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Need 1/4" Aluminum Honeycomb Panels

Ed T

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I have been using aluminum honeycomb panels in lieu of plywood for floor and seatbacks in my Skybolt project. Same weight but much stronger. Others have obtained this material from Shapiro Metal Supply in St. Louis thru ebay. Supply seems to have dried up from this source. Does anyone have some of this material I can purchase or can anyone recommend a source? Thanks--Ed T
 

billdit

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McMaster Carr shows some in their catalog.
 

Ed T

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Thanks, I did find it on McMaster. Their specs show a 3/8" cell size for the honeycomb core. The panels I have have a smaller cell size, maybe 3/16". Seems like the smaller size would make a firmer, stiffer panel. I believe the panels from Shapiro were surplus from aircraft construction, probably McDonnell-Douglas. I have been told these are used as floor panels in the passenger cabin of commercial aircraft.
 

billdit

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I don't have any experience using it, I just knew McMaster listed it. Do you think you will have any sound vibration issues using that instead of
plywood ? No experience there either , just wondering.
 

footloose

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There is a large outlet of aircraft materials in Wichita . ( Imagine that ) . I don't have numbers , names , or addresses . If Tom Cat is tuned in here , he can probably help out with contact info . He's out of Wichita . Might find what you're lookin for there .
 

Tomcat

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The Yard (yes that’s the name) here in Wichita carries all kinds of surplus material and I know they have had honeycomb core aluminum in the past. Worth giving them a call: (316)-265-4672.
 

Ed T

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Going to give the yard a call. Guess I'll find out one of these days if the vibration of the panels causes any excessive noise. Thanks guys for quick help.
 

James

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Going to give the yard a call. Guess I'll find out one of these days if the vibration of the panels causes any excessive noise. Thanks guys for quick help.
 

James

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Going to give the yard a call. Guess I'll find out one of these days if the vibration of the panels causes any excessive noise. Thanks guys for quick help.
The last time I was at Shapiro I found a 4 x 8 that had pieces cut out. If not 1/4 it might have been the next size larger.So, if K.C. doesn't work out,let me know what size you need and I'll look into it for you.
 

Ed T

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Hi James, Thanks for your offer. The Yard in KC was a dead end. They used to have honeycomb but had none now and no idea if they would ever see more. Like Shapiro, they deal in surplus. Perhaps you can help me find the scraps I need if you visit Shapiro again. Need one piece 1/4" x 24" x 24"; another one 1/4" x 9" x 30" and last 1/4" x 19" x 30". These are minimum dimensions. Again thanks and let me know what you find. I'm in Chicago area--Ed T ([email protected])
 

ndlakesdreamer

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30 years ago when I lived in Wichita, Boeing had a surplus store. I was looking for tools then and always found something to buy. Tomcat or KS7 should know if it's still there.
 

Ed T

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Thanks Bill, may have to use this as my last resort. Driving to St Louis later this week to get a sheet of 2024 from Wicks. Thinking of stopping at Shapiro to see if there's anything lying around like James mentioned in post #10.
 

ioneater

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Are you willing to make your own? This;

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Aluminum-H...169749?hash=item3b367c0c55:g:k8QAAOSw-7RVGYZ-

And a bit of aluminum sheet, a flat spot and some 2216 adhesive might get you where you need to be.
That's very similar to the material we used for repairing voids in honeycomb structures on Bell's. Just need two skins and the correct adhesive to form a basic panel. It seems like the guys vacuum bagged the repair also. As long as both skins are securely adhered to the core. You can bond threaded inserts into the panel as well. Amazingly strong for its weight unless a void occurs, then it's no stronger than crumpled up cardboard.
 

Ralsmark

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Aluminum honeycomb can be user-unfriendly to work with in a home shop. I replaced the honeycomb floor panels in my Skybolt with plywood because the edges of the honeycomb were unfinished, having unsightly ragged edges of the core showing. Finishing the edges involves using a router or other means to clean core out at the edges to create out a channel so you can butter it up with microballoon/epoxy filler or install a wood strip insert. A lot of effort for a small strength gain or small weight saving. If all you want is an aluminum surface instead of wood, consider gluing up an aluminum sheet and end grain plywood lamination. No need to route and fill the panel edges. Wood core panels are often used for boats, here is a source: https://www.fibreglast.com/product/end-grain-balsa/Vacuum_Bagging_Sandwich_Core. Similar sheet metal skin and balsa core panels have been used for Corvette floors to save weight.
Mark
 

Larry Lyons

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Balsa is commonly used in the boat industry as light weight core.
 

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