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Old 04-13-2016, 09:44 AM   #1
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Stainless Steel versus Aluminum sheets...

Another Thread on the Airforum, the subject of 'gravel guards' protecting the aluminum skin of the front left and right sides of their Airstream's front, caught some shorter trailer owners by surprise, who DID NOT have them factory installed onto their trailers.

The gravel guards are made of Stainless Steel sheets with aluminum trim. These stainless sheets take a beating in the Western USA gravel roads into the mountains and high plains. I cannot imagine how the aluminum skin would look after five or six years of gravel road traveling on BLM or NFS improved gravel road access. It was a wise decision by Airstream to use these stainless steel sheets for 'rock guards'.

When I do a search for cost comparisons:

Stainless Steel sheets search brings up cost per square foot for SINKS. I did find one cost for 53 square feet of stainless steel for $3583 to $5060. It did not indicate the thickness, nor its purpose as raw material for sink specifications.

Aluminum sheets search bring up aluminum siding and gutters for houses.

Prices for finished Stainless sinks per square foot finished is not a fair comparison to the riveted aluminum sheets on our Airstreams.

Stainless will not corrode with a salt environment on the coast. It is much harder than aluminum and resistant to scratches.

Stainless does not have the 'silver' polished look that aluminum offers for appearances.

Is there a dollar for dollar comparison of a sheet of aluminum and a sheet of stainless steel per square foot, same thickness... ready for skin application, upon an Airstream frame? The cost must be very dramatic, if discovered.

Stainless Steel is heavier than Aluminum. Is there a pound for pound comparison for weight comparisons for stainless and aluminum sheets?

At the present time Aluminum is at a low price per unfinished bulk sheets. This would be equivalent to lower raw material costs, as it would be for Airlines with reduced fuel costs, creating a more competitive pricing for air fares.

Maybe the thought of an Airstream surviving 100 years is a wise business decision to avoid stainless steel trailers. When a used trailer is worth more as metal salvage, stainless steel will remain in the kitchen for decades to come.

Having the new 'Nest' made of Stainless Steel on an Airstream frame would be improbable due to costs. It would possibly be the first of its kind and not just another fiberglass pod on an axle with cheap Marathon tires to roll off the dealer's lot.

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Old 04-13-2016, 11:02 AM   #2
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as a exemple...locally in Kelowna bc, my metal distributor will have me a sheet of 4X8 aluminum 0.04 tichness for around 100$.....if you want it anodize that make it maintenance free and very good looking, your looking at 170$

if you want stainless steel, same size and tickness, you will be in the 300$ range .

so... it would be triple the cost to go stainless steel for the full trailer. Perhaps anodize would be the next step in term of finish and ease of maintenance. That finish is used a lot in teardrop trailers.
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