How to Use 80/20 Aluminum

Today we have so many materials we can work with according to our needs and budget. Today we will fully introduce 80/20 Aluminum since it's a versatile material that can be used to build various applications, from frameworks to workstations or even shelving.

This material is modular since the 8020 extrusions allow you to easily assemble and disassemble or rearrange your DIY projects. It’s lightweight but strong and durable,making it easy to move and support heavy-duty applications. You can customize according to your design requirements from a wide range of profiles, sizes and finishes. You can build anything with literally just your hands since there is no need for welding or specialized tools. It's not cheap, but it's a long term cost saving due to its durability and it doesn't require that much maintenance.

Projects Made with 8020 Extrusion

An 8020 extrusion is often referred to as T-slot aluminum extrusion. As we mentioned before these are incredibly versatile and can be used to build a vast array of DIY projects across different industries. Let’s explore some 80/20 aluminum projects that are particularly interesting:

Workbenches and Workstations

Design them with adjustable heights, with shelving, and built-in tool storage, tailored according to the tasks or industries.

Machine Frames

These will turn out very sturdy and customizable for machinery, which can be easily adjusted or expanded based on changing technological needs.

Enclosures and Guards

Build protective enclosures and guards around machinery to enhance safety and comply with industry regulations.

Racks and Shelving

You’ll be able to design various storage solutions that can be customized to maximize space and support specific weight requirements.

Automation and Robotics

Make structural frameworks for automated systems and robotics, allowing for flexibility in design and easy integration of technology.

Office Furniture

Craft desks, cubicles, monitor stands, and other office furniture that can be customized for ergonomic comfort and space efficiency.

Trade Show Booths and Displays

Constructing modular and easily transportable display setups that can be reconfigured for different shows and spaces.

Simulator Rigs

 Build frames for flight and racing simulators, since it offers stability and adaptability for various setups according to your gamer needs and space for all your gadgets in your home.  

Photography and Film Rigs

Create customizable rigs for cameras and lighting that can be adjusted to suit different shooting conditions. There is also the possibility to disassemble.

Smart Home DIY Projects

For your personal use, such as storage systems in the kitchen, entertainment centers, and garden structures.

Laboratory Furniture

Labs benefit from customizable, reconfigurable benches and carts that accommodate scientific instruments and activities.

Medical Equipment Stands

Constructing adjustable stands and carts that can securely hold and transport medical equipment.

The versatility, durability, and straightforward assembly of 80/20 extrusions make them a popular option for a wide range of applications. This allows both professionals and DIYers to design and build amazing aluminum DIY projects.

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Work Approach with
80/20 Aluminum Projects

When you work with aluminum extrusions there are some key steps you should consider for a best outcome in your projects.

Design your Aluminum Project

Start by planning your project and designing it according to your specifications and needs. Consider the size where it will be placed, shape, and functionality of your desired structure or smoother so you can rely on them to avoid clogs.

Select Components

Choose suitable 80/20 aluminum extrusions and accessories for your DIY project. 80/20 provides an extensive selection of profiles, connectors, 80/20 fasteners, panels, and additional components tailored for diverse applications.

Cutting 8020 Extrusions

Cut the aluminum extrusions to the desired lengths using a saw appropriate for cutting metal. Measure carefully and use proper safety equipment such as goggles and gloves.

80/20 Aluminum Assembly

Affix the aluminum extrusions according to your design. Use connectors, 80/20 fasteners, and other accessories as needed to join the extrusions together. Follow the instructions provided by 80/20 or refer to assembly guides for assistance.

Project Adjustments

Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that the structure is level, square, and stable. Use shims or additional 80/20 fasteners as needed to achieve the alignment.

Finishing Touches to Your Project

Once you assembled your project, you may choose to add finishing touches such as end caps, covers, or surface treatments to enhance the appearance or functionality of the built structure.

