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Old 04-30-2013, 01:51 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by BillG.OTD View Post
I don't know...500 lbs is quite a bit if your stuck on a rock... They make most items in aluminum...I have alloy rims, aluminum engine skid, fenders, gas tank skid, antirock arms (bling ) rock rails (steel and aluminum) and soon to be corners...I also have to believe that the lighter weight gives your components an easier time...which rig will more likely break an axle or U joint etc. and how about our poor engines? If you sub all those parts out for steel than you add a lot more weight...Like Blaine said, not too many going from aluminum back to steel...
500 lbs was maybe a little bit of an exaggeration. I did mention less weight would climb better but I didn't feel it would be that much of a difference. Do yo feel your Jeep is more capable CLIMBING or rock crawling when you don't have the weight of a passenger? Don't get me wrong I went with an Aluminum Savvy gas tank skid to minimize weight in the rear. I don't have the urge to get an aluminum engine or transfer case skid because I feel the extra weight of the steel centered down low would be more beneficial in off camber situations.

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Old 04-30-2013, 03:19 PM   #32
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Here is a page from Genright on how much weight you can save.
Aluminum vs. Steel

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Old 04-30-2013, 03:54 PM   #33
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I would argue that, but I am sure that it comes down to the manufacturer building the products. I dont know what savvy has available for the JK platform, but I know for the TJ/LJ there is a lot...and it has all made a good name for itself.

For example, gerald and john currie built their EMC jeep for KOH and won two years in a row. If I am not mistaken, all of the armor (other than the original defender tube fenders) were savvy aluminum.

I think people think that all aluminum is equal...which in most cases probably would result in poor armor. So if you were going to compare the strength of a savvy full aluminum corner to a steel full aluminum corner...the steel would be stronger without a doubt. The key point is at what point does steel become stronger? For example, if it takes 10,000 psi to bend the aluminium (random numbers) and 15,000 psi to bend the steel...yes steel is stronger, but will your rig EVER be exposed to forces great enough to bend the aluminum?
Savvy unfortunately doesn't make anything for JK's, so my only real option is Genright. I do really like their front stubby bumper and it is available in aluminum and steel.

Even though someone else reported it and I don't know it to be fact: When he asked about aluminum for rock crawling, they told him to get the steel. Why would they turn down the +$100 if if wasn't an issue?

Another factor in choosing steel vs aluminum: Especially if it's a daily driver, you have to think about how a bumper would hold up in a traffic accident. Sure, my main concern is for wheeling. Having a family (as do you) I have to consider what I think may save my life.

Just the fact that it's questionable is enough for me to want steel. I am in fact a gambler, but see no reason to take a chance on aluminum.

Maybe for skids and some other items it makes sense (even though I already have Evo steel skids). I just don't want to gamble with aluminum and wonder if I'm wrong.

Another factor for me, is if aluminum could be engineered to be as strong, why aren't more companies making aluminum armor?
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:44 PM   #34
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Hi Rick
My wife worked for Jaguar for 30+ years. They have used Aluminum bumper beams for a long time Like since 1975 on the XJ models. They had a beam covered by a sheet metal cover.
Here is an older report from Alcan. A Euro MFG of bumper and door beams for the auto industry.

Alcan's Aluminum Bumpers Help Opel Put Safety Front and Centre on its New Astra. - Free Online Library

BTW I am not saying they are safer as a replacement for a steel one. I am only talking about trail performance here. The Jeep comes with a crush zone design and I have no idea of how an aluminum or steel replacement would affect it in a crash.
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Old 04-30-2013, 04:55 PM   #35
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500 lbs was maybe a little bit of an exaggeration. I did mention less weight would climb better but I didn't feel it would be that much of a difference. Do yo feel your Jeep is more capable CLIMBING or rock crawling when you don't have the weight of a passenger? Don't get me wrong I went with an Aluminum Savvy gas tank skid to minimize weight in the rear. I don't have the urge to get an aluminum engine or transfer case skid because I feel the extra weight of the steel centered down low would be more beneficial in off camber situations.
When you look at an overall build, your not off by that much....it adds up depending on what you do. I feel that weight is a factor depending on the situation. If something is easy to climb, you would climb it 500lbs heavier or lighter either way...But if you are climbing or doing anything where your jeep is working its hardest, than yes that weight will make a difference. I understand what you mean about lowering your center of gravity, but I don't think that a skid plate of steel over aluminum will change it that much. Its when you get into the hardtop weight and that overhead rack stuff when you start getting top heavy...
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:09 PM   #36
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Sure. 35" Tire carrier and 10 gallons of gas with a Hilift on the back that is all hanging way way out behind and above the rear axle. Thats about 250 hanging out there. 80 or 90 for the bumper, 80 for the tire 80 for the gas and 15 for the Hi Lift.
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:14 PM   #37
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Savvy unfortunately doesn't make anything for JK's, so my only real option is Genright. I do really like their front stubby bumper and it is available in aluminum and steel.

