Aluminum T-Slot: Getting Started
When getting started with t-slot framing systems, there are several main categories to explore as you progress through your planning and designing. Before you start, the most important thing you can do is understand how your solution will be used and in what application. Knowing that will help you make choices as you choose from the following.
Profiles come in fractional and metric and are available in varying lengths or cut to length for you. Shapes include square, rectangle, radius, and angle.
Extrusion sizes are denoted in their series, so a 10 series is a 1″ x 1″, a 15 series is 1.5″ x 1.5″, and so on. When you get to the 30, 40, and 45 series, these are metric and measure 30 mm, 40 mm, and 45 mm.
Profiles also come anodized in black , and are used for aesthetic purposes or when a project needs added protection against scratching and corrosion.
When purchasing, be sure you are paying close attention to your choice of either fractional or metric because this will also extend to the fasteners and connectors you use.
Fasteners and Connectors
Fasteners and connectors may either be metric or fractional based on the profile you decide on. Understanding the difference between fasteners and connectors is important. In t-slot, these terms are used interchangeably, and there is a lot to choose from, so knowing what they are will be helpful.
It is important to know that some fasteners and connectors require machining, like anchor fasteners and central connectors. Other aspects of fasteners and connectors are adjustability and visibility.
A fastening method will be determined by profile choice, design, the purpose of the structure, and personal preference. Feel free to contact us with any questions about fasteners and connectors; we will be happy to help you.
Panels and Doors
Panel material comes in various types such as:
- Wire Mesh
- Aluminum Composite
- ABS Hair cell
- HDPE (High-Density Poly Ethelene)
You can even forgo the panel choices above and use a thin wood panel in cases of furniture.
Panels come in different thicknesses, colors, and materials which can be used for many different projects. Certain materials will provide certain capabilities such as weather or chemical resistance, optical clarity, machinability, or withstand impact.
Panels are easily transformed from walls into doors with a few pieces of hardware (hinges, handles, and locks). They can be mounted within the t-slot channel or flush to the face of the profile. If choosing to place your panel in the t-slot, be sure to account for extra panel material.
There are various ways to mount panels so that they are secure and do not rattle. Panel stiffeners, blocks, and gaskets will be used to keep panels in place. Depending on the purpose of your structure will determine your mounting option.
Please read our article on T-Slot Panels and Doors to learn more.
There is an endless list of accessories and add-on components that can be incorporated into a t-slot project. Choosing the extras can be overwhelming, but it will be easier if you keep in mind your project’s true function.
Accessories for t-slot can assist with storage, mobility, security, ease of use, and aesthetics. From latches and monitor mounts to handles, hinges, and bins, we can help you design your t-slot project to your exact specifications.
When adding accessories, consider protecting the structure, storage, organization, and managing wires and cables. For example, a work desk can have end caps and t-slot covers to give it a more finished look. Other finishing accessories could include:
- Tread strip
- Grounding terminal
- Rubber bumpers
Frame to floor hardware often falls under the accessory category, but we will handle the topic separately for this article. Frame to floor refers to how a t-slot structure will stand in correlation to the floor. Will it be attached, mobile, or level?
To help with this, there are several frame to floor options that include:
- Leveling feet
- Threaded stems for swivel bases
- Base plates
- Floor brackets
- Antivibration feet
- Caster-rigid or swivel
- Base glides