Expanding the Limits of Miniature Aluminum Extrusions

Aluminum Products and 0 comment.

People ask us some great questions all the time: What is the thinnest wall you can extrude? I need ±.001″ tolerances, can you hold that? What’s the largest part you can make? And one of our favorites; What are miniature extrusions?

Historically miniature extrusions looked like the examples below. These are parts that Profile Precision produced in the 1990’s. In fact, we still produce the one in the middle today!

Miniature parts were loosely defined as;

  • fitting inside a 2″ diameter circle
  • weigh less than ¼ lb per foot
  • dimensional tolerances down to ±.001″

As with all industries, design engineers keep pushing the envelope. Manufacturing has a choice to keep up or be left behind, the latter a camp no one wants to be a part of. In 2007 Profile Precision Extrusions purchased a new extrusion press that expanded the definition, and product base, of miniature extrusion. Parts that fit into a 3.5″ diameter circle and weighing up to 1.5 lbs/foot were possible AND precision tolerances were still possible. Two great examples are shown below. One is from the paintball industry which is the raw material for a paintball gun barrel. By holding the ID to ±.001″ the customer no longer had to hone the ID to size. Saving manufacturing time and reducing the manufacturing cost. The extrusion on the right goes into a Boeing 787. The customer needed the parts to be very straight and no twist. Working over the course of 6 months a process was developed to meet their exacting, and now possible, requirements.

It’s no surprise that the engineers and designers continued to come up with new aluminum extrusions and extruded shapes to manufacture. It’s also no surprise that they wanted larger parts with miniature extrusion tolerances. More precise parts are less costly to machine, assemble, and perform better over time. In 2016 Profile Precision again invested in a new extrusion press. “Miniature” aluminum extrusion tolerances are now possible on parts the fit a 4” diameter circle and weigh up to 2.0 lbs/foot. The design on the left is part of a new revolutionary exercise bike. The one on the right goes into a famous car manufactured in California.

Here at Profile Precision Extrusions we are a little like the old Doritos commercial that said, “crunch all you want, we’ll make more.” Profile Precision will keep making precision miniature aluminum extrusions, no matter what the definition may be. Contact us today with your precision aluminum extrusion or extruded aluminum tube design. Profile Precision Extrusions would love to help with your unique challenge!