Even though someone else reported it and I don't know it to be fact: When he asked about aluminum for rock crawling, they told him to get the steel. Why would they turn down the +$100 if if wasn't an issue?

Another factor in choosing steel vs aluminum: Especially if it's a daily driver, you have to think about how a bumper would hold up in a traffic accident. Sure, my main concern is for wheeling. Having a family (as do you) I have to consider what I think may save my life.

Just the fact that it's questionable is enough for me to want steel. I am in fact a gambler, but see no reason to take a chance on aluminum.

Maybe for skids and some other items it makes sense (even though I already have Evo steel skids). I just don't want to gamble with aluminum and wonder if I'm wrong.

Another factor for me, is if aluminum could be engineered to be as strong, why aren't more companies making aluminum armor?

I don't know about crash comparisons, these companies are making off road products and that is the application. Why aren't more companies make aluminum products?? They are and have been! All of the off road companies I see are going to aluminum products. You say armor, so I'm not sure what Armor you mean, but belly skid, corner armor, bumper etc are all available in Aluminum. The rock rails probably take the most abuse on a jeep and I wouldn't buy them in aluminum, mine are aluminum tub mounted with a steel step / slider over it. Aluminum also comes in different types 6061, 7075 etc. and it may be more difficult to work with than steel..
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:08 PM   #38
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There's way to many variables to this topic ...but for me I'll stick with steel from the rockers down and aluminum everywhere else ....for the type of wheelin I do its not the pressures that bent the skids ...its not how it holds up the a bullet its the constant bump & grind that I face....and if one can't make an obstacle it usually do to a lack of wheelbase, tire size, articulation or gear reduction ....

Bob...do u remember my buddy Trent's Yota....it had all four of those and it went right up the Gatekeeper in Calico....do u think that rig was build with weight in mind...
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:10 PM   #39
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500 lbs was maybe a little bit of an exaggeration. I did mention less weight would climb better but I didn't feel it would be that much of a difference. Do yo feel your Jeep is more capable CLIMBING or rock crawling when you don't have the weight of a passenger? Don't get me wrong I went with an Aluminum Savvy gas tank skid to minimize weight in the rear. I don't have the urge to get an aluminum engine or transfer case skid because I feel the extra weight of the steel centered down low would be more beneficial in off camber situations.
I can tell you that I did notice a difference when I added all the tools,spares,camp chairs,and cooler to the back. The shocks wouldn't control the rear end like it did unloaded and it tended to spin more climbing loose stuff.
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Old 04-30-2013, 06:39 PM   #40
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I can tell you that I did notice a difference when I added all the tools,spares,camp chairs,and cooler to the back. The shocks wouldn't control the rear end like it did unloaded and it tended to spin more climbing loose stuff.
take your foot off the skinny pedal and let'er crawl

I have subscribed. Interesting topic.
I try to keep as much weight as low as I can get it.
Mine is my DD so I take everything off of her that I can to get better MPG. The backend is about 2" higher with everything off, spare tire, rear seat, high lift, doors, top, tools.
I hit a boulder up wheelin last year, didn't turn fast enough and with my steel bumper we actually bounced off of the boulder. Dust flying every where. Checked it out later and it had only scratched the powder coating a little bit. I don't know if aluminum would have held up.
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:40 PM   #41
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I have an auto so when idle speed won't do I try to just massage it. But in decomposed granite or loose shale it spins pretty easy if I'm on a ledge. I have the 4 to1 and 4.88's. But I'm still learning off road. It's way different than blacktop racing.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:25 PM   #42
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There's way to many variables to this topic ...but for me I'll stick with steel from the rockers down and aluminum everywhere else ....for the type of wheelin I do its not the pressures that bent the skids ...its not how it holds up the a bullet its the constant bump & grind that I face....and if one can't make an obstacle it usually do to a lack of wheelbase, tire size, articulation or gear reduction ....

