut into desired lengths, which can be performed through sawing, shearing, or precision cutting techniques.

    Step 7: Quality Control Checking

    Quality control measures are implemented to assess the extruded profiles for defects, dimensional accuracy, surface finish, and mechanical properties. Inspection techniques are utilized to identify any issues or deviations from the desired specifications. Any profiles that fail to meet the quality criteria are either rejected, reworked, or subjected to further analysis to determine the cause of the nonconformity.

    Choose Richardson Metals for Custom Aluminum Extrusions

    At Richardson Metals, we pride ourselves on our commitment to excellence in producing custom aluminum extrusions. We use premium-grade materials to ensure our extruded products’ highest quality and performance. We also guarantee that every extrusion that leaves our facility meets the strictest industry standards.

    Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities! You can also request a quote now to receive a competitive pricing estimate.

  3. The Many Dimensions of Extruded Aluminum Shapes

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    Extrusion is the process of forcing a material through a die to produce the desired configuration with consistent cross-sectional profiles. It is commonly used in manufacturing to create various structural components for buildings, automotive parts, heat sinks, and electrical enclosures.

    Extruded aluminum shapes are profiles or sections created through this technique using a cylindrical billet or aluminum ingot. Discussed below are some common dimensions associated with aluminum extrusion:

    1. Cross-Sectional Profiles

    Cross-sectional profiles are the configurations of a solid or hollow object when viewed in a perpendicular plane to its longitudinal axis. Extruded shapes can have various profiles, including but not limited to the following:

    • Solid shapes:These are profiles with a continuous solid cross-section, such as rectangular, square, round, hexagonal, or octagonal.
    • Hollow shapes:These have a void or empty space within the cross-section, such as rectangular tubes, square tubes, round tubes, or custom hollow profiles.
    • Specialized shapes:Some profiles are designed for specific purposes, such as T-shapes, I-shapes, L-shapes, Z-shapes, H-shapes, or custom-designed profiles to meet specific requirements.

    2. Size

    The size can vary widely depending on the specific application and design requirements. It is typically determined by width, height, and diameter. It can also range from miniature profiles suitable for lightweight applications to larger sections for heavy-duty structural components. Different aspect ratios can also be achieved by adjusting the dimensions of the post-extrusion processing.

    3. Wall Thickness

    Wall thickness refers to the thickness of the material used to construct the profile walls. It is essential for determining an aluminum shape’s structural integrity and load-bearing capacity. For instance, thicker walls provide increased strength and stiffness, making them suitable for applications requiring resistance to bending or deformation.

    This also influences the extruded shape’s mass. As a result, thinner wall profiles can be utilized for weight-sensitive applications without compromising structural integrity. This weight reduction can benefit the transportation, automotive, and aerospace industries.

    4. Length

    Manufacturers often produce extruded shapes in standard or custom lengths. The common measurements are predetermined and readily available, ranging from a few feet to several meters. This makes it easier for manufacturers to procure and work with aluminum shapes, as they can be readily integrated into existing designs.

    On the other hand, customization allows the profiles to be tailored precisely to the requirements of a particular project. Manufacturers can cut the shapes to the desired lengths, accommodating unique design specifications and ensuring optimal fit and functionality.

    5. Tolerances

    Tolerances refer to the allowable deviation or variation from the specified dimensions of an extruded shape. They define the acceptable range within which the actual sizes of the profile can vary and still be considered good for use. Here are some key points to understand about tolerances:

    • Dimensional tolerances:These define the permissible variation in length, width, height, and other specific dimensions of the aluminum. For example, specified width tolerances of 0.05 mean that the actual width can vary by up to 0.05.
    • Geometric tolerances: These are the allowable deviations in geometric features, such as flatness, straightness, angularity, or perpendicularity.
    • Manufacturing tolerances:These account for variations introduced during the manufacturing process, including extrusion, cutting, and other fabrication operations.
    • Material tolerances: These pertain to variations in material properties, such as hardness, density, or surface finish.

