Aluminium Cast Tooling Plate

Your guide to Aluminium Cast Tooling Plate



Manufactured using a casting process, giving the material a fine granular structure

Most commonly available in the UK in subtly different 5000 series aluminium grades

Very good machinability

Aluminium cast tooling plate has a fine granular structure and is commonly used in precision applications thanks to its operational stability.

This guide will take you through the main attributes, common applications, notes for designers and suitable finishing and treatments, as well as UK stock sizes and property tables. Don't forget to bookmark the page so you can refer back later.

If you are interested in Aluminium cast tooling plate machined parts, please scroll to the bottom of the page for more information about our service and to request a quote.

Aluminium Cast Tooling Plate Guide: Properties, Applications and Design Considerations


What is Aluminium Cast Tooling Plate?
As the name implies aluminium cast tooling plate is manufactured using a casting process, giving the material a fine granular structure. The plate’s two main faces have a machined finish to Ra 0.4 - 0.8 ųm, typically protected with thin polycoat film.

Cast tooling plate is most commonly available in the UK in subtly different 5000 series aluminium grades. However cast tooling plate is also available in both 6000 and 7000 series aluminium, although this is not readily available in the UK.

Conventional aluminium plate is manufactured from forged wrought ingots rolled to size and heat treated.

Cast aluminium tooling plate is manufactured close to finish thickness by a horizontal continuous aluminium flow casting process delivering a uniform fine grain structure.

The cast plate is then heat treated above 370°C for close to 10 hours to fully anneal (stress relieve) to remove any manufacturing stresses. The cast plate is then lightly machined to its finished size and protective films applied.

Cast tooling plate is extensively used for machine building, tooling and fixturing applications for the following reasons:

  1. It provides a good value, machined finish, flat base material from which to commence manufacture for the majority of low to medium duty applications
  2. It is dimensionally stable even when large amounts of material have been removed
  3. It is thermally and dimensionally stable in operation applications that involve cyclical heating and cooling
Aluminium Cast Tooling Plate Machinability

Cast tooling plate offers very good machinability and trumps other aluminium grades due to its stability. The cast microstructure reduces the “stickiness” compared to wrought aluminium but plenty of flood coolant is still recommended.

Suited to delicate, intricate parts its cast structure is harder and slightly more brittle than conventional wrought plate. Therefore it can chip as a cutter breaks in and out of a cut. To avoid “chipping” easing back in the feed rate at these points in the machining cycle is recommended. Thread milling rather than tapping can lead to better results when forming threaded holes.

Similar or obsolete designation and trade names:
  • 5000 Series Cast Tooling Plates: ACP5080 | ACP5080R | ACP5754 | ACP5754R | Alca 5 | ATP-5 | CAL5 | C250 | Kastal 300 | K-100S
  • 6000 Series Cast Tooling Plates: ACP6000 (Not readily available in the UK)
  • 7000 Series Cast Tooling Plates: ACP7 (Not readily available in the UK), ACP7R (Not readily available in the UK), MIC6
Industry Examples: Excellent for precision applications such as electronic bases, mounting plates, vacuum plates, checking fixtures | General jigs and fixtures | Machine side and base plates | Precision parts | Light duty moulding plates | Pattern plates | Index tables | Vacuum chambers


Typical Components & Applications: Jigs and fixtures for all industries | OEM Machine builders in many industries | Pharmaceutical, Medical, Healthcare | Electronics, Chip and Circuit Printers | Scientific Instrumentation | Data Processing Equipment | Printing Machinery | Plastics | Robotics | Food Processing Machinery | Automotive Packaging Machinery | Textile Manufacturing

Main Attributes:
  • Very low porosity
  • Good tensile strength
  • Good ductility
  • Stress free condition similar to condition “0” temper wrought plate
  • Ra 0.4 - 0.8 ųm finish to main faces, typically protected with thin polycoat film
  • Very good flatness, typically 0.15 - 0.5 mm dependant on area of plate
  • Very good machinability
  • Excellent dimensional stability even when heavily machined
  • Excellent base material to start machining manufacture
  • Excellent mechanical and dimensional stability when repeatedly heated and cooled in its application of use
  • Annealing after machining is not required
  • Good polishing characteristics
  • Good anodising and hard anodising properties
  • Excellent corrosion resistance
  • Very good weldability

Note For Designers:

The machined flat faces offer an excellent base for starting machining.

Although a thin polyfilm coating is applied on manufacture, with transportation and warehousing some scratches and dents to the main faces are common. Plate suppliers do not guarantee blemish free.

If components are to be plated or finished in other ways, discuss fixturing arrangements for the process with a competent processor and make detail notes and reference points on manufacturing drawings.

Wire thread inserts or other thread insert variants (for example Tappex inserts) should be considered for small diameter threaded holes where:

  • There are more demanding mechanical forces in the application
  • Threaded holes are to be assembled and disassembled frequently
  • If in operation assembles will vibrate or be stressed

Finishing & Treatments:

Anodising 5000, 6000 and 7000 series cast tooling plate components is commonplace and the materials offer comparable anodising qualities to their wrought plate equivalents.

  • Natural sulphuric anodise
  • Colour sulphuric anodise
  • Natural hard anodise
  • Colour hard anodise (deep colour tints)
  • The anodising offers good protection.

See our Finishing Processes page for further information on services that we can facilitate.



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Further Reading & Resources

For more information on Aluminium check out the external links below

Aluminium Federation - Aluminium Rolling

Design News - Designing with cast aluminium plate

Erik Karl Henriksen - Jig and Fixture Design Manual


Aluminium Cast Tooling Plate Machined Parts


Penta Precision provides the following aluminium cast tooling plate machining services: 
  • CNC milling
  • CNC turning
  • Prototypes and batch runs
  • Insert installation
  • Part marking
  • Manual milling
  • Manual turning
  • Machining design advice
  • Design for manufacture service

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