Bob...do u remember my buddy Trent's Yota....it had all four of those and it went right up the Gatekeeper in Calico....do u think his rig was build with weight in mind...
Although it does seem purdy well balanced though..
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:24 PM   #43
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Sure I agree. Steel is stronger than aluminum if your talking impact resistance. 3/16 steel plate is going to be more resistant to a bullet than 3/16 aluminum plate. Same with a rock hit. But if you can hit the steel with a 308 and the aluminum with a 243 then maybe they come out closer. Thats my point. If we lighten the rigs it takes a softer hit on a rock due to less inertia. But can we lighten them enough. Is 500 lbs enough to make a difference. I would bet it is on axles and suspension. As far as taking a hit. All the pro Beadlock wheels are alloy. They take a huge beating.
I don't think this will go as you wanted it to. Far too little understanding, far too many closed minds.
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Old 04-30-2013, 10:26 PM   #44
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Another factor for me, is if aluminum could be engineered to be as strong, why aren't more companies making aluminum armor?
We had a very difficult time getting 6061 T6 for our products a few years back. Why? The military was sucking it all up for up armoring several of their vehicle lines.
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:38 PM   #45
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I do not worry about weight and I have not been at a disadvantage on the rocks, in my rig. At least i dont think so what are signs of being over weight? The AEV diff skid I installed is beefy, heavy but nice, for the $$ I would be beefing up steering components and going 37's instead of going aluminum.
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Old 05-01-2013, 12:55 AM   #46
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Although it does seem purdy well balanced though..
I did see the pictures of him when he tried the gatekeeper. While it is hard to tell my guess is that it is a 4 banger with a lot of gear in it, bigger tires and axles to hold it and not much else. How would that same rig do if you added another thousand pounds with a 700 pound 6 cyl lump and a 250 pound auto trans. I would think he would have to work harder to get the grip he has now. The Comp rock crawlers I see are mostly lightweight tube buggys. Light and agile. Remember I am talking grip right now. I may not be right in this just throwing it out there for discussion. My guess is there are guys on both sides. Your rig is built to be pounded on and bring you home day after day. What would you do if you could spend other peoples money on it. How would you improve it's performance as far as weight is concerned. Would you buy the beefiest axles and trans. I would. But I would also try to reduce the weight I just added somehow. It's hard for me to give up on a lightweight rig just because it is what I have always strived for.
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Old 05-01-2013, 01:22 AM   #47
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I don't think this will go as you wanted it to. Far too little understanding, far too many closed minds.
As long as it stays polite it's doing what I hoped it would. There are going to be people on both sides and sometimes you just have to agree to disagree and then go wheeling together. I don't have to make a point of winning. I'm bench racing with friends. You win races, Rox wheels hard and comes home under his own power. Both of you are winners in my book and I can learn from both sides of the equation. I can show you empirical data that all else being equal a lighter drag race car will accelerate,change direction and stop quicker than a heavy one. And it will hurt less parts in the process. They have not done that kind of testing in the dirt. Simple to do but I have never seen it done on a dirt rig. Heck I would do the testing if I could come up with the test parameters everyone would accept. I have the necessary incline and G Meters as well as GPS accelerometers, lazer thermal probes and what not. How about some ideas here guys. Timed hill climbs, weight sled pull, crawl time up a sandy rock slope. How many pounds difference to make it worthwhile. I can video the tests and then post them. Sounds like fun. A bit of time to rig the meters and cameras. A weekend wheeling with a pretty stock rig, MINE, and then we can tell does weight improve traction and climb or hurt it.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:07 AM   #48
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Well bang for your buck its hard to beat the strength of steel. Its Cheap, easy to weld,mod,and can take a hell of a beating.

All that being said im with you Bob in trying to give my rig some diet pills. With my 4cyl and my steel oil pan skid, steel rims,steel rockers, and my steel spare tire/jerry can carrier i feel like my jeep has slowly become less nimble. And I am seriously feeling the power/torque to weight ratio.

