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How to order your cutting and tapping service online

If you don’t have the equipment to process your profile accurately, take advantage of our T Slot Aluminium cutting, drilling and tapping service. Just follow the steps in this article to get your project underway. Check out this blog on how to get the most out of your profile  

Design your project carefully

This is the most important step and will make or break your project before you make your first cut.

You don’t need an expensive CAD system, many of our customers have built amazing projects using a hand-drawn sketch. Just take your time and do this properly

If you find that your project is more complicated than you expected or even if you don’t have the time, we can take care of your design requirements.

We use Solidworks and can provide 3D models, bill of materials and IFC drawings.

Contact us for a free consultation.  

Cut your material.

Before you cut anything, make sure that you fully understand how to join T Slot Extrusions (did I mention that its important to design your project carefully)

Professional T Slot Aluminium cutting saw

Once you are confident that your cut list is correct you need to work out how much aluminium you are going to need. We strongly recommend that you use a cut list optimiser.

This will help you eliminate unnecessary wastage.

Use a new optimiser page for each size of the profile if you are ordering multiple sizes.

This will help you eliminate unnecessary wastage.

 

You can email a pdf copy of this list to us or just enter your requirements directly into the cut list form on our website.

Remember that the longer the profile the more expensive it is to transport. Usually, it is more cost-effective to cut the profile before delivering it. Once we know the delivery address and the length of the parcel we can provide a quote for delivery.  

 

Drill and tap your profile.

Machining T Slot Aluminium Profile

Drilling and tapping is the most time-consuming part of the project and requires the correct equipment in order to produce a high quality end product. In order to get this right we need as much accurate information as possible.if you have access to a CAD system we can use Solidworks models or step files to work out where you need the profile drilled or tapped. A simple hand-drawn sketch is usually all we need as long as it contains all the relevant dimensions we need. You can upload your drawings here on our tapping and drilling page.

If you need more information please see these useful pages for information about Extrusion taps, Fixing plates, Linear joints, Angular joints, Cube joints, Pawl clamps

 We provide a T Slot Aluminium cutting, drilling and tapping service.

 

 

T Slot Aluminium Profiles

Using aluminium composite panels in T slot builds.

T Slot Aluminium
Workbench Workstation

When you are building with T Slot extrusions, aluminium composite panels are a cost-effective way to enclose your structure. 

You can improve the rigidity of your structure or provide an airtight enclosure using composite panels in your build 

This is useful for building 

  • 3D printers 
  • Clean rooms
  • Cupboards
  • workstations
  • CNC machines 
  • Trolleys 
  • Exhibit display stands

Enclose the panels within the T slot or fix them to the external face using the T slot to hold the nuts required.

T slot Aluminium extrusion structure with composite panel walls

Composite panels can also be used to prevent access to areas where safety is a concern.

T Slot aluminium framed enclosure

Enclosure frame

Composite panels provide an excellent base for graphics and signs to be installed.

Including the panels at the design stage saves time when assembling your project.

Clear acrylic, aluminium sheet, plywood and a number of other materials can be used in the same way. 

If you have any questions regarding this please contact us 

Using aluminium composite panels in T slot builds. - aluminium extrusion

How to create a strong join in aluminium t-slot extrusion

We understand that you need to save time and money.  So we would like to show you the most cost-effective way to join extruded aluminium t-slot profile. 

Aluminium T Slot extrusion joint

This is the standard joining method for T Slot Aluminium profile and is surprisingly quick and easy.  In less than 60 seconds one can make a strong join between aluminium t-slot extrusions at a minimal cost.  There is no complicated machining involved.  There are no special tools required.  This can be done on-site without welding or the need for a hot work permit.  

Follow this step by step guide to learn how.

** For your own safety sake, please ensure that you follow all relevant safety procedures and guidelines when operating machinery and using power tools. **

T-Slot profile saw

1. Cut your profile to length.

It is important to make a clean accurate cut because this will impact the quality of your finished join.  Use a good quality saw with the correct type of blade for cutting aluminium.  A good supply of quality cutting fluid will be needed to prevent profile and blade overheating.  Make sure that your profile piece is securely clamped.  To save you time we are able to cut your aluminium profile to length for you.  You simply need to provide us with a cut list. 

