Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Finishes, paints and coatings

Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby MatthewWorks » Tue Oct 18, 2016 5:46 pm

I believe I'll be trying something relatively new. I'm sure it's been done, but not a lot, so I'm putting it out there. I'll be using aluminum composite panels ACP (or aluminum composite material ACM, depends on who you ask...) for the exterior skin. It's 3mm thick, a 4 x 8 sheet weighs 27 lbs, which seems to be less than, or equal to, what plywood + aluminum would weigh. It's two layers of (very) thin aluminum bonded to a polyethelene core. It seems to cost less than the combination of the two materials, and I think it would behave better in extreme conditions since it's made for sign usage = extreme conditions. Thinking it will be the exterior, without any plywood substrate, bonded in whatever fashion to the wall framework. Current prices at Harbor Sales is $39 for a 4 x 8 sheet, with shipping.

Am I missing something? It seems sort of perfect.

The low cost version (priced as above) only comes in white, so quick orbital sander test tells me that one can sand down to the aluminum quickly. In fact, the aluminum is pretty thin, so don't get crazy. Trying some stripper (orange type, since it's what I had) now.

Putting it out there for the records, we'll see how the chips fall.
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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby bobwhite215 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:14 pm

I am going to be using the same thing. It should work well.

I don't know about sanding the finish off though. It's pretty thin and if you get down to the plastic core your done.

It's more expensive, but you can get it in many colors. Some sign shop suppliers even sell it in an economy version where only one side is finished. The back side is left as mill finish aluminum.

Look up maxmetal one sided at Grimco.com. not sure if they sell to the general public or not. They have warehouses all over the country.

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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby bobwhite215 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:25 pm

Btw, I've been experimenting with adhesives, and so far your basic heavy duty liquid nails seems to be working pretty well. The 24 hour test held pretty good. I've got another piece set up that I'm going to leave cure for the full 7 days, and then see what it takes to pull it apart.

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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby bobwhite215 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 12:57 pm

Image

Here is a pic of the backside of the one-sided maxmetal.

Image

It does have a code inkjetted onto it that you would have to clean off.


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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby bobwhite215 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:15 pm

Matthew - BeBond is another brand that has single sided. It is sold by N Glantz Co. I checked your profile and it looks like you are in Pittsburgh. They have a branch there. The only issue is that I've found the backside of the BeBond can be pretty splotchy sometimes.

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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby MatthewWorks » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:16 pm

I am going to be using the same thing. It should work well.


Thanks for the Grimco info - signed up on the website today, we'll see if they let me purchase! I did do a sanding test - face material is definitely thin. The sanding is doable... but would be beautiful to not have to! Bend test went great. Bent a 16" long piece into about a 6" circle - much smaller radius than needed for the camper.
(EDIT: Grimco said "nope", so I'll look for another source!)

Side note, weight wise, this looks to be a good solution, too. Excited about this.

Thanks so much for throwing more info out there.

Hoping to start on the frame in late Oct/early November.
Last edited by MatthewWorks on Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:43 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby bobwhite215 » Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:39 pm

I'm picking up my frame this weekend, so should be starting actual construction soon.

We should keep in touch with what we find works and doesn't. We can use this forum, but if you want, PM me and I'll get you an email address to contact me if you want.

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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby MatthewWorks » Wed Oct 19, 2016 7:07 pm

bobwhite215 wrote:Matthew - BeBond is another brand that has single sided. It is sold by N Glantz Co. I checked your profile and it looks like you are in Pittsburgh. They have a branch there. The only issue is that I've found the backside of the BeBond can be pretty splotchy sometimes.


Just saw this post - thanks, missed it earlier. Registered with them, will go talk to them if needed. Could start buying other supplies from them too - still wholesale, but nothing would be for signs. Local! :thumbsup:
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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby Andrew Herrick » Wed Oct 19, 2016 11:45 pm

bobwhite215 wrote:I am going to be using the same thing. It should work well.

I don't know about sanding the finish off though. It's pretty thin and if you get down to the plastic core your done.

It's more expensive, but you can get it in many colors. Some sign shop suppliers even sell it in an economy version where only one side is finished. The back side is left as mill finish aluminum.

Look up maxmetal one sided at Grimco.com. not sure if they sell to the general public or not. They have warehouses all over the country.

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Do you know how thick the alunimum facing is? I'm curious about the product, too, but I'm wondering how it will hold up years down the line ... can it be acid washed seasonally? :thinking:
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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby MatthewWorks » Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:50 am

[/quote]

Do you know how thick the alumimum facing is? I'm curious about the product, too, but I'm wondering how it will hold up years down the line ... can it be acid washed seasonally? :thinking:[/quote]

I'm seeing anything from .005 to .2, maybe the most common in the .08 to .12 range. (note: I am not a professional, only my own obsessive researching, when I should be working instead...)

I have to say, I haven't washed my truck in about two years. So... for me that might not be quite as big of a concern.
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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby bobwhite215 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 10:10 am

Do you know how thick the alunimum facing is? I'm curious about the product, too, but I'm wondering how it will hold up years down the line ... can it be acid washed seasonally? :thinking:[/quote]

It generally comes in two flavors, the economy brands and the premium brands. They are both 3mm panels, but the face thickness is different. The economy panels have a face thickness of .2mm, and the premium panels are .3mm. 0.1mm difference doesn't sound like much, but it's also 50% thicker, which sounds like a lot.

Personally, I am probably going to spend the extra money and go for the premium panels. I'm already going with the 5x10 panels, which are pricey, so an extra $100 or so now won't be that bad.

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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby MatthewWorks » Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:11 pm

I'm thinking the same, going with some of the better panels - but it might depend a bit on what I find, and if I can find/obtain it in a mill finish. There's definitely a price range. Since my build is about 11 long at the longest points (curved ends) not sure yet if I'll do 4 x 8 or 4 x 10. Unlike plywood, there doesn't seem to be a penalty for the larger size, as it still cost the same per sq ft (at least on the sheet I looked at).
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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby bobwhite215 » Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:37 pm

I have seen 4x12 sheets somewhere. Can't remember who.

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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby dvdholl » Sun Nov 06, 2016 4:34 pm

I'm also planning acm. The local sign shop quoted $150 for 5x10. He gave me a sample and it looks great. I'm also planning on using 2" foam on the inside and trying to avoid a lot of internal framing to control weight. I'm not sure if I will use it for the roof yet, as I'm concerned about seams and how I will connect to the sides.

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Re: Using Aluminum Composite Panels

Postby bobwhite215 » Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:36 pm

I bonded my first piece if ACM to the camper last night. Just a small piece for the rear bumper area. Glued it to plywood with Loctite PL Premium. The 3x version, not the 8x Fastgrab. Played with the 8x a little and didn't like it. The 3x is much easier to work with. Sanded the back of the ACM before applying the adhesive, and clamped it in place. I don't think I could tear it apart without destroying something. I think this is what I'm going to use for the rest of the project.

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