Posted August 24, 2002

Cutting the new aluminum flooring proved to be easy.  I purchased 18-tooth metal cutting blades for my saber saw.  By dialing the speed down to 3 (top is 7) and taking my time, the blade cut very well.

Posted August 1, 2002

Here is everything you ever wanted to know about aluminum flooring.  It’s a little dry but some of this information is hard to find so here it is.  All of this was reviewed as part of my job to replace the flooring in the engine room.  The current flooring looks like it might be original to the vessel and is showing not only signs of age, but previous owners have hacked and sawed and drilled on it, and many pieces are simply missing.  The current floor is a matt finish diamond pattern.  After seeing samples of the polished aluminum at Home Depot I opted for this style to add to the looks of our engine room.  Pricing at Home Depot and other hardware outlets was astronomical.  For example, a 1 x 3 foot plate went for over $70.00 and it was only 0.10 inch thick (not enough to support the typical trawler owner).  I purchased the first 4 x 8 foot 3003 alloy plate (0.125 inch thick) from Alliance Metals in Atlanta.  Total cost was $136.85.

diamond_floor_backgroundCutting the aluminum plate will be interesting.  I’ve been told by the Alliance Metals folks that I should use a router.  So off to Highland Hardware where I was told it may not be a good idea.  They suggested I purchase two high speed metal cutting bits and a router speed reducer.  They also suggested I use a metal cutting blade in by rotary saw instead.  So I’ll try both and update these pages with the results.

The alloy used in the original floor is unknown.  But I’m assuming it was marine grade and probably 5052.  This material is special order so I’m going to try the 3003 alloy.  The tables below illustrate the differences.

Combining other elements with pure aluminum creates an aluminum alloy. It is convenient to divide aluminum alloys into two major categories: casting compositions and wrought compositions. Further differentiations for different categories are also desired for other reasons. The following system is used to identify the wrought alloys:

1. First Digit – Principal alloying constituent(s)
2. Second Digit – Variations of initial alloy
3. Third and fourth digits – Individual alloy variations (number has no significance but is unique)

  • a. 1xxx – Pure Al (99% or greater)
  • b. 2xxx – Al-Cu Alloys
  • c. 3xxx – Al-Mn Alloys
  • d. 4xxx – Al-Si Alloys
  • e. 5xxx – Al-Mg Alloys
  • f. 6xxx – Al-Mg-Si Alloys
  • g. 7xxx – Al-Zn Alloys
  • h. 8xxx – Al+Other Elements
  • i. 9xxx – Unused Series

Typical Aluminum Alloys

3xxx – Al-Mn Alloys

  • High formability, corrosion resistance, and joinability; medium strength
  • Heat transfer, packaging, roofing-siding applications
  • Representative alloys:3003,3004,3005,3105
  • Typical ultimate tensile strength range:16-41 ksi

The 3xxx series are strain-hardenable, have excellent corrosion resistance, and are readily welded, brazed and soldered. Alloy 3003 is widely used in cooking utensils and chemical equipment because of its superiority in handling many foods and chemicals, and in builders’ hardware. Alloy 3105 is a principal for roofing and siding. Variations of the 3xxx series are used in sheet and tubular form for heat exchangers in vehicles and power plants. 3105 is typically used for bottle caps. (Closure Products)

Alloy 3004 and its modification 3104 are among the most widely used aluminum alloys because they are drawn and ironed into the bodies of beverage cans.

3003 This non heat treatable alloy is about 20 percent stronger than type 1100 but has equally good workability characteristics.  It may show slight discoloration when anodized, but it reacts well to mechanical and organic finishing.  It is easy to weld and braze, but when soldered only the torch method is recommended.  Like 1100, 3003 tends to be gummy when machined, but in higher tempers it can be machined under conditions that restrict setups and speeds.  Typical applications of this alloy include food and chemical handling equipment, appliance components, truck and trailer roofing, heat exchangers, pipe jacketing and lawn furniture components.
5052 One of the strongest non heat treatable alloys offered by Hadco – 5086 has somewhat higher strength – type 5052 aluminum offers excellent corrosion resistance, making it a favorite for marine applications.  It is easily welded, but we do not recommend brazing or soldering.  It adapts to most mechanical processes.  It offers fair finishing; heavy anodic films may have a yellow cast.  The alloy offers fair machining with proper setup.  Type 5052 products are used in fuel and storage tanks, truck and trailer side panels, small boat hulls and truck cabs.

3003 Alloy

0.125 48 x 96 1.906 60.99
0.125 48 x 144 1.906 91.49
0.125 48 x 192 1.906 121.98
0.125 60 x 96 1.906 76.24
0.125 60 x 192 1.906 152.00



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