Installation of Your 80/20 Aluminum Project

Position the completed structure in its designated location. Ensure it is firmly secured using the proper mounting hardware or anchoring techniques.

By following these steps, you'll create amazing projects knowing they will be functional, aesthetic, and durable.

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How to Affix 80/20 T-Slots Aluminum?

To affix 80/20 aluminum T-slots correctly you’ll need fasteners and connectors designed specifically for this purpose. Remember that you'll not need any special tools; you can probably use what you have at home and the correct components. Here are some common options:


T-nuts are placed into the T-slot of the aluminum extrusion, offering a threaded hole to attach additional components or fasteners. Available in a variety of sizes and styles, they cater to diverse applications.

Bolts and Screws

Bolts and screws are used with T-nuts to secure components or fasten accessories to the aluminum extrusion. They are available in different lengths and thread sizes to suit various requirements.

Drop-In T-Bolts

Drop-in T-bolts function similarly to T-nuts but feature a spring-loaded ball bearing that enables easy insertion and positioning within the T-slot without the need for rotation.

Slide-In T-Nuts

Slide-in T-nuts are placed at the end of the T-slot and can be slid to the desired position before being tightened. This design allows for adjustable positioning and easy repositioning when necessary.

Corner Brackets

Corner brackets are used to join two or more aluminum extrusions at a right angle. They typically have T-nuts built into the design, allowing for easy attachment of other components or fasteners.

Panel and Door Fastener

Panel and door fasteners are utilized to secure panels, doors, or other accessories to the aluminum extrusion. These fasteners usually incorporate T-nuts or similar attachment points to firmly hold the component in position.

When choosing fasteners and connectors for 80/20 aluminum T-slots, consider key factors such as load capacity, compatibility with the T-slot size, and your project's specific requirements. It is also vital to follow  the manufacturer’s recommendations and guidelines for proper installation and use.

Tools to Work with Aluminum 80/20?

Working with aluminum 80/20 extrusions typically requires a few basic tools that you might even have to cut, assemble, and install the components. Here's a list of essential tools you may need:

Measuring Tools
- Tape measure.
- Ruler.
- Or calipers.
These are the recommendations for accurate measurements of the extrusions and components.
Cutting Tools
- Miter saw with a carbide-tipped blade for cutting aluminum extrusions to length.
- Hacksaw or reciprocating saw for cutting smaller sections of aluminum extrusions.
- Circular saw or bandsaw for cutting large or heavy extrusions.
Drilling Tools
- Drill with drill bits suitable for metal drilling to create holes for fasteners and connectors.
- Countersink bit for deburring and countersinking holes for flush fastening.
Fastening Tools
- Allen wrenches or hex keys for tightening screws and bolts.
- Socket wrench or impact driver for faster assembly of larger structures.
Assembly Tools
- Tapping tool for tapping threads into extrusions to create custom fastening points.
- Rubber mallet or dead blow hammer for tapping components into place without damaging them.
Level and Square
- Carpenter's level and combination square for ensuring accurate alignment and squareness during assembly.
Safety Equipment
- Safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from metal shavings and debris.
- Work gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges and cuts.
Optional Tools
- Deburring tool or file for removing burrs and sharp edges from cut aluminum extrusions.
- Bench vise or clamps for securing extrusions and components during cutting and assembly.

The Quality Behind Aluminum
80/20 Extrusions

The quality of 80/20 aluminum extrusions is generally high, as they are manufactured to meet stringent standards and specifications. Some of the factors that contribute to this quality are the material- They are made from a high-quality alloy that provides strength, durability and corrosion resistance.

When this material is being manufactured, the manufacturer must follow quality controls to assure consistent dimensions, tight tolerances and smooth surface finishes. This industry offers a variety of finishes that will add to your project, including natural, anodized, and powder-coated finishes.

Not only does it improve the appearance, but it also provides additional protection against corrosion, abrasion, and wear. The T-slots and other features of 80/20 aluminum extrusions are machined with precision to ensure proper fit and alignment of components.

