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Old 10-19-2008, 05:22 PM   #1
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Aluminum type?

I'm planning on customizing a pre 1960 airstream with a new floor plan, window placement and new aluminum skin. I know there could be a lot of questions and comments with this project, but the one question I have now is about the aluminum skin. I would like to use aluminum that would polish up for decades with possible clear coat removals. QUESTION- Is there aluminum better than 2024 T3 alclad that you will not have to worry about wearing through the thin layer of aluminum but will still produce a mirror polish?
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Old 10-19-2008, 05:37 PM   #2
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From what I understand It will all Polish up the same and it should be solid Aluminum not coated.... Not sure what you mean by thin layer of aluminum???
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:16 PM   #3
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Unless you are going to polish it with a belt sander, you should not have to worry about the cladding thickness which I think is about 5% of the thickness. If you had thicker cladding it would weaken the sheet.
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:32 PM   #4
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You are right the pre 70's airstreams are made with Alclad 2024 t3 that has a fairly thin coat of pure aluminum. It is really rather thick and I have never heard of anybody polishing one so much the rubbed thru it, but I guess you could. The 2024 by itself is rather prone to corrosion and that is why alclad was invented for planes during the WWII. Only pure aluminum would have the same surface characteristics of Alclad but pure aluminum is very soft and not nearly as strong as 2024 T3. The presnce of the alloying elements are what give it the strength plus the precipitation heat treatment. T3 is still ductile enough that you can stretch form it for the end caps. T6 is stronger but poor elongation and would rupture if you tried to form it. There are some alloys with better corrosion resistance than 2024 but none as good at forming the protective oxide film as pure aluminum.
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:59 PM   #5
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The pure aluminum layer is only about 2% for the .032.
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Old 10-19-2008, 07:12 PM   #6
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I thought I read that it was 5%, maybe they added both sides to get that number.
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Old 10-19-2008, 08:10 PM   #7
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Thanks guys. I wonder if todays 2024 T3 has a thinner cladding than the aluminum they used say 30, 40 years ago? Countless vintage trailers have been polished up with no problems, but I have heard of stories of people stripping and orbital sanding the clear coat and then had accidently sanded through the aluminum cladding as well. I'm more concerned with the removal of scratches than the removal of clear coating. With the currant cost of aluminum and modern technology I can see how this cladding has evolved as a much thinner coating. If I go to the expense of a new skin, I would like to know if I used the best possible material. P.S. I'm thinking of replicating a 1948 liner but only longer, so I don't think I'll have to form stretch any parts.
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Old 10-19-2008, 09:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scooter66 View Post
I'm thinking of replicating a 1948 liner but only longer, so I don't think I'll have to form stretch any parts.
Here's a 1948 28' "Whirlwind" Liner. Are you stretching your Liner longer than this?
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