T-Slot Aluminum Extrusion

Excellent structural material for any project. Works great for Machine frames, enclosures, safety guarding, or automation system structure. Available in metric and imperial profiles. Black or clear anodized available. Thousands of accessories and fasteners are available to join extrusion in any configuration. Made of 6105-T5 Aluminum which is light weight, corrosion resistant and a high strength to weight ratio.

Here at CPI, we stock several different profiles of 80/20 aluminum T-slot extrusion at our Mississauga location near Toronto, Ontario, Canada. If you require assistance integrating the extrusion into a design, or are unsure of which accessories/profiles to choose, or you just want to see the aluminum extrusion up close, feel free to call or drop by. On-site design engineering services are available to assist you with your next project.

  • Imperial or metric profiles
  • Dozens of different profile shapes that range as small as 1'' and as high as 45mm
  • T-slot grooves allow for quick fastening options
  • Can be cut-to-length or machined as required

Getting Started with T-Slot Aluminum Extrusion

With the vast array of options and possibilities available with 80/20 T-slot aluminum extrusion, it's often easy to become lost especially when first starting out. Often referred to "Lego for adults", you'll soon find out that similar to Lego, the best way to start is with the basic building blocks and add accessories and additions until you achieve the desired end-product. The below is a quick-start guide to help you on your way.

Choose your Profile

80/20 Aluminum Extrusion makes available dozens of different profiles. Imperial or metric, alignment grooves or smooth, solid or light - there are a dizzying number of options to go with. When you are just starting out, there are two profiles in particular you should try to stick to. Unless otherwise required, try to stick to the 10 series (1" profiles) or the 15 series (1.5" profiles). Staying within these profiles will give you access to the largest selection of accessories that are available for use right off the shelf. Straying into metric profiles is perfectly fine; however, you should be aware that some accessories that you may have had your heart set on at the onset may not be available. Another reason for staying with 10 series and 15 series profiles is that these are the most common profiles stocked by local distributors (Especially CPI). So if you are looking for short lead times, choosing 10 series or 15 series will help you out when you are in a bind.

15 Series profiles stacked

Once you have chosen the "Series" of your profile, you still need to narrow down to a specific profile. Within the series, you often have several choices of size, style, and anodization color. If none of these matter, just stick to the standard basic size, LITE variant, with standard clear anodization. (Ex/ 1515-LITE). The below list details a few of the options that you may want to consider.

  • Size: Within each profile series, you can get extrusions of different cross sectional dimensions. Naturally, larger dimensions will yield better bending and strength performance; however, come at a price premium. Dimensions are always based on the base series size and are in almost all cases integer multiples of the basic series dimension. For example, within the 15 Series profiles, you can elect for a 1515 (1.5" X 1.5") standard basic sized profile, or go to a rectangular 1530 profile (1.5" X 3"). A 3030 (3" X 3") profile is also commonly used for more robust beams within the 15 Series profiles. It is perfectly acceptable to include several profiles within the same series in the same construction. T-slots within a Series are identical and as such you can be confident that accessories that work for one extrusion, will also work for another provided they are from the same series. Mixing extrusions between different series is possible; however, it requires more careful planning and limits the types of accessories you can use. It is strongly recommended that you pick one Series and stick with it within any single build.
  • Style:Within each profile series, you can choose from a few different styles which provide different weight and appearance characteristics. Some of the common ones are LITE: lighter version, S: Smooth outer finish without alignment grooves, LS: A combination of LITE but with a Smooth finish.
  • Color:All 80/20 profiles are finished with an anodization layer with the exception of the ends where they are cut. Standard finish is a clear anodization layer which gives the standard Aluminum finish. Black anodization is available as well. If a special color is required, please contact us directly.
Lots of different profiles to choose from.  These are just a selection of the profile cross-section available within the 15 Series.

Make Your First Joint

If you are looking for a quick and strong joint, the first fastening method we recommend is the End Fastener. The end fastener, made with a simple screw and tab provides a strong joint that resists torsion. It does require two machining operations (i) end tap in the butting extrusion, and (ii) an access hole in the T-slot of the adjoining extrusion.

The humble and simple End Fastener creates a strong and torsion resistant joint in your aluminum extrusion frame.

To make a joint ready for an end fastener, the first thing you need to do is end tap one profile end. For 15 series, the most common end fastener part is the 3380 which has a 5/16-18 thread and a black oxide finish. Tap your profile end with the same threaded tap.

15 Series extrusion with a 5/16-18 Profile end tap

In the other extrusion profile, drill an access hole to allow for hex-wrench access. For 15 series profiles, the diameter of the drilled hole is 0.295"; however, you can make the hole size whatever you wish, as long as it is positioned at the location where you want the center of the adjoining extrusion to go, and it is large enough that a hex wrench can pass through to access the End Fastener's Socket Head Cap Screw.

A .295

Hand tighten the end fastener in the first profile end such that the tap is still loose.

An end fastener is loaded into the end of the aluminum extrusion profile.

Slide the end fastener tab into the adjoining extrusion's T-slot until the End Fastener's screw head aligns with the centre of the access hole. Once you have the extrusions positioned, insert your hex wrench into the hole and tighten the end fastener for a strong butt joint. Here we see 3 extrusions meeting at a corner of a frame using only end fasteners.

An Aluminum Extrusion corner joined together with end fasteners.

Buy T-Slot Aluminum Extrusion Now

To purchase products immediately, check out our Web Store for a selection of products, or contact us directly at sales@cpiautomation.com.

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