    Get the Perfect Fit With Richardson Metals Custom Aluminum Extrusions!

    At Richardson Metals, we use premium-grade aluminum materials and adhere to stringent quality control measures to deliver high-performance extrusions.Our attention to detail also ensures that the products are durable, reliable, and built to last. Additionally, we offer value-added services, including cutting, drilling, machining, surface finishing, and assembly.

    Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities! You can also request a quote now.

  4. Why Choose Aluminum Over Other CNC Metals

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    CNC machining has become a widely used and efficient method to produce intricate metal parts with high precision and accuracy. When selecting the material for CNC machining, aluminum often emerges as a preferred choice. This is mainly because it is lightweight, durable, and versatile, combining desirable properties and making it suitable for various machining applications.

    This blog will explore the benefits of making aluminum your go-to metal and why it is popular among manufacturers. We will also list several grades and alloys ideal for CNC machining.

    Advantages of Aluminum vs. Other CNC Metals

    Aluminum is a versatile metal that offers numerous advantages over other metals, such as steel, titanium, copper, and bronze. Here are the key advantages of utilizing this material, highlighting its superior properties and how it can benefit a wide range of applications:

    Lightweight Nature

    Aluminum is three times lighter than steel, making it a popular choice in applications where weight is critical. Its low density also means it can be used in large quantities without adding extra weight to the product. For example, lightweight materials are essential in the automotive and aerospace industries to increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions.

    High Strength-to-Weight Ratio

    Despite its lightweight nature, aluminum boasts a higher strength-to-weight ratio than most CNC metals, including steel and copper. This means aluminum can bear immense weight and stress without adding bulk to the product. As a result, it is an excellent solution for aeronautical applications requiring strength and durability without sacrificing weight.

    Excellent Machinability

    Aluminum is one of the easiest metals to machine, making it a popular choice in manufacturing. Its machinability is due to its softness and low melting point, allowing it to be easily cut, drilled, and shaped with minimal effort. This makes it an ideal option for creating intricate and complex parts with high precision and accuracy.

    Exceptional Corrosion Resistance

    Compared to other metals, aluminum is naturally corrosion-resistant due to its ability to form a protective oxide layer on its surface. This layer protects the metal from corrosion caused by moisture, chemicals, and other environmental factors. Its corrosion resistance can be further enhanced through various treatments, such as anodizing or painting.

    High Thermal Conductivity

    Thermal conductivity is the ability of a material to transfer heat, and aluminum’s high conductivity allows it to dissipate heat quickly and efficiently. This makes it ideal for applications needing effective heat transfer, such as heat sinks, heat exchangers, and cooling systems. Furthermore, the high thermal conductivity of aluminum makes it easier to weld or solder, reducing the need for additional materials.

    Best Aluminum Grades and Alloys for CNC Machining

    Although aluminum is a popular material for CNC machining, not all are suitable for different applications than others. The following are some of the best grades and alloys to consider:

    • 6061:This is one of the most popular and versatile alloys for CNC machining due to its excellent strength, weldability, and corrosion resistance. It is widely used in automotive parts, structural components, and consumer products.
    • 7075:This high-strength aluminum alloy is ideal for machining applications requiring superior strength. It is commonly used in aerospace, military, and high-stress applications where strength and toughness are critical.
    • 2024: This is perfect for CNC machining projects requiring a good strength-to-weight ratio and high fatigue resistance. It is often employed in aerospace, automotive, and structural applications.
    • 5052:This versatile aluminum alloy is well-suited for applications needing good formability, weldability, and corrosion resistance. It is popular in sheet metal applications, such as automotive parts, marine components, and household appliances.
    • 5083:This marine-grade alloy offers excellent corrosion resistance, high strength, and weldability. It is used in marine applications such as boat hulls and decks due to its ability to withstand saltwater corrosion.

    Richardson Metals: Your Trusted Partner for Aluminum Machining Services

    At Richardson Metals, we offer you the flexibility and capability to receive finished aluminum parts in-house with our state-of-the-art CNC machining centers! Our machining capabilities enable us to reduce the required setups, providing you with lower-cost parts and faster delivery times.

