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Old 05-17-2009, 06:23 PM
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Aluminum question

Does anyone know anything about different kinds of aluminum? I just got a set of letters that go in my tailgate where "Super Duty" is stamped across the bottom. They are billett T6 aircraft aluminum. They look like chrome now but will they corrode or discolor over time or will they stay shiny like my T440 exhaust tip? If they're gonna discolor, I think I wanna get them clear coated before I put them on. Can anyone help me?
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:34 PM
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If you want them to stay shiny, clear coat them. More than likely they're made out of 6061 T6, which is a very, very common aluminum grade and it will dull. The dulling is the formation of aluminum oxide on the surface but unlike steel, it will not penetrate the base metal. That's why you have to polish aluminum on a regular basis to keep it shiny.

Sorry about the long answer to a simple question.
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelongbed View Post
Does anyone know anything about different kinds of aluminum? I just got a set of letters that go in my tailgate where "Super Duty" is stamped across the bottom. They are billett T6 aircraft aluminum. They look like chrome now but will they corrode or discolor over time or will they stay shiny like my T440 exhaust tip? If they're gonna discolor, I think I wanna get them clear coated before I put them on. Can anyone help me?
T6 is the heat treatment level. Most likely the alloy is 6061, so what you've probably got is 6061-T6. This alloy is commonly used in aircraft. It's polished up right now, but unless it's got a clear coat, either Chemfilm, anodize, or even some kind of paint or powdercoat, it will oxidize over time.

For that matter, the letters could be chrome plated. Chrome plating doesn't seem to last as long on aluminum as it does steel, but if you keep it clean and wax on it you'll probably get tired of them before the chrome deteriorates.
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Old 05-17-2009, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Jason812 View Post
If you want them to stay shiny, clear coat them. More than likely they're made out of 6061 T6, which is a very, very common aluminum grade and it will dull. The dulling is the formation of aluminum oxide on the surface but unlike steel, it will not penetrate the base metal. That's why you have to polish aluminum on a regular basis to keep it shiny.

Sorry about the long answer to a simple question.
That's ok, it was a useful answer. Now to my next quesion. They have a protective covering over them. I peeled part of one of them back to see what they looked like. It left a little of the sticky stuff on the corner of the letter. What should I clean the sticky off with that won't mess them up before they get clear coated? (Hope that makes sense )
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:12 PM
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WD-40 cures everything.
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:16 PM
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WD-40 cures everything.
I assume that it won't hurt anything?
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Old 05-17-2009, 07:26 PM
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It shouldn't. The rag, towel, or sponge will probalby do more damage. As for what to use to apply the WD-40, I have no idea. Finger maybe? You can spay the surface of an aluminum part with WD-40 before you finish mill the face and it helps make it purty. I've heard of guys using it to wash bugs and tar off of cars, so I don't think the WD-40 itself will hurt the finish.

I don't know if mineral spirits will hurt the finish either. I don't think it will. Might want to see what the company that made the emblems recommends.

Wasn't there a thread on the uses of WD-40? I know the oil in it is a type of fish oil.
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Old 05-17-2009, 08:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitelongbed View Post
Does anyone know anything about different kinds of aluminum? I just got a set of letters that go in my tailgate where "Super Duty" is stamped across the bottom. They are billett T6 aircraft aluminum. They look like chrome now but will they corrode or discolor over time or will they stay shiny like my T440 exhaust tip? If they're gonna discolor, I think I wanna get them clear coated before I put them on. Can anyone help me?
Magnets won't stick to it.
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Old 05-18-2009, 02:54 PM
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Magnets won't stick to it.
Guess I won't be putting them on then
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Old 05-18-2009, 03:04 PM
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Magnets will stick to them if you glue them onthe back of the letters, just use magnetic sheet and cut the letter shapes out of it. I used that to stick PSD decals to the side of my toolbox at work, and a whole bunch of letters that are usually arranged in nasty messages by my fellow welders.
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