Designing and Building with Aluminum T-Slot Extrusion
Designing and building with aluminum t-slot extrusions will produce an end result that is rigid and reliable. It’s well known that t-slot aluminum can be put together fast, and is considered the industrial erector set. With that being said, the overall structural integrity of a project can be significantly improved by selecting the right profile and utilizing the correct joint configuration. Below we have listed some guidelines that will help you create structures to suit your application and environment.
Selecting the Right Profile
All t-slot profiles are not created equal. This doesn’t mean that one is essentially better than the other, it’s just that each one has its own specific use. The majority of profiles can combine with each other by use of steel or aluminum connectors. The reason why there are so many profiles is so that virtually any application can be designed and built. Before choosing a profile, you need to first consider the expected load; the weight your structure must be able to handle. A profile’s rigidity is based on its geometrics and its moment of inertia to surface area ratio. The cross-section area is another key aspect to consider. The cross-section will directly impact the project’s overall weight. The best profiles will have high rigidity and be lightweight. You can see more t-slot technical specifications here.
To determine if a profile meets your design and building needs, it is best to understand at what point a t-slotted bar will start bending (deflection) at a specific load. There are several formulas to calculate deflection for t-slotted aluminum and they are:
- Evenly distributed load with either one end fixed, two ends fixed or two ends supported
- End load centered with either one end fixed, two end fixed or two ends supported
- Variable load with either one end fixed, two ends fixed or two ends supported
The question of strength regarding aluminum t-slot is always based on what it will be used for. The most important thing to keep in mind with any t-slotted aluminum is its maximum load. Always design with the worst-case scenario in mind if you want your structure to survive. For example, if a table you are building is set to stand up to 50lbs, calculate what would happen if a 200lb man were to sit on it.
Selecting Your Joint Configuration
Choosing the right aluminum t-slot extrusion profile is only half the work when designing and building an effective structure. Selecting the right joint configuration can also aid in the rigidity and integrity of the structure. By positioning one bar on top of another with the use of assembly plates is a better approach rather than solely relying on friction. Although, sometimes joint assembly with friction cannot be avoided. In these situations, understanding how much friction is produced from a fastener will help with assembly as well as cost. This is where overdesigning commonly occurs because joint strength is misunderstood. Knowing the capability of the joint figuration can reduce costs because existing assembly plates can be exchanged for more suitable parts.
When constructing three-way joint configurations, take note of friction-only joints and thread a fastener directly into the profile’s end to create a strong connection. By utilizing this type of configuration for three different bars, none of the assembly plates will depend on just friction.
Demanding Applications Require High-Strength Extrusion Systems
With the right extrusion profile and effective joint configuration, the structure’s strength can be greatly improved. For demanding applications, it is important to use high-strength t-slot systems like the series 45 t-slot profiles, or some of the larger t-slot sizes in the 15 series. The correct profile with the proper hardware (L plate/brackets, T plates, etc.) will help to create a heavy-duty structure. Below we have listed a few of our larger and strongest t-slot profiles, best for machine framing that needs to be durable and heavy-duty.
30 Series: E30-6060
45 Series: E45-9090
Elimination of angular misalignment, increased slippage resistance, and structurally sound joints are achieved in properly designed and built high strength systems. These types of systems are used in medium to large-sized assemblies such as robotic enclosures, safety guarding in manufacturing, conveyors, and more.
Aluminum t-slot extrusion frameworks have become a substantial alternative for the industrial landscape as well as in commercial settings. Due to its flexibility, strength, and lightweight capabilities, aluminum t-slot is being used in everything from automation to furniture. It’s also cost-effective and offers fast assembly, which helps in projects with tight budgets and deadlines.
By following the above helpful guidelines, creating an effective aluminum framework will be easily achieved. We hope the above information has helped you learn more about designing and building with t-slotted aluminum extrusion. If you should have any questions about designing and building your next structure, feel free to reach out and let us help you.