A great many things that we use in our everyday life are made from aluminum, and many of those things are actually made from the aluminum extrusion process. Aluminum extrusion is a fairly simple process that allows aluminum to be formed into a great variety of shapes. Aluminum extrusion shapes can be long, continuous pieces or short, precision-cut pieces.
How Aluminum Extrusion Works
To make aluminum extrusion shapes, a large lump of aluminum called a billet is heated and placed under extreme pressure. The malleable aluminum is then forced through a shape called a die, and the aluminum that emerges on the other end will retain the shape of the die. It’s kind of like squeezing toothpaste out of a tube – the toothpaste emerges in a long line the exact diameter and shape of the tube opening. The difference is that with aluminum extrusion the opening might be shaped like a gutter, a box or virtually any other shape you want the aluminum to look like, as long as you can make or get a die in the shape that you want.
Long Extruded Aluminum Shapes
One of the tremendous advantages of aluminum extrusion is that you are able to make long shapes without seams. This makes them more structurally sound and less likely to leak when holding a liquid (or gas). Basically, the only limitation to the length of a piece that you can make through extrusion is how much material you have and how much space you have in which to work. Some popular long aluminum extrusion shapes include gutters, troughs, and even pipes and ductwork.
Short Extruded Aluminum Shapes
When a piece of aluminum is extruded, it maintains the exact same cross section throughout the length of the piece. This means that a long extruded piece could be cut into many smaller pieces that will be absolutely identical. This method of creating a aluminum parts is very popular for small, intricate pieces like Z-clips, brackets and cookie-cutters. Some ornamental pieces and artwork are even made through aluminum extrusion. Some short pieces cut from extruded aluminum can be quite tiny, and in those cases quite a large number of pieces can be made from a single extrusion.
Regardless of the aluminum extrusion shapes you have in mind, Howard Precision Metals can make them for you. Visit Howardprecision.com to find out about the wide range of extrusion and plate products available.