T slot Aluminium extrusion drill and tap

2. Tap the core hole in the end to be joined.

This is a very simple and quick process as the core is perfectly formed to the correct size for tapping.  Use an M8 tap for slot 8 series, or M6 for slot 6 series, profiles.  Using an extrusion tap and the correct cutting paste will ensure a perfect thread will be formed.

GAP T Slot Aluminium drill jig

3. Drill an access hole for your hex key.

Use a drill press, or drill guide, to accurately position the hole and not damage the profile piece.  We generally use a drill press specially set up for this job.  The drill guide is only really useful for when you don’t have a drill press or when you’re on-site needing to drill a hole.  

T slot aluminium cap screw and washer for junction

4. Fit a low profile cap screw and washer to the hole you tapped earlier.

Aluminium profile system

5. Slide the washer and cap screw head into the slot.

Move it into the slot so that the cap screw lines up with the hole drilled earlier.

T Slot Aluminium Profile joining system

6. Using the access hole you drilled earlier tighten the cap screw with your hex key.

Make sure that the two sections of t-slot are perfectly aligned as you tighten up the join.

You have now created a strong join in aluminium t-slot extrusion.

There are several alternative methods of joining T Slot aluminium profiles.  These alternative methods are useful under different circumstances.  If you would like more information please check out our blog.  We have articles about through body joins and joins using clamping plates    

Check out this tutorial on how to make a standard connection in T Slot Aluminium.

T Slot Aluminium Extruded Profiles and accessories supplied by GAP Engineering in Queensland 

T-Slot Aluminium Profiles
Accessories for extruded T slot Aluminium Profile

Do you know what Aluminium T-Slot extruded profiles and accessories can be used for ?

Actually that question is probably a bit harder to answer than it would initially appear.

We are fortunate to work in an industry where we are exposed to a lot of highly creative and intelligent people.  As a result we constantly encounter people who are using our products in new and interesting ways.

Do you know what Aluminium T-Slot extruded profiles and accessories can be used for ? - aluminium extrusionNo matter how complex or unusual your project, chances are that t-slot extruded aluminium profile will be able to play a role in helping you achieve a cost effective and practical solution.  This applies to a large range of projects.  From material handling to automation, packaging to prototyping, and everything in between.  It’s very common to see t-slot aluminium profiles being used in the modern industrial environment as well as in other areas.

The main motivation for using T-Slot is that it greatly reduces the amount of time required to build.  This is because you don’t need to prepare and weld joins.  You also don’t need to prepare and paint a whole structure once you have built it.  Both welding and painting are messy, expensive and time consuming.  If you need to weld or paint in a sensitive environment the noise, fumes, heat, or just plain dirt generated can become a considerable problem.

T Slot Aluminium Extrusions and accessories

GAP Engineering T Slot Aluminium Extrusions and accessories

This list is a summary of the types of applications where we often choose to use T-Slot Extruded Aluminium Profiles over other methods of construction.

  • Camera mounting equipment
  • Audiovisual display equipment
  • Conveyors and elevators
  • Industrial workbenches
  • Clean rooms
  • Trade-show displays
  • High altitude training rooms
  • Display units
  • Machinery and equipment frames
  • Safety fencing
  • Lifting units
  • Trolleys, racks, and cabinets
  • Laboratory jigs and machine frames
  • CNC router beds and frames
  • Architectural features
  • Vehicle fit outs
  • Light boxes

Do you know what Aluminium T-Slot extruded profiles and accessories can be used for ? - aluminium extrusion        Do you know what Aluminium T-Slot extruded profiles and accessories can be used for ? - aluminium extrusion

Do you know what Aluminium T-Slot extruded profiles and accessories can be used for ? - aluminium extrusion        Do you know what Aluminium T-Slot extruded profiles and accessories can be used for ? - aluminium extrusion

Do you know what Aluminium T-Slot extruded profiles and accessories can be used for ? - aluminium extrusion        Do you know what Aluminium T-Slot extruded profiles and accessories can be used for ? - aluminium extrusion

Accessories for extruded T slot Aluminium Profile      4040 T slot clamping plates extrusion accessories

Please contact us if you require more information

Do you know what Aluminium T-Slot extruded profiles and accessories can be used for ? - aluminium extrusion

Engineers working on development of automated production line with robotic parts and applied software in order to increase productivity. Precise engineering on electric parts of automated production line.