    Contact us for more information, or request a quote today!

  5. Understanding the Different Types of Aluminum Enclosures

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    Aluminum offers numerous advantages; it is lightweight, durable, corrosion-resistant, and has excellent heat dissipation properties. This makes it an ideal choice for a wide range of applications. For example, aluminum enclosures are versatile options for housing various electronic components. These protective, box-like structures are available in diverse shapes, sizes, and materials. Thus, they can accommodate multiple applications, purposes, environmental conditions, design preferences, and budgets.

    Selecting the correct type of aluminum enclosure is essential for ensuring the longevity and functionality of your electronic devices. This blog will explore aluminum enclosures, their different types, unique features, and applications.

    1. Extruded

    Extruded enclosures are produced by pushing aluminum through a die to obtain a precise shape and profile and are ideal for components with consistent dimensions. Their accurate construction and sleek design make them well-suited for applications such as linear power supplies, amplifiers, and tight control units.

    2. Cast

    Made using casting techniques like die or sand casting, these enclosures offer great strength and durability. Their capacity to handle complex shapes and designs renders them perfect for demanding applications and harsh environments where robust protection is essential. As a result, the impressive resilience of this enclosure has made them popular in industries that require dependable performance and long-lasting solutions.

    3. Sheet Metal

    Metal enclosures are formed by bending and shaping to achieve the desired design from thin aluminum sheets. They are preferred for their lightweight nature, affordability, and ease of customization.

    4. Machined

    Created using sophisticated CNC machining or milling techniques, machined enclosures can be tailored to meet exact dimensions and specifications. This type of enclosure is suitable for applications requiring strict tolerances and exceptional precision. These enclosures provide reliable performance in various industries and are popular for projects requiring high accuracy and durability.

    5. Welded

    These enclosures consist of aluminum parts expertly fused through welding and boast a sturdy and long-lasting structure. They are often the go-to choice for applications that require enhanced strength and rigidity. With their remarkable durability, welded enclosures provide dependable protection and support across various projects.

    6. Enclosures With Integrated Heat Sinks

    Skillfully designed for efficient thermal management, these enclosures with integrated heat sinks feature built-in heat dissipation capabilities to manage the heat produced by electronic components. This maintains a stable temperature within the enclosure, promoting optimal performance and extended lifespan.

    7. Modular

    Composed of adjustable and swappable segments, these enclosures provide remarkable versatility in terms of customization. Modular enclosures are ideally suited for projects with dynamic requirements or those anticipating future growth, ensuring seamless adaptability and scalability as needed.

    8. Waterproof

    Waterproof aluminum enclosures deliver exceptional protection against moisture and water ingress. They are designed to withstand harsh outdoor or damp environments, ensuring the safety and longevity of sensitive electronic components.

    Waterproof enclosures robust construction also provides a reliable barrier against water damage and offers resistance to corrosion and other environmental factors. As a result, they are an excellent choice for projects requiring durable and secure housing solutions in challenging conditions.

    Richardson Metals: Your Aluminum Enclosure Specialist

    Are you ready to take your electronic device protection to the next level with the ideal aluminum enclosure solution? Look no further than Richardson Metals! Our team of seasoned experts is dedicated to helping you find the perfect enclosure for your specific needs and applications.

    Contact us to discuss your project requirements and explore our extensive range of premium aluminum enclosures. You may also request a quote to kick-start your collaboration with industry-leading professionals!

  6. How To Get Your Custom Aluminum Extrusions Right

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    Aluminum extrusions are highly versatile and offer numerous advantages over traditional metalworking techniques. They involve pushing or pulling an aluminum billet or log through a die to create a specific shape or profile. The extruded aluminum can then be cut to any desired length and processed through various finishing options.

    Custom aluminum extrusions allow manufacturers to create unique and complex shapes and profiles that meet their needs. As a result, they are used in a wide range of industries, including construction, automotive, aerospace, and electronics.