Finally, 80/20 aluminum extrusions may undergo testing and certification to verify their mechanical properties, dimensional accuracy, and compliance with industry standards and specifications. All these details allow precision machining for easy assembly, disassembly, and reconfiguration of structures without compromising strength or stability.

Overall, 80/20 aluminum extrusions are known for their high quality, reliability, and versatility, making them a preferred choice for a wide range of structural and mechanical applications. 

Online 8020 Aluminum
Design Tool

DIY Ideas for your Next
Aluminum Project!

Here are some great 80/20 aluminum projects you can start working on that are perfect for new DIYers and pro builders. If you would like to see a different design, let us know.

This Online 80 20 Aluminum Design Tool Has All the Parts You Need!

These are the current parts we've included for the 8020 aluminum design! If you don't see what you need, just let us know, and we'll include them ASAP for you! We also have all the standard PVC parts and lumber and we recently incorporated numerous HVAC parts for your convenience. Design and build whatever you desire with Crafty!

Do You Want to Try an
Aluminum Project?

This Online 8020 Aluminum Design Tool is Free and Super Easy to use! Make your Ideas Real!

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Is this a downloadable app?
No! It all works on the browser. It works on your phone as well as your computer!

Is it free?
Yes the app is 100% free.

Can I save my design?
Yes! You can save your design in your account.

Can I share my design?
Yes! You'll have a unique URL for every design you save which you can send to anyone! They can then see or clone the design. They cannot edit your design. You can also delete it whenever you'd like.

What materials do you support?
Crafty currently have 1000 parts across
aluminum 8020, steel, wood, HVAC and PVC! Let us know if we're missing a part.

Where did the idea for this app come from?
I spent a year building an off grid farm and knew nothing about construction / plumbing / electrical work…
I saw that most people had to go the hardware store multiple times and many times they weren’t able to finish their work that day because the vendor didn’t have the part. So I thought if you can design your project beforehand, it will allow us to check for compatibility while you’re designing and then be able to send you all the parts! Much easier!

Can I connect PVC to wood, t-slot / aluminum 8020?
Yes. There are transition parts that allow you to connect PVC to wood or wood to aluminum 8020. If there is interest, we will start adding parts like motors and electrical components as well.

The idea for Crafty is to be a place where you can design your entire project with all of its components so when you want to get to building, all you need to do is order!

Do you have everything in stock?
No, not everything. We currently have about half of the parts and our goal is to little by little add more.
For the parts we don't have, we will give you a link for the provider that you can buy it from. Hopefully as the app gets more traction, we will start to carry more and more items so we can ship you everything in one set.

How do you deal with long and heavy parts (like 2x4s)?
When you have parts longer than 36" or of a certain kind (like lumber beyond a certain WxH), we just give you the dimension / exact length for you to go buy that at your local store. It doesn't make much sense to ship a 2x4 :)

Are you going to add more parts?
Yes. This current set of parts that you see on the app is our initial set. We just finished this version in late April 2023 so we’re listening to the feedback we get and will evolve the app to be the best that it can be for all of you!

Why not just use CAD?
You can! If you have all the parts downloaded already and are an expert in CAD software. Also, I would hope that your CAD software gives you a clean output of all the parts / their exact measurements.
What CAD software won't do is allow you to share the design online and allow others to see your design and specs.

Do you have tips I can follow for different materials?
Sure! Here are some basic concepts.
How to Use 80/20 Aluminum
How to Cut PVC Pipe
Can I Connect PVC Pipe with Metal Threads?
How to Connect PVC Pipe without Glue

Do you have any tutorials on how to use the app?
Yes please visit our YouTube Channel and learn about:
Crafty Amigo Tutorial: Design Your Woodworking Project!
Crafty Amigo Tutorial: How to design your DIY PVC Project!