I can easily see how aluminum could be the material of choice in deck structures.
I have been using aluminum structural profiles in machine building since 1990.
They are generally light, corrosion resisitant, (if anodized properly) structurally efficient, cost effective, and they have a predictable yield strength and consistiency. They come in numerous shapes and sizes. I have a cold saw with a 20 foot long table and stock the popular sizes of structural aluminum for machine building.
You wont find any wooden, decks, flowerboxes or other structures in my back yard.
Even the patio furniture is cast aluminum
The deck boards they are making out of recycled wood and plastic look good.
This whole Erector Set discussion got me looking online. It seems that Erector Sets have gone the way of Lego, with sets that are designed to build specific toys. When I was a kid, Erector Sets, like Lego, were raw materials. The design was entirely up to the kid. I never knew quite what I was building until I ran out of parts. By the way, some of the sets cost $80 now.
Over the last few months, I've watched a metal structure -- a large multi-unit, six-story retirement home -- constructed in my neighborhood. All metal, from the girders to the shiny walls and pre-form metal stairways. I've been amazed at how much it's like an Erector Set. Huge portions come on large trucks, and 10-story cranes lift them into place. Snap, snap, and the pieces go together. Way more fun to watch than the usual frame stucco here in Albuquerque.
Reading the comments about erector sets brings to mind very happy memories of the myriad of erector set components that I had strewn around the house and the many crazy mechanical contraptions I'd develop. That was my indoctrination to Mechanical Engineering. Now, as a homeowner that has finished a modest size deck/pergola project in my yard last summer, I wish I had known about this system. I'm a big proponent of low-maintenance systems around the house. The aluminum components would have been a blessing especially at the house connection and ground level locations!
I'm with you, Doug. I never cared much for hammer-and-bruised-thumb projects much as my dad tried to drag me in. I remember pounding wooden shingles on the house all summer long when I was a teenager. I loved my Erector Set.
A new service lets engineers and orthopedic surgeons design and 3D print highly accurate, patient-specific, orthopedic medical implants made of metal -- without owning a 3D printer. Using free, downloadable software, users can import ASCII and binary .STL files, design the implant, and send an encrypted design file to a third-party manufacturer.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.