    This article will provide a step-by-step guide on how to get your custom aluminum extrusions right.

    Step 1: Identify Your Design Requirements

    Before you start the process, you need to identify the design requirements for your custom aluminum extrusions. This includes the dimensions, shapes, and any special features required for your project. During this phase, it’s important to work closely with your engineering team to ensure that your design meets the specific requirements of your application.

    Step 2: Choose the Right Aluminum Alloy

    Different alloys have different properties, such as strength, corrosion resistance, and thermal conductivity. Choose an alloy that meets your project’s demands, and consider factors such as the intended application, expected loads, and desired lifespan.

    Step 3: Select the Right Extrusion Manufacturer

    Look for a manufacturer with a proven track record of delivering high-quality custom extrusions. You may survey the company expertise, production capabilities, and quality control processes.

    Step 4: Work With the Manufacturer on Tooling Design

    A well-designed tooling can help reduce lead times, minimize waste, and improve the overall quality of the extruded profiles. Thus, make sure to work closely with the manufacturer on the tooling design. Consider also the complexity of the profile and the desired production volume.

    Step 5: Understand the Extrusion Process

    Familiarizing yourself with the extrusion process helps you understand the critical variables that can affect the quality of your components. Here are the key steps in the process:

    Billet Heating

    The heating process makes the aluminum more malleable, allowing it to be extruded without cracking or breaking. The exact temperature for heating the billet depends on the specific alloy used and the die’s shape.

    Die Preparation

    A die is a specially designed metal tool that determines the shape and size of the extruded aluminum. Therefore, it must be carefully designed to ensure that the aluminum flows evenly and that the final extrusion meets the required tolerances.


    The hydraulic press applies pressure to the billet, forcing it through the die and creating the desired shape. Finally, the extruded aluminum emerges from the other side of the die and is cut to the desired length.


    Cooling is essential to ensure that the aluminum retains its shape and strength. Depending on the specific alloy and the complexity of the extrusion, the cooling process can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.

    Step 6: Finish Your Custom Aluminum Extrusions

    Some common finishing options include anodizing, painting, powder coating, and others. Collaborate closely with your manufacturer to select the right finishing option based on your aesthetic and durability requirements.

    Step 7: Implement Quality Control Processes

    Quality control processes include testing and inspection and quality assurance initiatives. These can help identify and address defects or inconsistencies in the extruded profiles.

    Choose Richardson Metals for Reliable Custom Aluminum Extrusions

    Ready to get started on your custom aluminum extrusion project? Richardson Metals is the best choice! With our decades of experience and state-of-the-art facility, we can provide high-quality extrusions and processing services to meet your needs.

    Contact us today to learn more about our capabilities and discuss your project requirements. You can also request a quote to get started on partnering with us.

  7. How To Choose Custom Aluminum Extrusions

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    Initially developed to shape fluid forms in processing raw material, extrusion became one of the most advanced processes in which aluminum is formed into different shapes and sizes. Extruded aluminum offers various advantages for parts and products. For instance, it features natural anti-corrosive properties that can be further enhanced through anodizing and other finishing processes.

    This article aims to help manufacturers who fabricate and use their own parts and components maximize the power of aluminum extrusion design.

    Factors To Consider in Aluminum Extrusion

    The surface-to-volume ratio of aluminum significantly changes throughout the extrusion process. This is achieved by applying compressive forces to the billet using rams, punches, tools, and dies.

    Here are the top factors to consider to manipulate aluminum to create more durable and high-quality extruded components:

    Type of Extrusion Process

    There are two types of extrusion processes: direct and indirect. Direct extrusion is when the ram and the metal flow in the same direction; indirect extrusion is the opposite. A reliable aluminum extrusion provider can easily differentiate which of the two types is advantageous for fabricating a specific component.

    Extrusion Pressure

    The pressure needed to start metal flowing and reduce friction at the interfaces between the billet, die, and the chamber is exceeded by the extrusion pressure. It varies between 800 MPa and 1200 MPa.


