Every year in the United States (and around the world, for that matter) vast quantities of material, organic and inorganic, are mined, caught, grown, stored, transported, processed, packaged, shipped, warehoused, shipped again, shelved, and eventually sold to the retail buyer who has a need for that product. It is a constantly moving stream requiring physical equipment designed to facilitate the flow of that material through its life cycle, including carts, trucks, workstations, assembly lines, packaging machines, and of course old fashioned human lift-and-carry labor. But there is one other item that should be included in that list—because it is so simple and common as to be invisible, and yet ingenious—and that is the manufacturing flow rack.
500,000 years ago in southern Africa, primitive Homo sapiens first bound stone blades to wooden spears, creating the spearpoint. Spearpoints were revolutionary as weaponry, and as the first “composite tools”—combining components.
— Nicholas R. Longrich
Senior Lecturer in Paleontology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Bath
The Conversation, December 29, 2021:
“How a Handful of Prehistoric Geniuses Launched Humanity’s Technological Revolution”
Last November we wrote about the ways fasteners and other Framing Tech accessories can enhance your extruded aluminum creations. For December, we’ll end the year by focusing specifically on one key category of accessory, namely, aluminum connectors. This particular type of component allows you to take full advantage of the inherently modular nature of extruded aluminum profiles, and makes it possible to create a wide range of sturdy, customized fabrications, from workbenches and aquarium stands to book shelves and industrial machine guards—and whatever else your imagination can conceive of.
When it comes to the kinds of things you can build with extruded 80/20 aluminum profiles, sometimes basic is better. Many of our fabrications are available in standard “kit” form, with set parts, and are delivered to home or office with detailed instructions for assembly. This includes many of our most popular products, e.g.:
But sometimes you need something special and out of the ordinary for your specific needs. It could be just a matter of size, or unique functionality, or particular design features—or even something never before conceived!
It goes by several different terms: T-slot structural framing, T-slotted aluminum extrusions, 80/20 T-slot aluminum building system, and 80/20 framing, among others. The various descriptors used in these terms are fairly straightforward and self-explanatory. Individually we know what aluminum is, not to mention extrusions, systems, T-slot, and framing. But what does 80/20 have to do with any of these?
Believe it or not, there is an answer to that question. And thereby hangs a tale. Continue reading “80/20 Aluminum: What’s In a Name?”
At Framing Technology, Inc., we pride ourselves on the sheer variety of fabricated parts sold directly to customers from our website. Whatever the need or application, more than likely we can provide a ready-made solution with our considerable inventory of types and sizes of T-slotted aluminum extrusions (in both metric and inch profiles) along with related assembly hardware, including:
- Leveling feet, casters, and other frame-to-floor hardware
- Door parts
- Panels and other accessories
Previously we have discussed some of the more practical (if not prosaic) uses of aluminum in our everyday lives, from car manufacturing to building construction to solar panels, and even in robotics. One delightful area we have not touched on yet is the use of aluminum for purely aesthetic purposes: in the making of art.
It’s hard to imagine an elemental metal more suited than aluminum for creating beautiful objects. For one thing, there’s plenty of it: aluminum is the third most abundant element on Earth and the most abundant metal, making up some 8% of the planet’s crust. This durable metal is strong yet light, has a pleasing silvery-white appearance, can be polished to a highly reflective sheen, and is resistant to oxidation and corrosion. Though sometimes a “finicky” metal to work with (due to its relatively low melting point and high heat-conductiveness), it is also a versatile one: it is both ductile and malleable and can easily be molded, extruded, bent, stamped, cut, riveted, and welded. It can even be successfully painted and glued, since finishes and adhesives retain 100% of their strength when bonded to aluminum, thanks to its unique chemical properties.
Given all this, the world should be fairly bursting with astonishing artworks made from aluminum. And yet such treasures are few and far between compared to artworks made with other materials. Continue reading “Everyday Aluminum: Art”