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Preferences: Brass or Aluminum guage block

befuddled on Mon July 21, 2008 10:53 PM User is offline

It seems that modern day gauges are made with a brass or aluminum block. Seems like the brass ones have the valve handles on the ends, and the aluminum ones have the valve handles facing front.

Anybody got a preference and why?

Thank you for your insights.

TRB on Mon July 21, 2008 11:07 PM User is offlineView users profile

Brass, they don't leak like the aluminum body gauges!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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befuddled on Tue July 22, 2008 4:39 AM User is offline

Isn't that interesting. There are some pretty expensive aluminum units out there. I did not see anything in the price structure that made me think aluminum was used to make the units more affordable.

What is is about aluminum that makes them more leak prone? Robinair has a decent looking R12/R134a unit in Aluminum thats About $30 more than the R12/R134a unit popular here in Brass. The Robinair unit uses two hose sets for the conversion though, maybe that's the difference.

NickD on Tue July 22, 2008 6:02 AM User is offline

I always loved machining with brass, cuts so easily and really can be polished to a high luster. Aluminum on the other hand is tricky, gums up and requires a lot more care with special lubricants. Just think how expensive that gauge block would be if Robinair made that block out of mud? Mud or chit, whatever you want to call it, is very difficult to machine, therefore would be far more expensive.

befuddled on Tue July 22, 2008 6:10 PM User is offline

Sounds like you've been machining jig plate. It is hard to imagine a more mealy material. And 7071 is as miserable as a mid hardened steel. But the run of the mill workhorse 6061 machines pretty well as far as I'm concerned. Now, about copper. Brass wins that contest.

boltz on Wed July 23, 2008 6:13 PM User is offline

I've milled a lot of aluminum, and with the right carbide inserts it cuts every bit as easily and cleanly as brass...

I've wondered at times whether the aluminum might hurt less when your elbow bumps the hose that brings the
manifold tumbling down from the hood onto the back of your head, disrupting your contemplation of the fine
green patina which has accumulated on your compressor, but those Yellow Jacket "Brutes" look like they could
knock you out cold, even though they are made of aluminum!

Some folks around here (myself included) have had amazingly, incredibly, unbelievably, "jaw-droppingly" bad
customer service from Robinair.

-Jim Hart

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