GAP Logo with Web Address

Contact

How to get the most out of your profile.

When you are spending your time and money on a project you need to be sure that you are getting the most out of your resources.

How to get the most out of your profile. - aluminium extrusion

Avoid wastage being a problem

Unintentional wastage can end up costing you a lot.  So, you need to plan carefully to avoid blowing your budget.  The last thing you want to see at the end of a job is a big pile of unused or incorrectly processed material.  spending some time planning your job and will vastly improve your chances of a great result.

T-Slot Extruded Aluminium Profile
Sample of extruded aluminium off-cuts

design your project thoroughly before you start cutting

If your project is relatively complex and you don’t have access to a CAD drawing system consider employing the services of a CAD designer. Planning your project properly will greatly increase the quality of your project and reduce the overall cost. Planning includes drawing up an optimised cutting list

Optimise your cutting list

Failure to do a thorough optimised cutting list is almost guaranteed to result in excessive wastage.

When you have a large number of pieces to cut, it can become very complicated calculating an optimised cutting list it.  Fortunately, there are a few free, and online resources available to help you out. 

For example, a quick web search found Cut list optimiser which is suitable for 1D bar optimisation.  The web site requires that you sign up to a free account so that you can save your projects for later review.  Before deciding to sign up, you can look at one of their demo’s or go straight to their offline project page.

Obligatory disclaimer:  Please note that we do not recommend any particular solution in preference to any other.  You are free to choose what suits you.  You can even create your own spreadsheet to assist you in your calculations.

Once you have your cutting list, you can send us a copy so that we can accurately cut it for you.  We can also arrange delivery if you need.  Please note that delivery costs vary considerably depending on size, weight, and delivery address.  The most expensive being full 6m lengths.

Cutting, drilling and tapping

Ensure that you use a very good quality saw that is specifically configured to cut aluminium .

Cut lengths that are inaccurate or not completely square will prevent you from achieving the best possible results.

Use an extrusion tap to create the threaded ends as well as a quality tapping gel that is formulated to cut aluminium. An extrusion tap differs from a regular tap in that it does not remove any material in the process and also hardens the surface of the thread. this results in a stronger thread and consequently a more reliable end product . Also, ensure that your taps are perfectly aligned to the core centre of the extrusion.

When drilling through the centre of the extrusion use a drill press or drilling guide to ensure that your holes are accurate and that your drill does not damage the edge of the slot.

T-Slot profile saw
T-Slot aluminium profile saw

Ask for advice

There are several options when in comes to connecting T slot profiles and the cost varies considerably . Ask us to show you how the various connection methods work and to explain the pros and cons of each option.

There are also several pitfalls to be aware of when assembling projects and we can help you save time (money) by sharing our experience with you

In addition to cutting, we can also drill and tap each piece of profile as needed if you require.

For more information on how to join our profiles please see these resources: Standard connection and Creating a strong join


We have produced this video tutorial to help explain the cutting drilling and taping process

GAP Engineering-Queensland’s supplier of T Slot Aluminium and accessories

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Conveyor systems

T-Slot Aluminium Profile Conveyor Systems Conveyor systems - aluminium extrusion

Conveyor systems - aluminium extrusion

Conveyor systems - aluminium extrusion

When you require a conveyor system you need to consider a lot more than just the conveyor itself.

These are some of the factors you may need to take into consideration

    • How you are going to integrate a conveyor system into your current infrastructure
    • How can ensure that it is safe to operate
    • How can you minimise disruption to your production while it is installed.
    • How easily can you make modifications to it.

Our extensive range of t-slot extrusions and accessories will help you to overcome these and many other challenges.

Because our products are so versatile and adaptable you will be able to design and construct your conveyor system and any associated equipment such as work stations or guarding out of the same easily integrated components

We can supply you with the CAD files you need to help you design your conveyor system or if you don’t have the design capability we can design a system for you.