    In custom aluminum extrusion, friction between the billet and die, or chamber and die, is crucial. To manage the metal flow and lower the amount of power needed for compression, friction is removed or minimized.

    Die Type and Design

    The elements that form the metal are called dies, and their designs dictate the mechanical operation of the metal during extrusion. Dies for extrusion can be solid, semi-hollow, or hollow.


    Extruding high-strength aluminum alloys calls for lubrication to help the metal as it is distorted as the die and the billet slides up against the chamber. Lubricants used for the process are a mixture of glass powder, graphite, and oil.

    Types of Aluminum Alloys

    Different aluminum alloys call for various extrusion settings, as aluminum alloys are categorized into series according to the primary alloying element. For instance, Alloy 6063 and Alloy 6061 are popular material choices for extruding aluminum alloys because they provide a high-quality finish.


    Extruding aluminum in high temperatures — between 375 °C (705 °F) and 500 °C (932 °F) — is known as “hot extrusion.” High temperatures improve the flow of the metal, resulting in flawless extrudates. However, high-temperature extrusion can be disadvantageous in some applications. Thus, you must work with a manufacturing partner who can advise on the best techniques per project.

    Extrusion Ratio

    The billet and die opening cross-sectional area ratio defines the extrusion ratio. Larger deformation results from a higher extrusion ratio. Therefore, a higher pressure must be applied to the aluminum material to decrease the ratio.

    Extrusion Speed

    Extrusion speed is defined as how quickly metal passes through the die. The extrusion speed should be balanced to keep the metal at the proper temperature. For example, high extrusion pressures are needed for faster extrusion speeds, which raise exit temperatures. On the other hand, slower speeds give the temperature plenty of opportunity to flow and disperse.

    Billet Length

    The length, shape, and extrusion ratio of the extrudate are constrained for a given billet diameter by the billet length. Additionally, the billet length impacts the necessary extrusion pressure, as the needed extrusion pressure increases with billet length.

    Quality Custom Aluminum Extrusions With Richardson Metals

    Richardson Metals has provided high-quality and reliable custom aluminum extrusions to various industries since 1980! We prioritize low to medium-production runs with a focus on delivery and customer care.

    Contact us today to start working with your aluminum extrusion needs!

  8. What To Look For in Aluminum Machining Services

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    Aluminum machining involves cutting, shaping, and forming aluminum to create precise and accurate parts and components. This process has become increasingly popular in recent years due to the material’s many benefits. Its advantages include high strength and machinability, hardness, corrosion resistance, electrical conductivity, heat tolerance, low cost, and overall versatility.

    To fully leverage aluminum machining, companies and businesses need to understand the key considerations that can impact the quality and efficiency of this process. This article aims to provide insights into factors to remember when selecting an aluminum machining service provider.

    Key Considerations in Choosing the Right Aluminum Machining Services

    Here are things to look for when selecting the right aluminum machining partner to produce precision aluminum components and streamline your business operations:

    Production Quality

    An aluminum machining provider’s quality of work helps businesses get more durable components and boost their reputation among customers. Some factors to look at include precision, accuracy, and attention to detail. Thus, it’s best to look at examples of the company’s previous work or ask for references to get an idea of their level of expertise and specialization.

    Modern Equipment and Technology

    A reliable and ideal aluminum machining partner would have cutting-edge technology, software, and programming tools. This will ensure that the work is done quickly and efficiently, with minimal to zero errors.

    Fast-Paced Production

    Accurate lead time estimates are crucial for effective planning and scheduling. It also allows businesses to allocate resources efficiently and make solid commitments to customers. Look for a company that can set clear expectations and provides fast turnaround times without sacrificing quality.

    Manufacturing Capacity

    Businesses that can produce or acquire high-quality components faster gain a competitive advantage over overtaking competitors in the market. When looking for an aluminum machining service provider, work with one that can handle both low- and high-volume orders. They must also have sufficient equipment and staffing to take on custom jobs.

