Advice on fabbing a metal panel

I am about to have a bunch of panels cut so I can use them for customs. I have a bunch questions for all you custom stick makers.

I want to emulate the TE top panel either out of aluminum or stainless steel.

My main questions are what would be better stainless steel or aluminum. Also, I wanted to be able to incorporate a universal mounting plate . The TE plate is welded im hoping not to have to do that.

So , what do you all think is the best route. I will be able to make many of these once I figure out the details. Hopefully I can do it soon with the help of you all.

Thanks in advance…

“Fabbing” sounds delightfully gay. :angel:

I’m pretty sure that aluminum is wayyyy easier to cut. I don’t think its reduced durability, as compared to the steel, makes it any worse of a material for our purposes. We’re not building tanks, haha. It will be lighter though! That may be a good thing to you and it may not be, but you can always do other things to make the stick heavier if you want.

Nobody sells universal mounting plates, as far as I know; if you want one you’ll have to make it yourself. Nothing short of welding or screwing will fasten it strongly enough, either.

Why does it have to be stainless steel instead or regular steel? I vote regular steel, since most would probably add some art over it anyways. Also, non-stainless steel is cheaper, stronger and heavier than aluminum.

Also, if you can’t get some mounting plates manufactured to go with your panels, I question your your ability to provide a quality product.

Thanks for the advice. This is mainly for myself, but I am going to do roughly 10 panels when I go into do it. I was also thinking of having my own mounting plate made as well, but need advice on incorporating it into the design. I want the top panel to be nice and clean with no screws visible.

The story is ,a friend of mine has access to a shop with some sort of water jet in it. With this jet he can either etch a design on to a surface or totally cut out pieces of whatever out of whatever. Through the shop I can get whatever material I need at wholesale.

Im gonna try to stay away from reposting tonight as I have now had a few beers. Thanks again.

Deadfrog speaks the truth. Aluminum is way easier to cut, and you can actually cut it like plexiglass by scoring with a plexi-knife or with a table saw using a blade with a very high tooth-count (safety goggles for real though).

Also, you would really have to lean on it to get any kind of deflection, which is unlikely given the application. I never get any bending on my sticks. Also, I can tell you from experience that stainless steel rusts up like a son-of-a-bitch. Sanding that shit out isn’t fun, and even fingerprints will leave rust it if not wiped. Aluminum doesn’t need to be treated to avoid rust.

Also, Aluminum is cheaper. Like half the cost for the same amount of material. Or free if you don’t mind stealing signs late at night/early in the morning.

Short version: Aluminum ftw.

you can get it water cut too.

Only shit aluminum can be scored with a knife. Who’d build a stick with such low quality material that can be scored with a knife?!?!?

Aluminum may not rust, but it corrodes, is weak, easier to pit, and paint doesn’t stick well without serious preparation. There’s a reason none of the mass produced stick makers use it.

Steel ftmfw

Not like it’ll come to fruition anyway…
Prove me wrong.

Might as well spring and go for Titanium. If anyone has owned a titanium zippo they know that the longer you have it the more “customized” it becomes. It’s really awesome.

You’re not going to paint it? I would say go for aluminum, it might not be as strong as stainless but it is still strong enough. Brushed aluminum is really badass too and you could leave that uncoated as the top plate.

Don’t forget to post some pictures of whatever you end up doing :tup:


Aluminum oxidizes yes but the oxide doesn’t seperate from the aluminum so it doesn’t act like rust, the surface underneath will not continue to oxidize like steel. Besides, the oxide will usually protect the aluminum surface. It’s a much better surface if he uses it uncoated. If he wishes to paint it though there are better alternatives.

Aluminum corrosion does not occur like steel but instead, it turns to powder. Don’t confuse natural oxidation, anodization and corrosion.

Aluminum does oxidize in the air, but the oxides form more or less a protective barrier for the rest of the aluminum, and does not really ‘corrode’.

When steel oxidizes, it rusts and flakes off.

Also, aluminum is way easier to machine, and why would you ever need a steel plate anyways? The difference in hardness/strength isn’t going to matter unless your box is doubling as a bullet shield.

Everyone , thanks for the insight. So what do you guys think I can do about the mounting plate issue. Like I said before I want to panel to be clean, with no holes and what not.

This is true. I did use the lowest grade I could find because it was mad cheap. Like $10 for a 1’ X 2’ sheet of .62 that gave me 3 top decks. But it really does hold fast given any amount of abuse you could dish out so long as you add like one or two pieces of extra blocking like I did.

There’s a thread around with detailed pics of someone using JB weld to mount bolts to the underside of a metal panel. I don’t want to look for the thread, but I can attest that it works pretty damn well.

Get a muffler shop or fab shop to weld them on or just countersink the screw holes. Most muffler shops only weld steel…

Ok, if you’re gonna add plexi and art, aluminum will work just fine. If you’re a man, steel is the way to go:wgrin:

Thenon conductive nature of aluminum means that electroplating would be a no go if you went that way. :frowning:

I don’t know where you learned that aluminum is non-conductive but that’s wrong. I don’t know if electroplating works well on aluminum but it is much more conductive then steel.

Shit, you’re right. The casing on an iPod is aluminum, isn’t it? And I know about electroplating some iPods.