What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

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What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby DesertApprentice » Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:12 am

What's the recommended thickness for the aluminum skin?

I have seen online people saying anywhere from 0.024 to 1/8. There is also the aluminum alloy type 3003, 6006 etc. I'm totally lost.

Any pointers are greatly appreciated. Also, if there is good place to order online, please share it too.

Thanks in advance!
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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby tony.latham » Sun Jan 02, 2022 9:41 am

DesertApprentice wrote:What's the recommended thickness for the aluminum skin?

I have seen online people saying anywhere from 0.024 to 1/8. There is also the aluminum alloy type 3003, 6006 etc. I'm totally lost.

Any pointers are greatly appreciated. Also, if there is good place to order online, please share it too.

Thanks in advance!


The norm is .040". The extra thin stuff would be hammered by hail. 1/8" would be a bear to pull around a curve --and add a lotta weight.

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:thinking:

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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby noseoil » Sun Jan 02, 2022 10:05 am

We used pre-finished .040" sign panel aluminum for the sides (green) & mill finished .040" for the roof. No problem with the curves, & it's plenty stout for a small trailer. Call around at larger cities, find a sign supply company with lots of aluminum panels & find what you need there.
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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby John61CT » Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:39 pm

seen .032" 3003 sheet

was just glued to the aluminum tubing with sikaflex
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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby KCStudly » Mon Jan 03, 2022 9:31 am

Large sheets (cut to length from roll) can be available from commercial truck repair businesses. Usually in white. They use it commonly to line vans and trailers.
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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby lfhoward » Mon Jan 03, 2022 4:37 pm

I got my 0.040 sheets from a roofing company who had ordered them by mistake. Apparently 0.040 is too thick for regular roofing applications (would break when folded 180° in their bender), so got my aluminum sheets for super cheap!
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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby airdonut41 » Mon Jan 31, 2022 4:38 pm

I bought 0.036" from my local metal supply shop. They had great prices (~$400 for the Al for the whole trailer) and were willing to deliver the 5'x12' sheets I ordered.
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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby halfdome, Danny » Mon Jan 31, 2022 7:13 pm

I wouldn't recommend aluminum rolled up from a trucking supply.
My first teardrop I went that route and it was all scratched up.
I use .040 anodized sign makers bright brushed aluminum.
It's beautiful with very little maintenance.
I use Sprayway window cleaner and microfiber towels to clean it.
Look for a sign maker supplier if interested, I think it comes in colors too.
Its 4x10 foot sheets.
I contact cement my aluminum on.
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Last edited by halfdome, Danny on Tue Feb 01, 2022 9:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby Capebuild » Mon Jan 31, 2022 7:23 pm

I purchased my aluminum (.040") from a somewhat local distributor. But if there are no suppliers where you are located, you may want to look into this company
harborsales.net
I don't remember who it was but another member on this forum mentioned them. I looked them up and they seem to have a good supply of aluminum, anodized (silver) as well as colors.
I think they had 5 x 10 sheets in white only. That size seems to be limited to white.
If I remember correctly, I think they were in the Maryland area. I'll go to their site, if I'm geographically "off" I'll report back.
good luck.

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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby DesertApprentice » Tue Feb 01, 2022 1:19 am

Capebuild wrote:I purchased my aluminum (.040") from a somewhat local distributor. But if there are no suppliers where you are located, you may want to look into this company
harborsales.net
I don't remember who it was but another member on this forum mentioned them. I looked them up and they seem to have a good supply of aluminum, anodized (silver) as well as colors.
I think they had 5 x 10 sheets in white only. That size seems to be limited to white.
If I remember correctly, I think they were in the Maryland area. I'll go to their site, if I'm geographically "off" I'll report back.
good luck.

John


Thank you so much for your response John! I managed to get the 5x10' 040 aluminum sheeting from a local sign shop. Now I got a new worry about bending the aluminum sheet.
I have never worked with aluminum before. As shown below, my naive thinking was to use one sheet to cover from point 1 through 5 (approx. 101") with 3 bending points (2, 3, 4). I don't have a bending machine. Will this be a problem with the 040 aluminum sheeting?
I also intend to build a hatch that spans from point 5 to point 7. I'm not sure where to place the hinge, also point 6 is a sharp bending point, not sure whether that's a problem.
sheet-bending.png
sheet-bending.png (334.66 KiB) Viewed 183 times
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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby tony.latham » Tue Feb 01, 2022 10:47 am

I've always built traditionally curved teardrops. Three have been sheathed with .040 aluminum. But, I can't believe you will be able to bend it without a brake and have it look okay.

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The stuff is stiff.

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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby lfhoward » Tue Feb 01, 2022 4:00 pm

I had 45° bends in my aluminum to accommodate the front windshield area, and a 90° bend in the rear of the roof. I experimented with wood blocks and a hammer, and it looked awful. Then I borrowed a sheet metal brake from a roofer friend. It was not strong enough to bend 0.040 aluminum (roofing aluminum is thinner). I ended up taking it to a local machine shop and paying them $50 per bend. Seemed like a lot at the time but not bad in the grand scheme of my build. They came out perfect.

The front bends are visible in this pic.
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Re: What's recommended thickness for aluminum skin?

Postby DesertApprentice » Tue Feb 01, 2022 6:12 pm

Thank you for your reply lfhoward! That's very helpful information. Is your aluminum .040?

Given the potential challenges, I may consider Poor Man's Fiberglass. It's a lot more work, but I don't have to deal with the aluminum bending. I have got a big (late) decision to make.
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