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We are machining an aluminum connector shell out of 6061. The geometry

jobeth (Mechanical) (OP)
22 May 00 11:06
We are machining an aerospace aluminum connector shell out of 6061. The geometry is complex and requires CNC machining. I was wondering if there is any better material selection for aluminum CNC machining as well as recommendations of CNC shops to do this job. Any advice is welcomed. Thank you in advance.   

William H. Bernhart, P.E.

AeroE (Aerospace)
14 Nov 00 23:36
6061 is probably the best choice accounting for availabilty, cost, machinability, and corrosion resistance, especially for small production runs.  Strength is moderate (for aluminum alloys).  I hate to recommend shops because it's hard enough to get work scheduled, but Danner Machine in Seattle, and Patriot Machine or Polster Machine in the St. Louis area are very good.
Guest (visitor)
26 Feb 01 22:06
6061 as stated before "is the best choice for avaiblity, cost, machinabilty, and corrosion restiance"

In order to get the best machinablity out of 6061 you can try to heat treat the aluminum. Why heat you may ask?

    1.) heat treatment changes the hardness property of

Why is hardness important to the machinability of 6061?
    2.) Analyzing the stress vs. strain curve for
        aluminum, as the material becomes harder, ductilty  
        will become less, therfore causing a  reduction in
        the ammount "toughness" of the material.

How is toughness important to machinablity?

     3.) Toughness described analitically is the area under
         the stress strain curve, in practical sense it    
         is the ammount of energy the material absorbs for
         the formation of chips.

     4.) Therefore the the harder the material becomes, the
         less tough and better the machinabilty will become.

There are many different types of heat treatment, and quenching process available; also there are many different types of machine variables which will effect the machinablity of the Al 6061.

Do not give up on your search for the best material for maching, find info on the internet, and if possible a local univeristy might also be a good source of information.


reelengr (Mechanical)
13 Mar 01 12:26
William, 6061-T6  is a good choice. Cake to machine compared to a lot of other stuff. You may want to consider irriditing or anodizing the surface for better corrosion protection.

Wayne Simon
jobeth (Mechanical) (OP)
13 Mar 01 15:04
Thank you.......

William H. Bernhart, P.E.
I work as a development engineer for AMP - Tyco Electronics located near Harrisburg, PA. I help design interconnections and electrical connectors for aerospace applications.
no1 (Electrical)
27 Oct 01 1:40

We machine quite a bit of Aluminum.  We occasionally use 7075 sometimes referred to "Aircraft" grade for strength, however, it doesn't machine quite as nice as 6061-T6.  For a connector requirement, the 6061 should be fine and you can finish the part in a varity of ways, from a dull satin or textured surface or a mirror finish, or even seal/color it with an anodizing process (inexpensive) from Clear to Black, Red, Blue, Green, Gold and more.

Good Luck
jobeth (Mechanical) (OP)
29 Oct 01 8:15
Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!

William H. Bernhart, P.E.
I work as a development engineer for AMP - Tyco Electronics located near Harrisburg, PA. I help design interconnections and electrical connectors for aerospace applications.

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