    Competitive Pricing

    Look for a manufacturer that offers affordable prices while maintaining the quality of your desired outcome. However, it’s vital to remember that the cheapest choice is often not the most cost-effective option. Thus, find a partner that can strike a balance between affordability and high-quality services.

    Responsive Customer Service

    The company you work with should be ready to answer any inquiries and update you on the project’s status. A robust customer service system also ensures that any issues that may arise during production are quickly and efficie.

    Streamline Your Aluminum Machining Process With Richardson Metals

    Selecting the best aluminum machining service can help you out in a competitive market. It allows you to develop unique parts and components and adapt to specific demands and specifications. As such, it’s essential to understand the important factors mentioned above when selecting an aluminum machining provider to partner with.

    Partner with Richardson Metals for all your aluminum machining needs! We have an experienced Sales/Engineering team that can address all your needs and specifications. We also have in-house 3-axis and 4-axis machining centers for quick and economical solutions for your prototyping or production requirements. Take advantage of our multi-axis capabilities to reduce costs and improve delivery times!

    Contact us for more information, or request a quote today!

  9. Golden Gate Bridge

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    Since 2021, residents near the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California, have been complaining about a strange humming sound emanating from the world-famous bridge. This peculiar noise is often heard when winds hit the newly-installed railing slats on the west sidewalk from a slightly off-kilter slant.

    The said railing slats were initially established to protect the bridge from damages caused by sustained high winds of up to 100 mph. Engineers have installed these to prevent the Golden Gate Bridge from experiencing the same unfortunate fate as Washington’s Tacoma Narrows Bridge, which collapsed in 1940 — shortly after it was built — due to strong winds.

    Existing Structural Specifications

    Golden Gate Bridge could originally withstand a maximum of 69.34 mph sustained wind speed. However, it had been repetitively shut down due to powerful winds gusting from 69 mph to 75 mph in 1951, 1982, and 1983. While there has been no damage in the past 84 years, engineers developed new railing systems to help the Golden Gate Bridge endure a maximum of 100 mph wind speed, which is estimated to happen every 10,000 years.

    However, since residents have been complaining about the humming sound from the bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge District is implementing new designs to minimize the sound from the bridge’s vibration by 75%. Richardson Metals is working with the Golden Gate Project team to develop solutions to reduce or eradicate the sounds that occur during high wind events with our aluminum extrusion.

    Proposed Design

    To eliminate the Golden Gate Bridge’s humming sound, engineers and leading bridge aerodynamics and acoustics experts have proposed to install thin, U-shaped clips affixed to both edges of all 12,000 vertical slats on the west railing. Thin rubbers will be inserted in these 1/8” thick 6061 aluminum extrusion clips to dampen the vibrations contributing to the bridge’s sound.

    Through these clips, “vortex shredding” — the result of small vibrations in the air — will be minimized as they will lightly disrupt airflow as it passes over each slat. In addition, the clips will cover the slats from top to bottom and be painted in the Golden Gate Bridge’s famous International Orange to make it invisible to most bridge users.

    Engineers and bridge experts guarantee that this new installation will not negatively impact Golen Gate Bridge’s architecture. The project is expected to be complete by the end of 2022.

    Richardson Metals Aluminum Extrusion

    The Golden Gate Bridge project utilizes one of Richardson Metals’ most popular grades of aluminum — aluminum 6061. This aluminum extrusion offers good strength, weldability, machinability, and formability, making it a popular choice for numerous applications.

    Richardson Metals’ aluminum extrusion is an immensely versatile manufacturing process that produces many components that can be used for various purposes. Aside from aluminum 6061, we also offer aluminum 6063, which provides the finest combination of extrudability, strength, and high surface finishing attributes.

