In the 1960s, the development of MIC-6 aluminum tooling plate set the standard for stability and consistency. Its outstanding flatness, consistent thickness, and dimensional stability make it the preferred choice for tooling plate aluminum to this day.
MIC-6 has impressive properties, but it isn’t the only choice for tooling plate aluminum. In the decades since the development of MIC-6, other companies have developed other products with comparable properties. These alternatives are often less expensive than MIC-6 while still offering outstanding flatness and dimensional stability. In this post, we’ll look at some cast and rolled options for tooling plate aluminum and how sourcing from a local metal supplier can help you get the right material for your needs at the best price.
Cast Tooling Plate Alternatives to MIC-6
MIC-6 is an example of a cast tooling plate aluminum, sometimes called cast tool and jig plate. This type of plate is cast, stress-relieved, and cut-to-size with a precision-machined surface. This gives cast plate excellent dimensional stability and flatness with minimal or no distortion when machining.
Three of the most common cast plate alternatives to MIC-6 are ATP-5, K-100S, and Alca-5. All three have less porosity than MIC-6 and can maintain their structure in vacuum and high-pressure applications. These products are great for applications requiring excellent structural consistency, like heating and cooling plates, production molds, and vacuum forming tools.
ATP-5, K-100S, and Alca-5 have very similar properties due to the inclusion of magnesium as the main alloying element. MIC-6 is alloyed with zinc, giving it slightly different mechanical properties.
Low-Cost Rolled Tooling Plate Aluminum Options
Cast tooling plate aluminum is known for its extremely tight thickness and flatness tolerances, but these desirable properties also make it more expensive than other aluminum products. Rolled tooling plate aluminum doesn’t offer tolerances as tight as cast plate, but it’s cheaper and still suitable for many finishing, fabrication, and joining processes.
Rolled plate comes in many different aluminum alloys. 6061-T651 rolled plate is one of the most common. 6061-T651 has very good hardness and machinability, but like any rolled plate, it isn’t possible to get the extremely tight flatness and thickness tolerances of cast plate. 6061-T651 is commonly used for general tooling and some low-pressure molding applications.
Other rolled tooling plates include 2024-T351, which is suitable for general tooling, and 7075-T651, which is used for applications like high-stress aircraft parts and production molds.
The table below summarizes the typical properties of various grades of cast and rolled aluminum plate compared to MIC-6.
|Precision Cast Parts
|Varies by thickness
|Flatness tolerance (¼”–½” thick)
(.125” for 3”+ thick)
|Elongation in 2”
Verified Remnants of Tooling Plate Aluminum at Discounted Prices
Using alternative cast or rolled tooling plate aluminum instead of MIC-6 can save costs, especially when purchasing verified remnants from a local metal supplier that specializes in high-quality metals. High-volume manufacturers in the San Francisco Bay Area often have remnants of high-quality tooling plate aluminum alloys that aren’t large enough for their own use but are perfectly usable by other fabricators or machine shops. Full-service metal suppliers like Industrial Metal Service purchase these usable remnants, verify their composition and quality using x-ray fluorescence technology, and sell them at discounted prices.
Local, Low-Cost Alternative to Purchasing New Aluminum Tooling Plate
Whether you need MIC-6, an alternative cast plate, or rolled aluminum plate, Industrial Metal Service can help. With over two decades of experience supplying a wide range of metal stock to fabricators, welders, and machine shops in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, we have earned our reputation as a reliable metal supplier.