It is also one of the strongest non-heat treatable aluminium alloys available, has a good strength to weight ratio and is weldable, so it is ideal for marine and automotive applications.
As a stocked material, alongside other aluminium alloys, metals and resins, Protolabs can machine and ship parts in the material in as little as one day.
Design engineers simply upload their CAD to the company’s online portal, choose their material and then designate their preferred shipping timeframe, choosing between rapid 1 to 3 day standard manufacturing or 7 to 12 day flexible option. The engineer will then receive a quote including 3D design for manufacturability analysis. As manufacturability has already been simulated as soon as the quote is approved Protolabs will allocate machines, and ship the part, to meet their deadline.
David Ewing, Protolabs’ CNC Product Manager, commented: “Adding this versatile aluminium alloy to our range of stocked materials gives our customers more choice within our CNC service, whether they need parts for rapid prototyping or low volume production of end use components.
Material selection for a component depends on its application and what properties are needed. By adding this aluminium alloy to our stocked materials portfolio, we are offering customers a metal with a good strength to weight ratio that is cost effective and resistant to harsh environments, and critically with the option of a faster turnaround than many other suppliers.”
Protolabs’ stocked materials for CNC machining include multiple grades of plastics (such as ABS, acetal, polycarbonate, nylon and PEEK) and metal alloys (such as brass, copper, titanium, a range of stainless steels and aluminiums). The company’s pocket-sized CNC Material Selector is a quick reference guide to help design engineers choose the right plastic or metal material to suit their requirements. It lists specific measurements such as heat deflection, tensile strength and hardness to identify the most suitable material for a part’s application, along with its suitability for milling and turning.