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MIC-6 Aluminum vs. 6061 Aluminum: Understanding the Differences

6061 Aluminum in background Gloves and Ruler in a transparent table with a formula background

MIC-6 and 6061 are two of the most widely used aluminum alloys. MIC-6 aluminum is designed for dimensional stability, surface finish, and precision machining. 6061 aluminum is often selected for its versatility, weldability, and corrosion resistance. When you’re evaluating the pros and cons of using MIC-6 aluminum vs. 6061 aluminum for a component machining or a fabrication project, it’s useful to understand the properties, characteristics, and typical applications for each of these aluminum alloys.

MIC-6 Aluminum: Properties & Characteristics

MIC-6 aluminum was developed in response to the demand for aluminum plate requests to incorporate stability and tolerance improvements from what was on the market in the 1960s. Its continuous cast process is patented as it produces an aluminum alloy plate that is stable and immune to virtually all distortion during machining and temperature changes it may be subject to once it’s placed in use.  

MIC-6 aluminum is preferred for machining applications that require precise control of tolerances and dimensions. It produces small uniform chips, even with high-speed machining operations, with minimal risk of plate distortion. MIC-6 is often the alloy of choice for manufacturing parts, components, and equipment used for precision measurement.

Tooling & Measurement Component Manufacturing
  • Automotive and aircraft tooling
  • Base plates
  • Jigs
  • Gauges
  • Index tables 
  • Routing tables
  • Chip printers
  • Circuit printers 
  • Dielectrics
  • Medical instrumentation 
  • Robotics 
  • Semiconductor holding trays

MIC-6 is weldable, but you’ll need to be extremely careful to avoid corrosion cracking. The MIG method is preferred to TIG as it minimizes the heat input. For more reliable weldability 6061 aluminum may be the best choice, depending on your needs.

6061 Aluminum: Properties & Characteristics

6061 aluminum is a precipitation-hardened alloy containing magnesium and silicon and is flat-rolled or extruded to produce, plate, bar stock, and round stock. 6061 aluminum is one of the most commonly-used heat-treatable aluminum alloys. Lightweight, strong, and corrosion-resistant even when the surface has been abraded, 6061 aluminum is very workable—easily cut, drilled, formed, tapped, and stamped, with excellent welding qualities. However, compared to MIC-6 aluminum, 6061 doesn’t lend itself as well to precision machining. 

The weight-to-strength ratio, corrosion resistance, and weldability make 6061 aluminum the choice for a broad range of manufacturing and fabrication applications that require high-strength, corrosion resistance, and/or welding.

Aviation & Marine Transportation
  • aircraft structures 
  • model aircraft components 
  • yacht structures and components
  • utility boats
  • docks and gangways
  • truck bodies and frames
  • automobile frames 
  • wheels
  • pistons 
  • railway car components
Sporting Equipment Manufacturing
  • bicycle frames and components 
  • fly fishing reels 
  • firearm sound suppressors 
  • SCUBA tanks
  • base plates
  • jigs
  • machine parts
  • high-pressure gas storage cylinders 

Understanding the Differences: MIC-6 Aluminum vs. 6061 Aluminum

The table below provides a quick comparison of the major differences between MIC-6 aluminum and 6061 aluminum. 

MIC-6 Aluminum 6061 Aluminum
Production Method continuous cast flat-rolled or extruded
Form plate, bar plate, bar stock, rounds
Surface Finish  milled to 20 RMS or better typically brushed to 60-90 RMS
Corrosion Resistance average excellent
Machinability excellent average
Weldability limited excellent
Best Uses or Applications  precision machining and instrumentation  structures and components where strength and corrosion resistance are required

Where To Purchase Mic-6 Aluminum and 6061 Aluminum 

Industrial Metal Service carries MIC-6 aluminum and 6061 aluminum sourced from Arconic and Kaiser, respectively. We also offer verified remnants of both of these alloys at a reduced price compared to new stock. Many machinists find that the remnant option is ideal for making prototypes or producing low-quantity production runs.    

From our warehouse in San Jose, CA, we can provide scheduled delivery to meet your production plan or just the right remnant when you’re in a pinch to meet a deadline. You’re also welcome to stop by and explore our inventory and compare MIC-6 aluminum vs. 6061 aluminum first-hand. Additionally, our cut-to-size sawing services can dimension these alloys to the lengths and widths required for production. If you don’t have a reliable, local supplier of MIC-6 or 6061 aluminum, we can ship nationwide for your convenience. Give us a call today to discuss your specific needs.  

Published by IMS Team

Industrial Metal Service has decades of experience and over 1.1 billion pounds of metal sold and recycled. Our founder, Jeff, has spent his life in the industry and prides himself on offering fair, efficient, trustworthy, knowledgeable, outstanding customer service. We offer metal salesmetal recycling pickup service, and other associated services, such as precise metal sawing, machinery teardown, and warehouse cleanupGive us a call and we’ll get it done.