We can supply the components you need and assist you in getting your system constructed in the best methods.

The Alusic range of conveyor belts is divided into eight broad groups:

– Series 20: belt conveyor with 20 mm roller for 18.5 mm profiles
– Series 30: belt conveyor with 30 mm roller for 356.001.028 and 356.001.032 profiles
– Series 1000: belt conveyor with 50 mm rubberised roller for 356.001.032 profile
– Series 50: belt conveyor with 50 mm roller for 45 mm profiles
– Series 95: belt conveyor with 95 mm roller for 90 mm profiles
– Series 2000: tab chain conveyor, fixed width of 82.5 – 114.3 – 190.5 – 254.0 – 304.8 mm
– Series 3000: modular chain conveyor, fixed width of 152 – 250 mm
– Pallet series: conveyor belt for 112.101.001 profile

with the series 50 and 95 being the most popular

T Slot Aluminium conveyor system

Inclined Conveyor

You can access resources such as CAD files , parts catalogues and guides on how to use these products here  Aluminium Profile Resources

T-Slot extruded aluminium profile joints – pawl clamp

Profile Joints – Part 5

Pawl clamp

In this post the focus is on the pawl clamping connector fastener, or ‘pawl clamp’ for short.  This is the fifth in our series of posts on aluminium profile joints.

pawl clamp

Pawl clamping connecting fastener

A joint constructed using a pawl clamp can have the relocatable advantage of a fixing plate, but via a single fixing screw rather than two. This means less stuffing about on those occasions when a joint needs to be moved.

Adaptable

The Alusic catalogue shows a pawl clamp for almost any joint type your application might require. The basic pawl clamp can be used in place of the standard connection to make a simple square joint, whether T or corner.

There are also pawl clamps that can be used to join profile pieces end-to-end, at an angle or straight, as shown in the diagram below.  This type of joint is stronger than the simpler linear joint or angular joint.  As a result, it can be used to construct a joint that can carry a bigger load, in tension, than a linear joint.

pawl clamp

Preparing the joint

Preparing the joint simply involves machining a hole of the correct diameter and depth in the first of the profiles to be joined.

pawl clamp

Ready for assembly

pawl clamp

Joint partly assembled

Assembling the joint

We can use two pawl clamps to join an 18.5×90 (084.101.006) to almost any profile with an 8mm t-slot. In this example we show it joined to an 18.5×32 , a 1 slot 40×40 , and a 6 slot 45×90

Start by putting the pawl(s) into the hole(s) machined in the first of the profiles to be joined.

The joint is completed simply by sliding the pawl clamp square nuts into the t-slot of the second of the profiles to be joined. When the required joint location is reached, simply use a hex key to tighten the fixing screws in place.

pawl clamp

18.5×90 joined to 18.5×32

pawl clamp

18.5×90 joined to 40×40

pawl clamp

18.5×90 joined to 45×90

So there you have it.  The pawl clamp; used to construct strong joints in extruded aluminium profiles, can be adapted to a variety of different joining requirements. The pawl clamp is so adaptable that it could readily be used in applications outside the realm of aluminium extrusions.  Use your imagination, almost any joint requirement can be fulfilled using pawl clamps.

If you want a copy of the Alusic catalogue to peruse on your PC, go to our site main page.  There is a place where you can enter your email address and click the Send button. We will then send you an email with a download link for the PDF file.

T-Slot extruded aluminium profile joints – Cube joint

Cube Joint

In this post we focus on the cube joint or the 3-way body connection. 

In the example below we use a joint for round profile (084.310.001). This is just one of the range of different styles of cube joint that can be found in the Alusic catalogue. Pages 2.80 to 2.86 show different joint styles along with some of the many polyamide caps available to provide a neat smooth finish to joints.

