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Best Aluminum Alloy for Bending That Can Be Heat Treated

Th961605

Plastic
Joined
Sep 7, 2019
I'm currently planning out a job for hanging brackets that involves bending 1/8" thick, 3/4" wide aluminum bar into fairly tight curves (24 degrees with a 1.25" radius). These will need to be really bend resistant after forming, so I'm thinking I'll do a solution-based heat treat after. I know 1xxx, 3xxx, 4xxx, and 5xxx alloys are not heat treatable, which leaves me with 2024 (expensive), 6061 (not good for forming), and some others that only come in very limited formats like angle. This is a large job, so annealing each piece prior to bending isn't an option. I keep coming back to 6063, which is considered highly formable, heat treatable, and inexpensive (~$10 for an 8' bar). I'm still new to this though, so any input would be appreciated (is there a better steel alloy out there that I'm missing?). Finish is the last consideration--I know 6063 is corrosion resistant, and this is for an indoor application, so the cost of powdercoating/annodizing steel would be something that a 6063 wouldn't need.
 
Easy or hard way bend? Either way not a tight bend at all. Almost any al could do this without issue without heat treating. Almost- aluminum sometimes decides to flake, crack, or flour just because it’s Tuesday.
Personally aluminum is nasty to work with in almost every respect.
Just do it in stainless flat bar? Not sheared plate, rolled bar.
Steel, boring a36, maybe only 1018 cr at that size. Cheap, lovely to work with. Cost of powder coating is cheap- really cheap compared to heat treating or looking at aluminum, and you do not have to contaminate your work space with cooties.

I really dislike working in aluminum.

Hard way bend, have them laser cut.
 
That's not a tight bend radius for the thickness of material. You should be able to bend it without any issues.
 
6063 and if it isn't available in the shape/size you need you can get a custom run done with around a 1,000 lb minimum. Since you want a standard size there won't be a die charge.

Heat makes aluminum way more formable if you ever have any problems.
 
Thanks for all of the responses! To paint a better picture, these will essentially be incredibly overbuilt clothes hangers. @gustafson : in terms of bend resistance, I'd like the hook portion to be able to hold 15 pounds (+/-) with little to no bending. Is this possible in 6063 or 5052 without heat treating? While I do like the idea of stainless, I'll also be embossing a pattern onto each bar with a bead roller--possible with stainless? Stainless would honestly be my first choice if I could get it to be stout enough and embossing done. Lastly, would 1/8" steel (even a36 as @memphisjed said) hold this weight without bending? I do like the idea of being able to powdercoat if there's a steel alloy that works.
 
15 or 150 pounds? 15 isn’t even a mosquito for steel.
Embossing is a very different question. @kpotter the reference on this.
If cold emboss you might have to area aneal your bend area if you are cold bending. I would figure this for most metals as embossing is a lot of work imparted into the material.
 
I'm currently planning out a job for hanging brackets that involves bending 1/8" thick, 3/4" wide aluminum bar into fairly tight curves (24 degrees with a 1.25" radius). These will need to be really bend resistant after forming, so I'm thinking I'll do a solution-based heat treat after. I know 1xxx, 3xxx, 4xxx, and 5xxx alloys are not heat treatable, which leaves me with 2024 (expensive), 6061 (not good for forming), and some others that only come in very limited formats like angle. This is a large job, so annealing each piece prior to bending isn't an option. I keep coming back to 6063, which is considered highly formable, heat treatable, and inexpensive (~$10 for an 8' bar). I'm still new to this though, so any input would be appreciated (is there a better steel alloy out there that I'm missing?). Finish is the last consideration--I know 6063 is corrosion resistant, and this is for an indoor application, so the cost of powder-coating/anodizing steel would be something that a 6063 wouldn't need.
A better cost-effective way may be using an emboss around the radius in the part to gain the strength needed. Then the choice of Aluminum would be 5052H32. The finish an Alkali Etch. "This problem is in the design of the bracket and not the material for the bracket".
God Bless, Roger
 
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