Rapid Custom ManufacturingRapid Custom Manufacturing

Aluminum Machined and Anodized Prototype

Project Overview:

Manufacturing Process: CNC Machining
Part Material: Aluminum 6061-T6
Part Dimensions: 390.00 × 213.00 × 130.00 mm
Surface Finishing: Sanding, Threading, Anodizing Blue
Manufacturing Tolerance: ± 0.1 mm
Quantity and Lead Time: 1 Unit, 7 Days

Customer was a western Australia company offering professional service and engineered solutions for fluid systems around the world. This aluminum prototype was made to test its liquid pressure and fitting before low volume manufacturing. Considering big dimensions and multi-sided milling, shape stability and milling tolerance were the key points.
CNC Aluminum Machining CNC Prototyping Step By Step:

CNC machining the first side. As an subtractive manufacturing process, the base material in block to be milled was usually 3 cm longer & wider and 1 cm higher than the part dimensions. It usually started from coarse milling by big and strong cutting tools to fast remove the unwanted material, to gradually smaller tools to mill the fine and detailed features.

CNC machining the second side. For 3 axis CNC multi-sided milled part, the workpiece was rotated manually and repositioned accurately to be milled side by side. 5 sides (usually 6 sides of a part) of this prototype were rotated to be milled. An ABS fixture (the bottom yellow one) was used to prevent the workpiece deformation during machining. CNC Aluminum Milling
CNC Milling AluminumCNC machining the third side. The main shape of this aluminum prototype came out after completion of the third side's milling. The fourth side was to mill the 6 holes at the bottom of the prototype.
CNC Machining AluminumCNC machining the fifth side. One of two deep holes on this side was bored instead of milling as it was out of milling capability. Threading 1-1/2" BSPT was for sealability and was done also by boring.
Aluminum Machined PrototypeThe CNC milled prototype prior to surface finishing. All cutting lines and burrs on the milled surface were removed by sanding, then proceeded with the further finishing of beadblasting and anodizing.
Aluminum AnodizingThe final finishing of anodizing blue. The anodized film provided aesthetic feeling and corrosion & abrasion resistance for the part, different colors and glosses could be achieved by aluminum anodizing.

Aluminum Milled and Anodized Prototype The finished aluminum prototype for delivery. After finishing liquid pressure and fitting test of the finished prototype, customer was confident to proceed with the low volume manufacturing of 10 units shortly.

The aluminum material quality was the important precondition to have a quality aluminum milled & anodized prototype as the material composition considerably affected the anodizing quality. Generally, 6061/6063 and 5052 were the preferred types of aluminum material for anodizing finishing.