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Question Aluminium Extrusion - how thick?

Discussion in 'DIY Motion Simulator Building Q&A / FAQ' started by Cripple, May 15, 2019 at 17:48.

  1. Cripple

    Cripple New Member

    May 12, 2019
    Male-nurse (ish)
    Edinburgh, UK
    +0 / 0 / -0

    I am considering using Aluminium extrusion for the framework of my simulator. Mainly as I don't weld, and outdoors is 40ft down a narrow spiral staircase if I did. I also like the idea of being able to tweak the prototype.

    Question is though, what type? Would the 30mm x 30mm be adequate, or should I go for 4040?

    Thinking for a 2-dof, full-frame, flight sim, with 95kg pilot, rift headset, controls, and lightweight (hardboard & foamcore) switch panels. Say 110kg +/-? 1400mm x 600mm base dimensions of mobile section?


    (Edit: Simkits seem to favour le 4040, oui? Sorry, but I don't have the privileges to link to their site.)
    Last edited: May 15, 2019 at 18:07
  2. dododge

    dododge Member Gold Contributor

    Mar 8, 2015
    +40 / 0 / -0
    40x40mm is typical for sim rigs, often with 40x80 or even 40x120 pieces where you're worried about flexing or just want more attachment points for brackets.

    I currently use 1.5x1.5-inch and 1.5x3 (basically identical to 40x40 and 40x80) for primary framing, and some 1x1-inch (around 25mm) pieces to attach the pedals and wheel.

    I mainly use the 1x1 because it's thinner and lighter and I already have a lot of it lying around from other projects. I definitely would not recommend using the 1x1-inch for an entire rig. Long pieces will twist too easily, and the joints between them can flex. You can solve that by bracing it, but that ends up complicating the design and adding weight. The 30mm is probably not as bad, but it'd be better to just use the 40mm from the start. If you have concerns about weight, I think most manufacturers offer "light" versions of their extrusions that have the same outer dimensions but use less material.
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