Considering that aluminum is the most abundant metal in Earth’s crust, it should come as little surprise that its use in the industrial world is equally abundant. From transportation and packaging to computer casings and household goods, you will find aluminum everywhere, and often in plain sight.
In recent years, manufacturers have even made it possible for the average person to take aluminum into their own hands and configure it to individual needs, thanks to T-slot aluminum extrusions and related accessories.
Sturdy, custom-designed aquarium stands are lately among the most popular fabrications, but those just scratch the surface of what is possible. Meet a few of the projects that caught our eye, and the people from across the country who have used extruded T-slot aluminum profiles to make their living space creatively conducive to their needs.
Vertical Bike Stand
Jim, 49, Morningside, Atlanta, GA
An avid bicyclist, Jim rises early every morning and heads to the Atlanta Beltline Eastside trail on weekdays. On weekends, when Atlantans flock to the Beltline, he prefers the quieter Westside Beltline spur.
The garage space in Jim’s Morningside home is limited. To solve the issue of storing his prized bikes in limited space, Jim used aluminum T-slots to create a vertical bike stand to hang his gear against the back wall of his garage. The inexpensive DIY installation using T-slots and magnetic tape was a no-brainer that took only a couple hours of work. Belying its lightness, aluminum is a strong material, and Jim doesn’t have to worry about the weight of the extra stuff his wife hangs on the rack (in spite of his disgruntlement!).
Selina, 32, Smyrna, GA
A software designer, Selina is naturally also an avid coffee drinker. She lives in a condo next to the Chattahoochee Coffee Company (a hidden gem) along the Chattahoochee River. Inspired by her nature-loving neighbors, she recently bought a kayak and was faced with the issue of storage. To solve the problem, she built a functional rack with easy-to-configure aluminum T-slot extrusions. The durable, non-corrosive nature of aluminum makes it ideal for an outdoor rack exposed to the elements.
Agnes, 64, Asheville, NC:
For her age, Agnes is in excellent shape. She does yoga every morning and likes to garden before noon. Daylilies, hibiscus and cannas thrive under her watchful care. As anyone with a love for plants knows, constant care is the key to cultivating beautiful foliage. Agnes’s husband, Dave, a retired firefighter, helps with hauling soil and mulch.
To make his task easier, Agnes suggested building a cart to transport heavy materials. Together, they fashioned a sturdy, lightweight cart out of aluminum T-slot profiles, made mobile with a set of smooth-rolling swivel casters. Backaches are now a thing of the past!
Elizabeth, 36, Rochester, NY
Elizabeth grew up on a farm in Ohio and loves the outdoors. She likes to gather her family around a picnic table in her backyard for supper on pleasant evenings. She recently had her deck redone—spending more than she had planned—and was left with only a modest sum for a new picnic table. She and her brother, Michael, decided to build a table using aluminum for the base and the leftover decking for the tabletop. Using just a few tools, they were able to assemble the frame with aluminum T-slot extrusions, cross bars, and joint supports. Inspired by a picture of a picnic table Elizabeth had seen in a recent issue of ELLE Decor, they installed a removable bin in the center that could be used to hold ice and drinks, fruit, or flowers. Functional, beautiful and long-lasting, the T-slot aluminum picnic table is the pièce de résistance of Elizabeth’s deck.
Stephanie, 46, Sherman, CT
Stephanie, a mother of three, lives in what she refers to as a “private oasis” by a lake. But it takes a lot to keep her home organized and clean—what with her children running wild and free in and out of the house all day! She has been on the lookout for an entryway bench for the mudroom, where everyone can hang their jackets, hats, and bookbags, and store their boots. But the compact benches available from Restoration Hardware and Crate & Barrel are much too expensive. As a summer project—in time for school in the fall—Stephanie and her family are building an entryway bench. Long aluminum T-slot profiles form the frame of the tall structure. A wire mesh fits between the t-slots with a panel gasket—perfect for dirt and water to fall onto the large tray underneath.
Summer is the perfect time to invest in DIY projects in and around the house. Entice little ones to participate. Remember how Tom Sawyer made painting a fence look like the most fun activity in the whole wide world? Aluminum T-slots are the versatile “bones” you and your family can build upon without needing too many tools. Try constructing a cornhole bean bag toss game set for outdoor and indoor fun for all ages, or a T-slot aluminum bookshelf to aesthetically stack your favorite summer reads. With Framing Tech T-slot aluminum kits, you can let your imagination run wild!