Testing Aluminum??

trl0219

Newbie
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Messages
67
Location
Wilson, NC
Does anybody know of a way to test aluminum to make sure it is 6061-T6? I bought some 2x2 tubing locally. He had to order it from another supplier because they didn't keep it in stock. I told him it was for an aircraft and my life depended on it. I heard him ask the supplier on the phone three different times to make sure it was 6061-T6. When i received it, it wasn't stamped and he said that stamping is different with each manufacturer, but he was sure it was correct.

Is there a simple test I can do with a tool or any special qualities that the aluminum will have to tell what it is? I would love to know before I go and build a death machine.

Thanks guys,
Tim
 

scottessex

Sling-Wing Pilot
Joined
Nov 12, 2003
Messages
11,154
Location
central, ga
Aircraft
Dominator 582
Total Flight Time
200+
It should be ink stamped 6061t-6 other wise it might be 6063.
I thought that there wee some tests that you could do with acids, but I am not sure
what acids to use.
 

Jetrock

Newbie
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
48
Location
Milwaukee Wisconsin
Aircraft
Building a Sparrow/3drv
Total Flight Time
50 hrs. C-150/About 200 hrs.Gyro.
Tim,
I'm a new guy here but i did some research and found there is a big difference in the hardness of aluminum alloys.
6061-T6 has a brinell hardness of 95
6063 has a brinell hardness of 60
If you can find a hardness tester you can determin the strength of any metal.
A great source for info on this is Online metals.
 

phantom

Newbie
Joined
Apr 1, 2009
Messages
1,417
Location
Eagle River
testing aluminum

testing aluminum

if I have aluminum that is not marked I take a short length, 2 inch or so and some that I know is 6061 t6 and clamp them in a vise or press with a small ball bearing seperating them, apply pressure, if the indentations are the same it is 6061 t6 if it is 6063 it will have a deeper mark than the 6061. the 6063 will be much eaiser to drill also.
 

karlbamforth

Newbie
Joined
Nov 2, 2005
Messages
1,336
Location
Langkawi, Malaysia
Aircraft
Fixed wing/ rotary
Total Flight Time
500+
Aviation grade aluminium is always marked. If the marking has been removed, it is because it does not meet spec.

Using unmarked aluminium is a money saving excersize which is fine if you are willing to bet your life on it.

Ask the wife and kids first, I am sure they would prefer you spend an extra few hundred $ to be safe.

Whatever you decide, good luck and be safe.
 

gbjunkie

Newbie
Joined
Nov 13, 2008
Messages
67
Location
Tulsa, OK
The first easy check.....
Look at the edges of the tubing.

Do the inside and outside edges come to a nice sharp point or do they have a radius?

If they are sharp on the edges it's not 6061, probably 6063.

If they have a radius, they "might" be 6061.

Either way, if it's not marked, I would be suspicious.


Jody
 

trl0219

Newbie
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Messages
67
Location
Wilson, NC
It does have a radius on the outside edges. Where the inside edges come together there is no radius.

Thanks,
Tim
 

scottessex

Sling-Wing Pilot
Joined
Nov 12, 2003
Messages
11,154
Location
central, ga
Aircraft
Dominator 582
Total Flight Time
200+
The radius thing really does not prove much, I have bought 6061t-6 both with and without the radius. Just depends on the dies they use for the extrusion.
The aluminum is by far the cheapest part of the project.
I would chalk this up as a learning experience and order the correct
material from a vendor that understands the markings.
Like Aircraft Spruce, Wicks, Dillsburg, etc.

Use the unknown stuff to practice your drilling and cutting on. :)
 

choppergabor

Newbie
Joined
Apr 15, 2009
Messages
4,864
Location
Sunshine State
Aircraft
N65GK Behemoth
Total Flight Time
Too few to mention
The aluminum is by far the cheapest part of the project.
I would chalk this up as a learning experience and order the correct
material from a vendor that understands the markings.
Like Aircraft Spruce, Wicks, Dillsburg, etc.

Use the unknown stuff to practice your drilling and cutting on. :)
Amen to that! Use a reliable source and make sure it is stamped. This is not something you want to go cheap on! AL is cheap by all measures. Buy from a reliable source. And be safe.
 

GyroRon

Former Gyro know it all
Joined
Oct 29, 2003
Messages
16,584
Location
Fort Mill South Carolina
Aircraft
Waiex/3300 Jab, Phantom UL, Flightstar II UL
Total Flight Time
ALOT
Sorry Tim.... just the unmarked tubing bothered me. Sounds like there are tests that can be performed though.
 

trl0219

Newbie
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Messages
67
Location
Wilson, NC
Ron - It's ok. I'm glad I asked so now at least I can know for sure. I'm gonna get some 6061 from walter and test it with the ball bearing test. I know his is correct. I still might just buy some new stuff. I guess we'll see what happens.

Tim
 

Jetrock

Newbie
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
48
Location
Milwaukee Wisconsin
Aircraft
Building a Sparrow/3drv
Total Flight Time
50 hrs. C-150/About 200 hrs.Gyro.
Tim,
I was doing a little more research on testing aluminum an found this little Gem.
http://www.niton.com/Niton-Analyzers-Products.aspx?sflang=en
This Jewel will within seconds,tell you what metal your aiming it at.
BUT...all this magic is not without cost. Most of us being frugal types(me cheap)
you probably will not have one of these in your walmart toolbox.A mere40,000
dollars. No thats not a typo...all those zero's belong there !
All is not lost though,If you have a large metal recycler in your city they will have one,
as they must verify what they are taking in for recycling.
And looking for all the world like a fazer from star trek is an added bonus!!
It will probably be easier to just buy the right stuff but I(an info nerd) love finding
ansers to these questions.
Jetrock
 

Charles

Charles
Joined
Dec 1, 2003
Messages
168
Location
Quebec city P.Q. Canada
Aircraft
Bensen G8M
Total Flight Time
27 h
Hello Tim

The best way to check if alum. is T6 is simple. Take a drill and make a hole.
If it leaves a lip around the bit, it is not T6 (achitectural)
If your hole is neat and clean and no lip, it is T6.(structural)

Another way is to take a pair of pliers, grip an end of material tightly and try to break it of in one move down. If it bends easily like thin steel after many moves, it is not T6. T6 will break off suddenly. The edges will appear white dry.

About markings. If it is T6, it is not necesarely made in America because the ASTM (American Standards on Treatment and Measure) standards on markings were not required by the importer at the time.

This T6 material, if so, was made outside America, probably Europe of other counties. They will not mark the material for the importer will pay less.

That's how T6 can be tested. It has the same strength of other T6 made in America and is safe to build an aircraft. Marking is only to identify rapidly.

Have a good time building

Charles G
Quebec city Qc
Canada
 

trl0219

Newbie
Joined
Jan 31, 2010
Messages
67
Location
Wilson, NC
Charles - I just did the bend-test....I need new material. Thank you very much for sharing that method with me.

I cut a piece out of my tubing about 1" by 2" and tried to break it. It bent all the way back until it touched. It didn't break until I bent it back the other way past the starting position. I cut some of my 1/8" sheet and it broke off easily and looked almost white like you mentioned.

A lesson learned........BUY STAMPED MATERIAL!

Thanks again to everyone,
Tim
 

choppergabor

Newbie
Joined
Apr 15, 2009
Messages
4,864
Location
Sunshine State
Aircraft
N65GK Behemoth
Total Flight Time
Too few to mention
Glad you tested it Tim! We all have learned from it too. Thanks all the ones whom posted the tips :first:
 
Top