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Unread 11-19-2013, 12:32 PM   #1
grandboost98
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Aluminum Armor

I have a chance to put my Jeep on a diet by having a friend make me some rockers and bumpers in 6061 1/4" thick aluminum. The rockers will be easy, theyre going to be 5"x3". He seemed skeptical that an aluminum bumper would hold up to a lot of tugging though but hes used to full size lifted fords on 40s...

After looking at some designs from other companies it seems as though some use a steel sub structure or are all aluminum but have bolt on steel shackles mounts and other accessories rather than welded.

Can anyone tell me exactly how I should have him build them? Is TIG welding the shackle tabs on bad? And would I be able to mount a winch directly to an aluminum front bumper or would I still have to run a mounting plate?


TIA!

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Unread 11-19-2013, 11:08 PM   #2
Shadownwpa
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I wouldn't bother with aluminum, just my opinion but I'd want something more stout and easy to work with. Also... unlike metals corrode each other, beware.
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Unread 11-19-2013, 11:44 PM   #3
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1/4" 6061 will be more than adequate for both of those applications.

Yes, you can mount a winch directly to it, yes you can TIG weld shackle tabs (not sure why you think that would be "bad"), and yes you can tug on all of the big trucks on 40s you want to.

This is assuming the recovery points are where they should be and a little thought is put into the bumper design.
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Unread 11-20-2013, 05:58 AM   #4
grandboost98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadownwpa View Post
I wouldn't bother with aluminum, just my opinion but I'd want something more stout and easy to work with. Also... unlike metals corrode each other, beware.
I plan to keep steel for skids underneath but I think aluminum will be fine on top and help the 4 banger move around better. But thanks for the heads up on corrosion, Ill have to look into that more as well

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imped View Post
1/4" 6061 will be more than adequate for both of those applications.

Yes, you can mount a winch directly to it, yes you can TIG weld shackle tabs (not sure why you think that would be "bad"), and yes you can tug on all of the big trucks on 40s you want to.

This is assuming the recovery points are where they should be and a little thought is put into the bumper design.
Thank you for your input. I see you have aluminum armor and its good to hear from someone with personal experience.

I was doing some research and, while Im no expert on the subject, I read that welding 6061 will weaken it to the strength of 5052. Not sure how detrimental that really is though. I assume thats why most aluminum bumpers are mainly bent with only the end caps being welded. And why I only saw a couple that had the shackle tabs welded on.

I assume the recovery points would be located closest to the mounting location and should be welded front and back or I guess bolted as other companies seem to do.

I took off my current rear bumper last night for him to use as an idea and measure out all the mounting locations. Ill be dropping it off to him today after work so if you or anyone else could explain any details that I could tell him to improve the design, that would be great!

Thanks again!
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Unread 11-20-2013, 12:09 PM   #5
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I'm assuming that you are planning in using 6061 T6. While it can be welded, the strength of the material around the weld will be significantly decreased (from what I remember, it is around a 70% - 80% decrease). You can have it heat treated to bring it back up however.

I wouldn't use then as recovery points without having them heat treated after welding.
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Unread 11-20-2013, 12:25 PM   #6
grandboost98
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rchase559 View Post
I'm assuming that you are planning in using 6061 T6. While it can be welded, the strength of the material around the weld will be significantly decreased (from what I remember, it is around a 70% - 80% decrease). You can have it heat treated to bring it back up however.
Correct, he would be using 1/4" 6061. I did read somewhere that welding decreases the strength down to 5052 but that didnt mean too much to me. 70-80% does and thats a big difference

Quote:
I wouldn't use them as recovery points without having them heat treated after welding.
Knowing that now, I will look into bolt on shackle tabs and only have the end caps welded on. Im not sure but I dont think they do any heat treating there. I could be wrong though
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Unread 11-20-2013, 12:45 PM   #7
rchase559
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grandboost98
Correct, he would be using 1/4" 6061. I did read somewhere that welding decreases the strength down to 5052 but that didnt mean too much to me. 70-80% does and thats a big difference Knowing that now, I will look into bolt on shackle tabs and only have the end caps welded on. Im not sure but I dont think they do any heat treating there. I could be wrong though
You don just buy 6061. There is another designation after it (T0, T4, T6, etc) that signifies it's temper. Some companies will do custom tempers but that is typically not something you'd get when ordering from your local metal supplier.

5052 is the same way. There is a temper associated with it.

These tempers will affect the materials properties including the yield strength and ultimate tensile strength. One cannot simply compare the strengths of 6061 to 5052 without knowing what the temper of each is.

Just some food for thought.
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Unread 11-20-2013, 01:06 PM   #8
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Like I said earlier, Im no expert on the subject, so thank you for explaining more to me. My area of expertise is electrical. Ive only done a little research over the past couple days on the subject and have not went in that deep yet. I did not ask what T rating they use there but I will ask today when I drop off my bumper
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Unread 12-18-2013, 12:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by grandboost98
Like I said earlier, Im no expert on the subject, so thank you for explaining more to me. My area of expertise is electrical. Ive only done a little research over the past couple days on the subject and have not went in that deep yet. I did not ask what T rating they use there but I will ask today when I drop off my bumper
I have some GenRight corner blanks made from 6061. Not sure which temper. After cutting the wheel opening out, I wanted to make a transmission tunnel out of the left over. I couldn't bend it. Took it to a shop with a 20 ton press and could only flex it. No concern about strength. Mine was only 3/16
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Unread 12-18-2013, 01:22 PM   #10
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Wow, thats good to hear. Although the strength issue only comes up after being welded, without proper heat treatment


Its still in the fab shop. Ill be sure to update the thread when I get it!
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Unread 12-18-2013, 10:55 PM   #11
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The 3/8th inch thick AL bumpers on my truck I ran out in the oil patch had cut outs around the recovery points (which were made out of steel)for heavy pulls and the recovery points were tied into the frame. Of course you are talking about a truck that weighed in at a hair under 200,000# though. Every ounce counts!
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Unread 02-13-2014, 07:17 AM   #12
grandboost98
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Well I picked up my old bumper and had a talk with him. He told me he tried a few times to bend a 90* for the rockers but whenever he came close, the aluminum would crack. He said he took down all the measurements he needs incase they get some different material to use but for now it looks like a bust
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Unread 02-13-2014, 04:09 PM   #13
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I know for pounding out a gas tank (for a motorcycle), you anneal the aluminum with a sooty torch flame to remove the heat treat. You then work the metal to the shape you want. When it's all said and done, you should be able to have it re-heat treated to strengthen it.

Probably need to do something similar for bending the sliders... or bend them with a really big radius.
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Unread 02-13-2014, 06:04 PM   #14
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Might be easier to start with an Aluminum L angle?
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Unread 02-13-2014, 11:30 PM   #15
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6061-t6, when happens to be the most common temper of this grade, does not like to bend because of that temper. It will crack every time like that. If your forming it I would go go straight to 5052 which won't be tempered. The strength will have to come from the design.
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