How to Make the Most of Your Aluminum Flat Bar

by | Jul 23, 2014 | Business

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You’ve decided to purchase an aluminum flat bar for a new project. You have done your research to determine whether copper, zinc, steel, or some other metal will work best for your needs. You’ve even determined the size, weight, and quality of the bar that you want. After this exhausting process, many people then neglect to further research the capabilities and qualities that make aluminum flat bars so valuable. You can take your project to the next level by realizing all the tricks and capabilities of this unique metal.


Aluminum is Very Strong and Can Take Abuse


It is commonly believed that an aluminum flat bar is unable to bend or even fold back on itself. It may crack when pressure is applied to bend it or fold it, but this is due to incorrect procedure. An aluminum flat bar has three grain orientations, each with their own strength values, which include the long transverse, the short transverse, and the longitudinal. The bar must be bent perpendicularly to the grain orientation. The heat treatment applied and quality of material are other factors that determine susceptibility to cracking. With the correct procedure, aluminum can be bent or even entirely folded back on itself, enabling it to be shaped and used as necessary for your new gate latch, support brace, or other project.


Choose Your Drills Wisely


Additionally, many people do not realize that certain drills work better for aluminum flat bars than others. When using a high speed steel (HSS) drill or carbide drill, leftover residue or uneven surfaces may develop on the exit side of the bar. Precision twist cobalt drills and parabolic flute drills seem to work best at preventing such issues. Using a smaller drill bit and then interpolating the hole to size with an end mill has also proven to be an effective method. The process of pecking (periodically retracting the tool to clear chips or flood the hole with coolant) is an effective method for holes that are three or four times deeper than the drill diameter. Understanding the types of drills and drilling processes is a critical factor in making your project a success!


Now that you have your aluminum flat bar and are ready to tackle your big project, it is important to understand the ways in which your bar can be manipulated, such as through bending, folding, and cutting, and the effective tools that will help prevent any unanticipated results. Be sure to further research these topics according to your unique project goals.


If looking for a quality aluminum flat bar, look no further than Howard Precision Metals Inc. They can be contacted at 414-355-9611 or online at