Joint for round profile

cube joint

Joint for round profile ready for assembly

 Here we are joining three pieces of 32×32 round profile, Each piece is prepared by cutting the end square and tapping the profile core hole M8

Assembling the joint

To start assembling the joint, the studs are screwed into those tapped holes in the ends of the pieces to be joined.

cube joint

Screw the studs into the tapped holes

Now slide the cube joint block onto the stud in the first piece of profile to be joined.  Then do up the associated grub screw so that the block is held in place on the stud. The grub screw will engage with the groove around the stud to securely hold the profile piece to the block.

cube joint

Attach the first piece of profile to be joined

Continue the assembly by sliding the the block onto the stud in the second piece of profile in the same manner as for the first.

cube joint

Attaching the second piece

Attaching the last piece is the same as the first and second except that the hex key to do up the grub screw needs to be long enough to fit in the profile slot to get to the grub screw.

cube joint

Attaching the last piece

Finally, make sure the ends of the profile pieces are nicely aligned with the cube joint block and tighten the grub screws to complete the joint.

In conclusion

So there you have it, a 3-way body connection (cube joint) using a joint for round profile.

T-Slot extruded aluminium profile joints – angular joint

Profile Joints – Part 4

Angular joint

In this post we focus on the angular joint; what it is and how to put one together.  This is the fourth in our series of posts on aluminium profile joints.

angular joint

Angular joint – 45°

Essentially, the angular joint is a variation of the linear joint. See our earlier blog post on linear joints.  While the linear joint could be said to have an angle of 0°, angular joints are available in 30°, 45°, 60°, and 90° fixed versions.

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Cutting the extrusion

One of the obvious issues with joints that are not linear or square, is that without both profile pieces mitre cut to the correct angle, the joint will look a bit ugly.

angular joint

Angular joint without mitre cuts

Fortunately these days, reasonable quality mitre saws are relatively inexpensive and easy to get. The only trick is getting a good quality blade and cutting lubricant.

To get a good tight joint you need really good clean cuts. A hacksaw just isn’t going to be good enough, no matter how good your skills. Even a powered hacksaw or band saw isn’t going to give you a great finish.

We use a 400mm diameter tungsten carbide tipped blade in a drop saw designed for cutting aluminium.  It can be used to cut extrusions off at almost any angle and produces very nice clean cuts.  We offer a modestly priced cutting service for any customer needing their extrusions cut to length.

Preparing a joint

As mentioned above, the key to getting a good tight joint is cutting the extrusion cleanly and at the correct angle. The correct angle usually being half the nominal angle of the joint. In this example, the nominal angle of the joint is 45° so we have mitre cut the pieces to be joined at 22.5°.  This joint type usually requires two angular joints to ensure sufficient joint strength and balanced load carrying ability.

angular joint

Angular joint ready for assembly

Putting it together

As you can see in the first diagram above, the angular joints fit neatly inside the t-slot in the extrusion. One of the advantages of this joint type is that there are no parts extending beyond the perimeter of the profile.

The first step is to slide the angular joints into the t-slots of one of the profile pieces and screw down the grub screws to take up all the play in the slot. Do not properly tighten the grub screws just yet.  Simply nipping up only one of the grub screws at this stage is enough.

angular joint

Angular joint partly assembled

The joint is completed by pushing the ends of the profile pieces firmly together then tightening the grub screws so that the grub screw flat ends bear down on the bottom of the t-slot.  This effectively clamps the angular joint into the t-slot of the extruded profile.  Before properly tightening the grub screws make sure the ends of the profile pieces are nicely aligned.

angular joint

Angular joint completed

Once the grub screws are properly tightened, you should have a rather tidy nice rigid joint.

T-Slot extruded aluminium profile joints – Linear joints

Profile Joints – Part 3

Linear joint.

This is the third in our series of posts on aluminium profile joints.  In this one we focus on the linear joint.

A few months ago, we had a customer who was building a display stand to use at various trade shows around the country. The interesting things about this stand were a) the finished height needed to be changeable, b) it needed to be quickly and easily assembled and dismantled, and, c) it needed to be readily packed up for transport to and from venues.

Complying with c) was easy. Extruded aluminium profiles are readily amenable to being stacked and tied down to a pallet for easy handling and transport.

To make the thing quickly and easily assembled and dismantled (requirement b), we decided to use clamping plates for most of the joints. See this blog entry for more information about using clamping plates.

The reason for the changeable height was that some of the venues for these trade shows don’t have the ceiling clearance for their particular rather tall display stand. So we decided to make the top section in two parts. One of which could be left out of the assembly when ceiling height decreed.

