About Aluminum Prototype

In the design of products, designers will consider materials that are durable and easy to design, and machining can meet these requirements.

Aluminum metal as a prototyping material is a good choice for manufacturers because of its lightweight and low acquisition price. It can deal with the problem of anti-fatigue tests in prototype manufacturing, and its good processability and malleability can support the needs of designers for multiple revisions.

This article mainly explains the advantages of choosing aluminum prototypes, the manufacturing process, the aluminum grades used for the prototypes, etc. I believe this article can let you understand the aluminum prototype.

Advantages Of Aluminum Prototype

 Reasons to choose an aluminum prototype for your project:

Low Cost

Aluminum metal is easy to obtain and cheap, and its prototyping process is simple, consumes less labor, and has good economic benefits.

Easy To Design

The plasticity and good ductility of aluminum mean that it can cope with the complex shape of the design and give the manufacturer design space.

Conductive Strength

Electrical conductivity is a notable feature of the aluminum prototype. Because of this quality, manufacturers often use aluminum prototypes in the electronics industry.

Fast Heat Dissipation

The production and processing of aluminum prototypes require machinery and equipment for cutting, and the characteristics of fast heat dissipation can reduce the probability of thermal damage to cutting tools.

The Process Of Aluminum Prototype

 

CNC 5-Axis

For manufacturers, 5-axis machining technology is one of the technologies that bring aluminum CNC prototype products to high precision standards. The way that five axes of motion with different angles cut simultaneously are unique to the five-axis technology.

Advantage

1. Efficiency: Five-axis technology is capable of multi-plane cutting of aluminum prototype products, which can shorten the production cycle and improve the efficiency of prototype production.

2. Precision: The technology’s multi-angle cutting capabilities enable aluminum prototypes to tight tolerances and standard precision.

 Shortcoming

1. Consumption. The five-axis technology takes a long time to design the cutting route and program modification and consumes more materials than other technologies.

2. High cost. In prototyping, the equipment and technicians used in this technology are more professional, resulting in higher overall costs.

 Casting

It is a manufacturing process in which liquid aluminum is melted and poured into a mold designed by the manufacturer to be cooled and formed into a prototype aluminum casting.

 Advantage

1. Affordable. The casting prototype process produces a physical mold through design, and the material used in the manufacturing process is less, so the cost is lower.

2. Diversity. Casting is suitable where fabrication geometries are required, especially cavity designs for prototypes.

 Shortcoming

1. Accuracy. Compared with CNC five-axis and milling machining processes, the precision of the prototype products produced by casting is lower. If you want high-precision products, you may need to consider this.

2. Surface finish. The casting process is simple, and its prototype product may have a lower finish. There are requirements on the surface that require elaborate surface treatment.

 Die Casting

It is the technique of making aluminum die-cast prototypes under high-pressure clamps using steel molds. The difference from casting is that it uses an injection to inject the aluminum solution into the mold.

 Advantage

1. Surface finish. Die-casting technology enables the surface of aluminum prototype products to have a smooth appearance without secondary treatment.

2. High efficiency. This technology can be used for repeated production with consistent quality, meeting the requirements of mass production.

 Shortcoming

1. Limited production. The cost of mold making is high, and the number of prototype modifications is limited.

2. Limited design. Die casting is only suitable for simple prototype mold making, and complex shape design poses challenges.

Rapid Prototyping

Manufacturers usually choose this technology to meet the needs of rapid product production and timely response to problems in prototyping.

Advantage

1. fastly. The biggest advantage of rapid prototyping is that it can be produced quickly and can meet urgent production requirements.

2. High benefit. This technology can allow multiple modifications by the designer, and the modification cost is lower than that of casting and five-axis technology.

 Shortcoming

1. Size restrictions. Rapid prototyping equipment is limited in size, and for large-scale prototype product creation, it is necessary to use a divisional design or specific equipment.

2. Surface finish. Compared to sheet metal or die-casting techniques, the surfaces produced by rapid prototyping techniques are not as smooth and may have burrs or blemishes that require additional surface preparation.

Extrusion

Extrusion technology enables aluminum extrusion to create challenging cross-sections, and the manufacturing capabilities of its equipment allow for high-volume production.

 Advantage

1. Consistency. Extrusion enables volume prototyping with consistent precision and high productivity.

2. Surface Finish. Extruded aluminum prototypes can have a surface finish that requires no additional treatment.

 Shortcoming

1. Size restrictions. The aluminum bar stock or sheet stock used to create the prototype has a specified range of dimensions beyond which it may be detrimental to forming or machining the assembly.

2. Material restrictions. Extrusion is challenging for certain aluminum alloy species.

 Aluminum Grades of Aluminum Prototype

 

 Aluminum 6061:

Advantages: better weldability and low cost.

Disadvantages: lower strength than other alloys

Aluminum 6063:

Advantages: corrosion resistance, high surface finish

Disadvantages: Difficult to weld

Aluminum 6082:

Advantages: good machinability and corrosion resistance

Disadvantages: high cost

Aluminum 2024:

Advantages: better fatigue resistance and machinability

Disadvantages: Its corrosion resistance is poor

Aluminum 7075:

Advantages: high strength, good fatigue resistance, good machinability, good corrosion resistance, can be anodized

Disadvantage: Its acquisition cost is high

Aluminum 5052:

Advantages: good corrosion resistance, good formability, good weldability, low cost

Disadvantages: poor machinability

Surface Treatment Of Aluminum Prototypes

Deburring

It is a treatment process to remove sharp burrs on the surface or edges. Burrs are removed by polishing or grinding.

Anodizing

The surface treatment process of adding an oxide layer to the aluminum surface is anodic oxidation. It is soaked in an electrolytic solution and enhanced current to improve its corrosion resistance characteristics.

Nickel Plated

It is a surface treatment process that increases the nickel layer by electroplating on the surface of the metal prototype, which can improve the wear resistance of the prototype surface.

Sandblasting

It is a surface treatment process that uses high-pressure sprayed particles for decontamination or aesthetics. Prototype surfaces can be matted using this process.

Powder Coating

It is a process in which the surface of a metal prototype is powder coated and cured to provide a scuff-resistant finish.

Conclusion

 The advantages of aluminum prototyping are evident in many prototyping projects. In the face of aluminum prototyping, you should choose the appropriate technology and material from the actual situation, which is very important for your budget and application requirements. Tirapid are Aluminum Prototyping Specialists, Request a Quote Today!

FAQs

Which grades of aluminum metal are suitable for aluminum prototyping?

There are many grades of aluminum that are suitable for prototyping, such as Aluminum 6061, Aluminum 6082, and Aluminum 2024.

We need to note that the metal grade needs to match the actual situation of your project because this can make the advantages of aluminum metal play a role in prototyping.

How to ensure the accuracy of aluminum prototyping?

In the machining of product design and production, Tirapid experts will strictly inspect the product through timely proofreading or surface treatment to ensure that the accuracy meets strict tolerance standards.

What do you need to pay attention to in aluminum prototyping?

Every step of prototyping, including design, material selection, and production technology, must be carefully selected and considered to make the prototype product meet the design requirements.

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