The Aluminum Sourcing Saga

Hey all! Sorry we’ve been so slow on the updates lately! There’s been a lot going on both good and bad! Kyle has been traveling a ton for his job the last few weeks so progress has slowed a bit. But, we’ve also had a couple of other small issues.

First, the sheet of aluminum that we ordered from Discount Steel for the street-side lower rear panel looked funny when it arrived. It’s the piece that we shared the video of Kyle cutting a couple weeks ago. It was dull, wouldn’t shine, and it seemed to look the same on both sides. It also didn’t match the piece that we had laser cut for the rear.

Upon further inspection, it was marked on the back, 2024 T3 BARE. That means that it hasn’t been pure aluminum coated like you get when you receive AlClad material. This is important. The alloy (2024) and heat treating (T3) is important for the strength of the material. But the coating, AlClad vs. Bare is important for the shine. Bare isn’t coated in pure aluminum and therefore it doesn’t ever come to a full shine like all of the other pieces. See the pictures below.

We had been making a small compromise on the material from Discount Steel anyway. They only stocked the 2024 T3 AlClad in .040” where as the original material is .032” in thickness. We’re happy that the rear piece that we had cut was a little thicker as it will be responsible for a little more weight distribution, but for the street-side lower rear panel, it has to be bent a bit and the thinner material will make this much easier.

Problem: Discount Metals can’t get anymore of the AlClad material. Dang it! So now we’re out of luck there.

So, we’ve elected to order from Airparts, an airplane parts supplier, for the aluminum. They’ve been great! However, FedEx, their shipper, is not. FedEx says that the box with the new panel has been delivered, but we didn’t receive anything. So now we have to start the process of tracking down where the heck that piece is. One of these days, we’ll eventually get to close up the exterior of the airstream…. UGH!

Wish us luck!