    Our products may be applied in the following industries:

    • Aerospace and military
    • Construction
    • Electronics
    • Medical
    • Sports and recreation
    • Telecommunications

    Since 1980, the Richardson Metals team has been true to our commitment to delivering high-quality custom aluminum extrusions to our consumers. We focus on low to medium production runs and offer the following capabilities:

    • 4-1/2” diameter press — parts must fit within a 4” diameter circle and weigh less than 2.5 #/ft.
    • 550-ton RAM press
    • Thicknesses as low as 0.020” and tolerances as low as ± .005” if required

    We can also extrude the following shapes for our aluminum extrusions:

    • Solid shapes
    • Hollow shapes
    • Semi-hollow shapes
    • Rod/Bar
    • Tubing
    • Custom shapes

    Contact us to learn more about our products! Our dedicated team will be delighted to assist you. You may also request a quote for your custom projects.

  10. Temper Designations for Aluminum

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    Aluminum is popular for various applications due to its lightweight, strength, and corrosion resistance. The mechanical properties of aluminum can be altered using several processes, including work hardening and adding alloying elements; however, one of the most common ways of altering certain grades of aluminum is through tempering.

    Since the tempering process can have such a significant effect on aluminum alloys, it’s crucial to understand the various aluminum temper designations and what they mean. This is critical in ensuring you choose the correct material and preventing failures or fractures.

    What Are Temper Designations for Aluminum?

    Aluminum temper designations denote the tempering treatment of aluminum using a string of alphanumeric characters. The marking follows the alloy designation and a dash, such as 6061-T6, indicating the aluminum alloy “6061,” followed by the tempering designation “T6”. When searching for an application-specific material, it is critical to determine the temper designation. Aluminum tempering is indicated by the following primary designations:

    • H: Strain hardened
    • T: Thermally treated
    • F: As fabricated
    • O: Annealed

    The number that follows the letter indicates how the manufacturer performed the tempering treatment. For example, T5 and T6 are both thermally treated, but T5 means that the alloy was cooled from a high-heat shaping process and then artificially aged, whereas T6 means it was solution heat treated before being artificially aged.

    Importance of Temper Designations for Aluminum

    Variations in the temper designation inform purchasers about nuances that could significantly affect the alloy’s mechanical properties. The temper of certain alloys can impact the appearance of aluminum after anodizing as well as maximize the mechanical properties of heat-treatable alloys. Many standardizing agencies list the specifications of aluminum casting alloys, but the numbers may not correlate across agencies.

    Common Aluminum Temper Designation Applications

    Several aluminum alloys and temper designations are prevalent throughout various industries. The following temper designation and aluminum alloy combinations are popular in many applications:

    • 2024-T4: Screw machine products, wheels, hardware, fasteners, and aircraft structures
    • 3003-H14: Pipes, pressure vessels, litho sheet, trim, tanks, and equipment for food and chemical handling
    • 5052-H32: Rivets, wire, lighting, appliances, transportation, fuel tanks, and oil and fuel lines in aircraft
    • 6061-T6: Valve parts, valves, appliance fittings, hydraulic pistons, brake pistons, magneto parts, hinge pins, general and decorative hardware, electrical connectors and fittings, marine hardware and fittings, couplings, camera lens mounts, and aircraft fittings
    • 6063-T5: Transportation, irrigation pipes, architectural extrusions, furniture, railings, and pipes
    • 7075-T6: ATV sprockets, defense and aerospace parts, aircraft, keys, worm gears, regulating valve components, missile parts, gears and meter shafts, fuse parts, shafts, and aircraft fittings

    Richardson Metals for Your Tempered Aluminum Needs

    Aluminum tempering designations are critical in understanding the mechanical properties of various aluminum alloys. Knowing these designations ensures you choose the right aluminum alloy for your particular project.

    At Richardson Metals, we specialize in custom aluminum extrusions using grades such as 6061-T4, 6063-T6, and more. With these capabilities, we can meet the needs of various industries including telecommunications, sports and recreation, medical, electronics, construction, aerospace, and military. We have a 550-ton RAM press and can accommodate part sizes with diameters up to 4 inches and thicknesses as small as 0.02 inches with tolerances as low as ± 0.005 inches.

    Learn more about our Custom Aluminum Extrusions today. You can also contact us or request a quote to get started on your aluminum solution.