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Thread started 08 Nov 2010 (Monday) 07:23
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Why Magnesium Alloy and not other Alloys?

 
Jamesino
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Nov 08, 2010 07:23 |  #1

Why are all pro-bodies by all manufacturers made from magnesium alloy? What properties does it have that distinguishes it from other high-strength alloys like titanium alloy?




  
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Larry ­ Weinman
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Nov 08, 2010 07:34 |  #2

It"s strong, fairly light, easily worked with and relatively cheap compared to say a titanium alloy.


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Gregg.Siam
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Nov 08, 2010 07:35 |  #3

Magnesium has a good balance of light weight and strength; hence why it's used in auto racing rims. It is also a lot cheaper than titanium.


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zarray
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Nov 08, 2010 07:39 |  #4

Ti alloys are very expensive and are mostly used in specialized applications.

Although i havent had the time to research and compare properties, what im interested is in knowing why Mg alloy instead of aluminium alloy like 6061 or 7075.


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VinnieJ
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Nov 08, 2010 07:45 |  #5

I'm not an expert on the subject but this might help....
http://www.magnesium.c​om …php?mgw=173&mag​nesium=202 (external link)

I think cost will always be the #1 factor.




  
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Mark_48
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Nov 08, 2010 08:20 as a reply to  @ VinnieJ's post |  #6

It's also kind of a cool metal to use when the battery shorts, heats up the body to critical temperature, and ignites.....  :p

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SaxonIV
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Nov 08, 2010 08:25 as a reply to  @ Mark_48's post |  #7

magnesium is the lightest metal that has any structural strength. aluminum while lighter than steel, is still pretty heavy. also magnesium is extremely easy to machine and make parts from, because of its softness.




  
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KhanhD
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Nov 08, 2010 08:49 |  #8

It burns blue. :)


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Alex_Venom
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Nov 08, 2010 09:57 |  #9

I always wondered why didn't they make carbon fiber bodies. Any thoughts?


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KhanhD
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Nov 08, 2010 10:01 |  #10

Carbon is brittle.

Ive spiked a plastic 350D into the ground with no ill effects (NOT RECOMMENDED!), cf wouldve shattered.


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big_g
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Nov 08, 2010 10:51 as a reply to  @ KhanhD's post |  #11

I guess that as well as being light and strong it is mainly used because it is easy to manufacture. Titanium would be incredibly difficult

My car wheels are made from it as it is lighter than aluminium. They are great but if you damage them they need specialist repair as the magnesium alloy is porous and will absorb water. Not really an issue for camera bodies though

CF would be cool but would be very difficult to manufacture into such a complex shape

As the body of the camera is relatively small anyway the weight savings will be minimal between materials. On a 1.3kg 1D the chassis must be one of the lighter items when compared to the battery etc


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JWright
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Nov 08, 2010 11:00 |  #12

big_g wrote in post #11246503 (external link)
I guess that as well as being light and strong it is mainly used because it is easy to manufacture. Titanium would be incredibly difficult

Titanium requires hot working to form it into complex shapes. It has to be heated until its red hot and formed immediately.

CF would be cool but would be very difficult to manufacture into such a complex shape

With the proper molds, it is possible to make carbon fiber into just about any shape, but it requires curing at high temperatures and pressures. This entails the use of an autoclave, thus increasing manufacturing costs. Once cured it is a very strong material and is becoming more widely used in the aviation industry.


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artyman
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Nov 08, 2010 11:34 |  #13

When they start injection moulding bodies out of different coloured polypropelyne is when you have to start worrying :D


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Nov 08, 2010 11:43 as a reply to  @ artyman's post |  #14

They tried Kryptonite in a test group but it kept putting all the photographers to sleep...


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amfoto1
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Nov 08, 2010 12:44 |  #15

Ti tends to have some springiness or flex to it. Aluminium is more rigid, but tends to be a bit brittle and cannot be thinned down as much, lighter than steel, but not as light as Ti or magnesium.

Carbon fiber can be darned good and is a possibility. Depending upon how it's structured, it can be very strong and durable. I have several bicycles that are testiment to that (not to mention that it's used extensively in 250 mph Formula 1 cars... BMW has recently shown off a CF frame they might use in a production car). But it's quite expensive to work in high specification and requires special engineering and manufacturing techniques to achieve super low weight, thin-section parts. It's also hard on tools (i.e., CF dulls steel and carbide blades rapidly) and isn't easily made in a high efficiency robotic production line. Most carbon fiber parts are hand made, labor intensive. Plus, CF production involves some pretty nasty chemicals (epoxies) and is not very "green". Trashed CF parts will likely still be undegraded in the landfill in 10,000 years! I don't think it's recyclable either. Aluminum, magnesium and Ti all have the potential to recycle. (In fact, Ti parts have come way down in cost in recent years, thanks to the general dismantling of the Russian military complex, which vastly increased the supply of Ti available worldwide.)

Magnesium just has a blend of features that make it more ideal: it's pretty easily worked, relatively inexpensive, not too brittle, nor too flexible, and pretty darned strong for it's weight. Only high impact plastics are cheaper and in some respects easier to work with, but not as strong in thin section.


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Why Magnesium Alloy and not other Alloys?
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