For manufacturers who frequently work with aluminum and other metals, being able to distinguish between and properly select the right materials for their specific tasks is of paramount importance. Not only is aluminum highly sought after because of the tremendous diversity of its alloys, but its amazing versatility allows for all kinds of shapes, sizes, and use cases. However, because of the complicated naming conventions and the wide variety of brand names, even experts can sometimes get confused regarding the different aluminum products available on the market.
This is especially true when comparing aluminum 6061 T651 rolled plate and cast tool & jig plate. Although they are different products, rolled 6061 T651 had a previous trade name of type 200 tooling plate. This has led to a great deal of uncertainty and frequent purchasing mistakes, as many manufacturers confuse the term tooling plate and cast tooling plate.
However, they are two completely different products. Cast tooling plate, cast tool & jig plate, and CT & J all refer to cast aluminum products, which is not at all similar to rolled plate. The truth is that you need to be aware that there are many crucial differences between 6061 T651 rolled plate and cast tool and jig plate.
What Is Cast Tool And Jig Plate?
The term cast tool & jig plate, also referred to as CT & J, is a generic designation that includes several types of plate. For example, Clinton carries both Vista ATP-5 and Alpase K100-S cast plates. These are plates made from a modified 5083 aluminum alloy. There is little difference between these two plates, except for the flatness deviation, which only comes into play on thicknesses that are 5/8” or greater.
For all intents and purposes, it’s possible to lump the various CT&J plates together. Obviously, when it comes time for a purchasing decision, you will need to examine the differences closely to match your application’s requirements with the perfect grade, but broadly speaking, when comparing cast tooling plate to 6061 T651, we can make a number of generalizations.
CT & J is a good option when stringent flatness tolerances and dimensional control are a consideration. CT&J plate like what we offer at Clinton Aluminum is made using a precise machined finish that has extremely tight thickness and flatness tolerances, especially when you are comparing it to rolled plate alloys like 6061 T651. CT & J also has excellent weldability, anodizing qualities, and corrosion resistance, while also being vacuum and pressure integrity guaranteed.
Industries, where you are likely to find CT & J in frequent use, include the automotive & aerospace industries, as well as in plastic molds including injection and blow molds, and assembly and machining jigs.
What About 6061 T651 Rolled Plate?
According to the Aluminum Association, flat-rolled products, such as sheet, plate, and foil account for the largest volume of aluminum bought in the United States by a wide margin. Rolled aluminum is more common than all other options, including castings, extrusions, wire, rod, bar, forgings, and more.
Aluminum sheet is amazingly versatile, and after being rolled it becomes suitable for a great number of finishing, fabrication, and joining processes. In general, it is rectangular in cross-section and is at least .25 inches thick, with sheared or sawed edges. It can come either flat or coiled, with a wide variety of shapes and fabrications. Surface treatments can be added as desired.
In particular, Type 200 Tooling Plate was the original trade name from Alcoa for what is now known as 6061 T651 rolled plate. This heat-treated alloy plate is harder and more machinable than many other aluminums. To achieve the T651 temper, the material must be solution heat-treated, stress relieved, and artificially aged. The metal then has to be stretched according to the desired wrought product.
6061 T651 has many common uses, such as in watercraft, including sailboats and canoes, motor vehicle bodies, scaffolding, transmission towers, furniture, chemical equipment, marine applications, and hardware.
What is the comparison between CT & J and 6061 T651?
A careful look at the respective properties of cast tool and jig plate and 6061 T651 rolled plate shows the following:
The thickness tolerance for CT & J is within .005 inches, while for 6061 T651 it varies according to the thickness. The flatness deviation for CT & J is within .015 inches from .25 to .50 inches. Above 5/8 of an inch, it is within .005 inches. For 6061 T651 it is 3/16 of an inch for thicknesses between .25 and 3 inches. From 3 to 8 inches, the deviation is 1/8 of an inch.
The typical yield strength for CT & J is 18 ksi, while for 6061 T651 it is 40 ksi. The typical tensile strength for the former is 41 ksi, and for the latter, it is 45 ksi. Their elongation in 2 inches is 12-15% and 12%, respectively. There are minimal differences between their densities, but CT & J has a Brinell hardness of 70, while for 6061 T651 it is 95. The thermal conductivity is 81 btu/ft for the former, and 1160 btu/ft for the latter.
They each have excellent welding characteristics, but CT & J has better anodizing and machinability properties.
Choosing between the many options for aluminum alloys and grades can be tough. That’s why it’s important to consult with experts whose job it is to make sure you succeed. At Clinton Aluminum, our motto has always been the right material for the job. We do more than just sell products. We partner with our customers to ensure their long-term competitiveness.
Our service technicians take pride in helping our customers find the best alloy for any particular job. To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of 6061 T651, get in touch with one of our friendly and knowledgeable representatives today.