Electronics > Mechanical & Automation Engineering

Next GENERIC sizes up from 2020 Aluminium Extrusion

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Extruded aluminium T slot/V slot profiles come in a huge number of varieties, but some varieties in particular are really common, made by lots of different manufacturers and have absolutely loads of different accessory parts (corner joints, specially sized slot nuts wiith the spring loaded ball, end caps, 45 degree connectors, 3d corner joints,...).

I'd like to know what the next common size up from this is, but it seems most of the other sizes become very manufacturer specific, harder to find and with a lot less choice of accessories available (I know I could 3d print any plastic accessories to whatever size I needed, but that won't help for where I'd need the strength of metal ones). Furthermore at larger sizes the actual shape of the profile becomes quite varied and non-standardised, with different shaping and sizings of the slot, even when the outside-most dimensions of the beam are the same.

What are the next generically produced and seemingly standardised sizes up from 20mmx20mm, particularly with a focus on increased strength and rigidity (whether some sort of single slot by single slot or multiples of 20x20 are better for this I'm not sure) for use in the frame of a semi-lightweight CNC machine.


For metric sizes: 20x20, 20x40, 20x60, 25x25, 40x40, 45x45, 50x50, 60x60, etc.

I would say 20, 30, 40, 45 are most common and you can easily find accessories.

Lightweight and CNC (routing / milling) do not go well together. Accessories (corner brackets etc) also do not always fit between brands. Instead of attempting to figure out "what sizes do exist", choose a manufacturer or store that can deliver to where you are (or you can pick up yourself) and then just stay with one brand of profiles. Some manufacturers have a limited set of sizes, while others may have thin/medium/heavy variants in the same size (and this varies the wall thickness of the profiles).

But overall, your choice should be guided with what you need to achieve the size of your CNC machine with the required stiffness.

Personally I do not like aluminum profiles all that much. They are much more expensive then steel, and not much "lighter". Do realize that Young's modulus for aluminum is just one third of that of steel. Which means that if you have for example a 40x40mm profile, an aluminum profile would need thrice the wall thickness compared to a steel profile to achieve the same stiffness. and thus it would be even heavier then steel. This makes aluminum a bad choice for a CNC machine, because stiffness is very important for a CNC machine. The reason you see so much aluminium used in consumer market CNC machines, is only because it's easy and quick to make a machine out of it. But in general those are not very good machines.


The next generic size from 20mm is 1" (24mm)  , then 30mm, next is 1-1/4" (31.75mm) .... etc.
You will find all the sizes in Height, Widths and profiles here:
You will also discover all the materials and coatings they are available in and corners, covers, brackets and mounting hardware etc......

"Personally I do not like aluminum profiles all that much"
The trouble is, I'm not aware of steel sections being sold with the same sort of profiles with slotting for easy fitting of nuts and such, with steel you're pretty much restricted to square sections, I beams, L cross-sections and round bars aren't you?


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