So much so that im ditching the carrier all together and from here on out starting to go aluminum. And if I don't need it its coming off lol.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:18 AM   #49
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Well right now I am working a trade on a Factory soft top for my hard top. Thats a few pounds. Then the Body Armor rear bumper with Gerry Cans goes next. The spare is going inside on the floor and the High lift on the monkey bars.That ought to knock close to 200 off the back and top. When I use to race we looked for ounces. 16 of them is a pound. I drilled hollow so many body bolts for weight and chassis bolts for safety wire.
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Old 05-01-2013, 02:29 AM   #50
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Yup im thinking the same thing for the spare. Not only is it a ton of weight hanging of the jeep but it kills my rear departure angle as well. Plus on the road it rattles here and there so off it goes. However I still may need more than a few ounces cut lol.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:19 AM   #51
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I did see the pictures of him when he tried the gatekeeper. While it is hard to tell my guess is that it is a 4 banger with a lot of gear in it, bigger tires and axles to hold it and not much else. How would that same rig do if you added another thousand pounds with a 700 pound 6 cyl lump and a 250 pound auto trans. I would think he would have to work harder to get the grip he has now. The Comp rock crawlers I see are mostly lightweight tube buggys. Light and agile. Remember I am talking grip right now. I may not be right in this just throwing it out there for discussion. My guess is there are guys on both sides. Your rig is built to be pounded on and bring you home day after day. What would you do if you could spend other peoples money on it. How would you improve it's performance as far as weight is concerned. Would you buy the beefiest axles and trans. I would. But I would also try to reduce the weight I just added somehow. It's hard for me to give up on a lightweight rig just because it is what I have always strived for.
Bob I think ur mistaking the blue Yota at the m&g for Trent's tan Yota that u saw give Lori a ride in up the gatekeeper that October ....
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:27 AM   #52
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Bob I think ur mistaking the blue Yota at the m&g for Trent's tan Yota that u saw give Lori a ride in up the gatekeeper that October ....
And it does have RockWell axles huge military steel 22.5 rims a 4.3 v6 and 700r4 trans with about as heavy-duty suspension u could find on it..
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:38 AM   #53
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We had a very difficult time getting 6061 T6 for our products a few years back. Why? The military was sucking it all up for up armoring several of their vehicle lines.
Blaine I mean no disrespect when I say that I work for the military and spent many years working for the Armor-tec division building ..rebuilding and repairing the armor that goes on r boys rigs that saves they're lives....and I'm very proud to have been a part of that program ....but the only aluminum that's used in those products (at least the one I've worked on and that alot of them) is very then sheets 1/8" used as part of the casing to house the Kevlar, ceramics and other properties that r in the makeup of the armor ...aluminum is not used as as armor as one might take as being implied ...
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:58 AM   #54
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Blaine I mean no disrespect when I say that I work for the military and spent many years working for the Armor-tec division building ..rebuilding and repairing the armor that goes on r boys rigs that saves they're lives....and I'm very proud to have been a part of that program ....but the only aluminum that's used in those products (at least the one I've worked on and that alot of them) is very then sheets 1/8" used as part of the casing to house the Kevlar, ceramics and other properties that r in the makeup of the armor ...aluminum is not used as as armor as one might take as being implied ...
Military Aluminum Armor Plate

New Aluminum Alloy for Armor Plating Makes its Debut

Application and Performance Characteristics of Aluminum Armor Plate for the Hull Construction of Current and Future Military Tactical Vehicles

4 million pounds in 04

Kaiser Aluminum - Kaiser Aluminum Aids Effort To Provide Armor For Military Vehicles

Defense | Aleris International Website

Aluminum Alloys in Military Vehicles and Equipment :: KEY to METALS Articles


No disrespect intended, but the mind, like a parachute functions best when open. The list of aluminum uses in the military as armor and other applications is nearly endless and were I bored with a bit more time, I could toss up a 100 links to articles, material specs, and companies that produce it.

