Dumb or clever idea for skin?

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Dumb or clever idea for skin?

Postby mallymal » Fri Aug 26, 2011 12:18 pm

I was thinking of alternate materials for the outer skin of a sandwich walled tear, and my thoughts turned to the signage industry.

Here in the UK we can get an Aluminum composite called Dibond for around £100 for a 10x5 foot. Thickness from 3mm, but apparently very strong, very flat, suitable for permenent exterior use, and a factory standard finish in various colours.

It ramps up the cost a little, but by the time you've bought ply, probably sealed it, then bonded on aluminum.... and then if you wanted the Little Guy look, painted it as well.... you've probably nearly spent as much anyway.

Here's a link to the US site:


ps... do I score points for calling it aluminum not aluminium?!?!? :lol:
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Re: Dumb or clever idea for skin?

Postby GRUMPYBAGDER » Fri Aug 26, 2011 2:14 pm

mallymal wrote:
ps... do I score points for calling it aluminum not aluminium?!?!? :lol:

No, you most certainly do not.
Go hang your head in shame.
Interesting idea though, seems a bit pricey for me though.
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Postby aggie79 » Fri Aug 26, 2011 3:02 pm

I think it is a really interesting material and would be great for sidewalls. It seems to be substantial and lightweight.

Maybe it could be part of an overall lightweight design. Perhaps Dibond as the exterior skin, applied to aluminum framing using VHB tape, with the interior finish being upholstered panels (fabric over foam and hardboard) "clipped" to the aluminum tubing.

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Postby Thawley » Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:07 pm

Dibond is neat stuff. I'm very familiar with a similar, corrugated core signmaker material called Alumilite. Quite a few race car fabricators use it for making air-dam splitters on road race sedans/saloons.

Used in a layered teardrop wall, it would eleminate the need for a 1/8" or 1/4" luan sheet between the aluminum siding and the plywood skelliton many folks use for structure and insulation. No doubt it would be a much easier construction with Dibond. The question to my mind is the thickness of the aluminum surface and it's resistant to dings. Seems most folks are using .032"-.040" aluminum sheet on their TDs, while Dibond's has only .012" of aluminum. The Dibond sample I had a while back seemed like pretty stout stuff. You've piqued my interest. Hope anyone who's used it before will share their experience.
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Postby oregonguy » Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:34 pm

I used a identical product called poly-metal. I used it for the roof of my personal trailer. It is a very nice product and is very workable. It is pretty stiff though, I was able to get a maximum of a 12" radius out of it. I have been very happy with it though. Trailer is over two years old and I haven't had any regrets with the roof. Available 5' x 10' lengths too... that's what I used. Kinda spendy, but worth it. :thumbsup:
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Postby Breytie » Wed Sep 07, 2011 1:41 pm

I have had my fill of DiBond over the last few weeks. I had to CNC engrave several 100 key tags with company details on both sides.

I found the stuff quite interesting. The "good" side is finished in an epoxy-like finish in a wide range of colors, patterns and even textures. The finish is quite tough but only a few thou thick. The "bad" side is plain alu with a brushed look.

Cutting and forming was done by guillotine and punches. Various other saws, routers, drills, knives and files can be used too.

I have been unable to pull the alu layers off the solid "plastic" core. I have seen the stuff bent in fairly tight (2" - 3" radius) curves and almost perfect 90 deg corners to make massive displays. The guy working with it uses Soudal FixAll to bond the DiBond to itself and other surfaces.

It would be interesting to find out the R value.

Personally I would not use it as a stand alone wall but as the outer and/or inner wall of a TT.

It appears to handle dings ok, but it's scratches that will cause the worst problems as they cannot be polished out as is the case with normal alu.
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Re: Dumb or clever idea for skin?

Postby kinto » Wed Sep 07, 2011 9:14 pm

mallymal wrote:ps... do I score points for calling it aluminum not aluminium?!?!? :lol:

HAHAHAHA! :rofl:

Is a hippopotamus just a really cool opotamus?

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