Now, there are a number of methods to join aluminium profiles end to end. On this occasion though, the customer wanted to maintain the clean neat lines of the aluminium extrusion.  As a result, we elected to use linear joints in this case.

The linear joint is ideal when the joint is under a compressive axial load, as was the case here.  This joint type is not recommended for high bending load applications such as the middle of a long span beam.

T-Slot extruded aluminium profile joints – Linear joints - aluminium extrusion

As you can see in the diagram above, the joint piece(s) fit neatly inside the t-slot in the extrusion and there are no parts extending beyond the perimeter of the profile.  This diagram shows a 90mm version in the slot 8 series 40 x 40 profile.  The number of linear joint pieces used in any given joint is limited by the number of t-slots in the extrusions being joined.  The number actually used depends more on the strength and rigidity of the joint required.  In many cases, only one or two linear joint pieces are used even though there may be four or even six t-slots in the extrusions.

Joint construction.

T-Slot extruded aluminium profile joints – Linear joints - aluminium extrusion

Linear joint ready for assembly

T-Slot extruded aluminium profile joints – Linear joints - aluminium extrusion

Linear joint partly assembled

T-Slot extruded aluminium profile joints – Linear joints - aluminium extrusion

Linear joint completed

The linear joint is completed by pushing the ends of the extrusions to be joined firmly together, then tightening the grub screws so that their flat ends bare down on the bottom of the t-slot.  This holds the joint piece(s) firmly in place and the two extrusions cleanly together.

T-Slot extruded aluminium profile joints – Linear joints - aluminium extrusion

Linear joint – 90mm & 180mm

Linear joints are available in a number of different sizes for the slot 6, slot 8, and slot 10 series of Alusic extruded aluminium profiles.  Also, they are available in anodised aluminium, zinc plated steel, and stainless steel.

What are fixing plates?

While the standard connection for t-slot extrusions is the most cost-effective and commonly used joint there are situations where a different solution is required. 

A good example of this is the fixing, or clamping, plate joint used to make a perpendicular joint between two pieces of t-slot profile.  

Aluminium profile  Clamping Plate
Clamping Plate

The main difference between a fixing plate joint and a standard joint is that the fixing plate is easily relocated along the t-slot side of the joint.  This feature alone makes this joint a smart choice for prototyping applications.

A fixing plate is an accessory that attaches to the end of one piece and into the t-slot of the other piece.  A fixing plate joint requires only a hex key to assemble or dismantle.

This also suits applications where the equipment, such as exhibit displays, often need to be dismantled for transportation or storage.  Another application would be machine framework, or components, that need to be adjusted, from time to time. 

We stock fixing plates to suit both the 40 and the 45 series t-slot aluminium extruded profiles.  We also stock a comprehensive range of alternative connector type and joint components.  For more information use our contact page or telephone 07 3823 1079.

So, in summary, fixing plates are useful where:

  • Components need semi regular removal or relocation
  • An existing component obstructs or prevents a standard joint
  • Additions need to be made to an existing structure
  • The framework needs to be adjustable (eg: prototyping)

Constructing a fixing plate joint.

For this example we will use a 40×80 clamping plate to join a 40×80 profile piece to a 40×40 profilepiece.  The first step is to bolt the clamping plate to the end of the 40×80 profile via M8 tapped core holes.

What are fixing plates? - aluminium extrusion
What are fixing plates? - aluminium extrusion

Having bolted on the clamping plate, bolts with slot nuts are fitted to the clamping plate ready to slide into the 40×40 slot.  In this case we are using the standard 13mm square M6 nut as the slot nut.

What are fixing plates? - aluminium extrusion
What are fixing plates? - aluminium extrusion

When the 40×80 piece is slid into place, a hex key is used  to tighten the bolts on the slot nuts.  This completes the joint.

What are fixing plates? - aluminium extrusion

Once a clamping plate joint is completed that’s not the end of the story.  Relocating the joint is as simple as loosening the slot nut bolts, sliding to the new position and re-tightening.

Clamping plate relocation
Simple and fast relocation
T slot extrusion clamping plate
Clamping plate connection