It you haven't post this question on
The answer depends on the alloy & the heat treatment as well as the wall
I would suggest that you use an extruded tube of 6061-T6 or 6063-T6 rather than
machining from a solid rod.
You could easily go down to ~.030 wall (or thinner) depending on the length of
the tube & the operating environment.
1" OD x .035 wall x 3' $9ea
Thanks for the skinny on this, but I have to start with a solid rod
as one end of this piece is pipe threaded to fit into
another cylinder and at the other end there's a semi-hollow cone--
the whole thing being no longer than three inches in length and with
an OD of 0.500 inches.
There are other ways to make the connection to the threaded piece; adhesive on
a slip fit, a press fit or a shrink fit. Machining to a thin wall is possible
but not first choice of a production system.
If you want something that works & can be made in production you need an
If you're just prototyping continue to iterate.
Bob, it's just a silly project, a sophisticated toy. Ten years ago I
first saw the BBC show Doctor Who and fell in love with it. It was
campy and cheap, but it had charm. I was particularly fascinated by
the good Doctor's sonic screwdriver and I set out to build one. It
took two years me two years working out the acoustics end, but when
it was done it could produce
143 dB of sound that could turn screws from a few inches or keys in
a door from about a foot away (the door has a bigger surface area)..
It was a brilliant piece of engineering that nobody else has done
before or since. But things happened and I lost it; lost the
screwdriver and all of the files on it were either corrupted or lost
as well. Ten years later the electronics have improved,
piezo-ceramic materials have improved, and I decided to
reconstruct the screwdriver from memory and while I'm
at, make a few improvements.
There have been enough companies and people who have
made mock-up versions of the screwdriver, lathed out of a single
piece of aluminum; but since this version houses batteries and
electronics, there are four main pieces that screw together
via pipe threads. The pipe threads add a degree of ruggedness plus
the finished project looked better, being constructed out
of different sections rather than one long cut piece. Most of it was
schedule 40 aluminum pipe or 1" aluminum rod, but there were also
sections made out of copper tubing and brass.
It was a neat little toy. If it was ever marketed it would be
sold by The Sharper Image people for an incredibly high
amount. And it will probably cost me an arm and a leg to build it
again given the cost of machine works these days,
Another thought -
does it _have_ to be aluminum?
you could possibly get good results with steel / stainless steel.
If you go this route, you could do tons of prototypes with 1" bolts for not
I carry reading glasses in my pocket in an aluminum tube case. The case
is about 0.9 inches in diameter and the thin wall is on the order of
0.02 inches thick (0.5 mm by cheap measuring device).
There are a few dents in the tube, so I would suggest you take 1 mm
(0.040 inches) as a rough guide.
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