So, like I said, the demand for the aluminum we use to make our products was severely limited a few years ago because the military sucked it all up for armor. (I know a few folks in the industry)
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:30 AM   #55
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Looks like u've provided plenty of reading material for me to read...and I well be reading through it....
I never stated that aluminum isn't used in armor....and that the military didn't aid to the fact that there was a drought of the product ....just that from my professional experiences through my hands on labor with Armatec... aluminum substrate is used in for the most part small applications ....
My mind is open and I love the way it works.....and I'm sure it works very similar to ur's just in this case I have a different opinion on the subject ....
but after all u r a manufacturer of aluminum products and ur passion for them is apparent ...rightly so

Thanx...
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Old 05-01-2013, 09:56 AM   #56
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Steve I do remember that buggy. It is exactly what I am talking about. He had the toughest axles and a torquey V6 with an auto and not a lot more. It was cut into a boat tail if I remember right. That was a sweet rig and he crawled it both up and down like it was a piece of cake. I would classify that as a medium weight buggy. I doubt he would do so well if he added all the junk we carry. Big rear bumpers with gas cans and spare tires hanging off the back. Front bumpers so big they have a zip code. He is a very hard core non competition buggy from my limited knowledge base opinion.
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:09 AM   #57
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Looks like u've provided plenty of reading material for me to read...and I well be reading through it....
I never stated that aluminum isn't used in armor....and that the military didn't aid to the fact that there was a drought of the product ....just that from my professional experiences through my hands on labor with Armatec... aluminum substrate is used in for the most part small applications ....
I dislike passive aggressive responses, so please refrain from doing it with me. You posted your experience as a direct rebuttal to my assertions. However you choose to look at it, that is what you did. Your intent was to diminish my claim of aluminum used in armor, no more, no less.


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My mind is open and I love the way it works.....and I'm sure it works very similar to ur's just in this case I have a different opinion on the subject ....
but after all u r a manufacturer of aluminum products and ur passion for them is apparent ...rightly so

Thanx...
I don't deal much in opinion, I deal in facts.

I'm don't have a passion for being a manufacturer of aluminum products. I have a passion for aluminum based on being around it and using it in ambulances when I used to build them. When I started wheeling in 99, I asked about using aluminum and was told it was ridiculous, it wouldn't work, it was too soft, wasn't strong enough, yadda yadda yadda.

All of that was very contrary to my experiences fabricating and using the stuff so I made myself a skidplate for the belly out of 5/16" thick 6061 in the T6541 temper and went wheeling in JV with it. That was around 01 or so and that very same piece of plate is still under my rig and has been drug over countless rocks in JV.

As you can see, it is holding up as well as steel would and if you will note, the scratches go from the front to the back clearly in defiance of the statements that it won't slide, you will stick in place and get hung up on it.



The biggest disservice we have going on in the industry is the folks who take their steel products and simply substitute aluminum as the material.

It takes a fair bit of knowledge and experience working with aluminum to understand how to work it, pick the material, and then engineer it to work as designed. The biggest giveaway the company is screwing you is to look at the tooling marks. If they are using conventional press brake punch and die sets for a 90° bend it is not 6061 T6. That alloy will break before it goes past 60 with a conventional punch.

For those that are still with us so far, we make an aluminum fairlead mount with a 90° bend at the front with a .375" radius punch. That bend is 14" long in 3/16" 6061 T6 and it takes 30 tons of pressure to air bend it with no coining.

If you look up press brake tonnage charts, they usually use mild steel as the baseline for calculating tonnage for a given die set per foot of bend.

There will be plus and minus factors for different materials and the normal heat treated aluminum alloys use the same tonnage calcs as steel.

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Old 05-01-2013, 10:41 AM   #58
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Blaine I don't think Steve is bashing your experience. He has a different experience using aluminum. This is for us to learn from each other. I would hate for it to get heated before we get to page 3.
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:09 AM   #59
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Blaine I don't think Steve is bashing your experience. He has a different experience using aluminum. This is for us to learn from each other. I would hate for it to get heated before we get to page 3.
That's wasn't Blaine being heated...

I think he was just clearing up assertions made about aluminum in general..
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Old 05-01-2013, 11:14 AM   #60
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LOL I've never seen Blaine heated. When I finally met him he didn't even have his magic hat on or his magic staff. He was a pleasant kinda guy. I just would like this to stay cool. I miss the engine tech forums and building things so this thread is my sand box.

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