Advice on machining shims for fixturing

Hi there, I am currently in a machining and manufacturing course at a local community collage, and am given the opportunity to work on my own projects with spare time. I am a welder and fabricator, and and slowly acquiring tools and skills to open my own shop soon. I was thinking of trying to make my own shims, instead of just using scrap plate and square tube for fixturing. Would aluminum be a good option for this? I am planning on machining a pocket for a magnet as well. I think hardened steel would be best, but I don’t have access to a furnace or anything hot enough to heat treat steel. So, aluminum is sort of what I’m going towards right now. What I’m asking is, would these wear out quick, and would the thinner shims like 1/16"/1/8" warp and bend?

Aluminium would be too soft in my opinion it would get marked and scratched giving you a false measurement on the shims, stainless would be better if you have access to any bit of course hardened tool steel would be much more ideal

I agree aluminum is to soft. 4140 is pretty easy to get. You really don’t need a heat treat oven to get it hard. Just use a rose bud and oil. They don’t need a temper just keep them at full hardness. The shims really need to be 50 Rockwell c to actually remain in spec when they get moved around and used.

1 Like