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Advice on how to make 6063 Aluminum frames

gr8legs

Active User
H-M Platinum Supporter
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Oct 31, 2014
Messages
326
Hi all,

Current project is to make some 18" x 24" rectangular 'picture frames' or "shadow boxes" out of 3/4" x 3/4" x 0.0625" T6063 aluminum angle.

My first pass, trying to do it with one continuous piece of stock: Cut angle to length (84 inches) and then notch out 90 degrees at 18" and 24" corner locations, then bend the corners on the finger brake to form a rectangle, then TIG the corners and voila! - a frame.

Well, not quite. When I bend the corners at the miter locations the notches close up before I get to 90 degrees - more like 80 degree angles. The thickness of the material makes the bend radius a bit wonky. So I tried double notching the material, making the notch a bit wider to compensate for the thickness of the stock. That sorta worked but I couldn't repeat the notch width reliably nor figure out where to start each bend relative to the notch to get it to be 18 x 24 accurately. I am also having trouble cutting the two ends properly square so they fitup well for welding. Tinsnips work but it's like the ends are gnawed rather than cut.

So, question 1: What am I doing wrong?

Question 2: Would it be better ( i.e. less crazy-making) to angle / miter saw the material (6063 is pretty gummy) into 4 pieces and weld instead of the described one-piece method? If so, what sort of saw / blade combination would work?

I realize, in reading the above, that I should add some pictures as it is not really clear from my description what I want to do or what's going wrong. It's late and I'll post this and see what happens, then add some photos tomorrow once the questions start.

Thank you and Good night !

Stu
 

MontanaLon

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Mar 15, 2019
Messages
666
The width of the V notch at the bottom needs a flat roughly 3 times as wide as the stock that is bendin is thick. So it ends up looking like this \_/ instead of a pointed V.

So for .0625 you are looking at .19 wide. That is assuming you cut the V so it does not intrude into the stock thickness that is bending. I did roughly the same thing making a go kart frame with angle iron. I am not sure it was worth it though as we ended up putting gussets in the corners to give the frame rigidity. It would bend and twist terribly without stiffeners. Not likely a worry in a frame for a shadow box.
 

Tinkertoy1941

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May 10, 2012
Messages
137
Watch this Youtube on propane torch and this aluminum rod 1573740004895.png
 

matthewsx

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Jan 2, 2019
Messages
1,682
Since you're already going to tig weld I would just miter cut the pieces to size and weld. A bandsaw should be able to do nice clean cuts, or hacksaw by hand if you're only doing a few.

1ohn
 

brino

Confirmed Tool User
H-M Lifetime Diamond Member
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Jan 2, 2014
Messages
4,780
I've cut aluminum angle with my regular chop-saw with regular carbide tipped blade.
Of course you can also buy blades meant for metals too.
-brino
 

WarrenP

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Registered
Joined
Feb 25, 2018
Messages
219
I vote for cutting the prices separately and welding them together. When I worked for a skylight company that's how we did the aluminum frames. If you have a chop saw you can get aluminum cutting blades, if not I spose a hack saw will do it.
 
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