Fabricating An Aluminum U Channel For Garden Fountain - Metal Fabrication - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:21 PM   #1
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Fabricating an aluminum U Channel for garden fountain


To begin, here is a pic showing the conceptual illustration of what I'm trying to achieve. It's a water feature that compliments a koi/lilly pond. In the pic, its the built up structure at the back and sides of the pond on the rock area. The metal channel/trough atop the block built up structure is called a "rill" and serves as a channel where water flows down onto the rocks below.



For the rill, I need a stainless steel or aluminum U channel fabricated into an "L" shape. Water will be routed up from a pump in the ground through a rubber tube that goes into the cap block space in the block and up through a hole cut into the bottom of the aluminum rill at the junction where they meet in the corner.

Water will flow down each leg of the rill and fall onto the rocks. There will be a buried catch basin below each rill end where the water falls. A filtered pump located in the catch basin recirculates the water back up.

I'm searching for a way to build the rill channel.

The closest thing I've found to what I'm looking for is to piece together two pieces of angle aluminum sourced from Home Depot. See pics below. This has the exact sleek contemporary look I'm seeking but I'd rather not have to join two angle pieces together if I could find a U channel the size I need already made (I need one segment to be 3 foot long and the other to be 4 foot long. Ideally it should to be 1/8 inch thick aluminum that is about 1 inch tall and 3 inches wide.

If I could find a U channel matching those dimensions or something close, I'd only have to fabricate the join of the two rill channels.







And here is a shot where I have a dry fit stack of blocks in place where they will eventually be once done. The aluminum rill piece will set atop the blocks held in place by a stucco mortar once the face of the blocks are stucco'd.



So, for this to work, I'll have to:

1) Solder or spot weld the two sides of aluminum together to make a U channel

2) Cut the two rills together to for a 90 degree join and solder or spot weld them together

3) Apply a bead of silicone to the bottom join to waterproof the union

4) Some stuff I'm sure I haven't yet considered.

Is this the right approach or would you do it differently? Thanks in advance for your feedback and suggestions.

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Last edited by homeimproverjoe; 04-13-2017 at 09:31 PM.
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Old 04-13-2017, 09:34 PM   #2
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Re: Fabricating an aluminum U Channel for garden fountain


I would suggest you contact a local steel supplier. Part of the clean and modern look of that detail (which I like) may not be best represented in a couple of sections stitched together.

You will find that the fabrication and material shops have all kinds of stuff available and that very dimensional piece of steel might be readily available and look better as a pre-machined piece.

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Old 04-14-2017, 07:13 AM   #3
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Re: Fabricating an aluminum U Channel for garden fountain


This looks interesting (except for the "Mill" finish - Is that different from the finish I'm seeing with the Home Depot stock?)

Link to Grainger Example

Wish they had pics of the actual piece or an example at least. The generic drawing they have on the product page is near useless.
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Old 04-14-2017, 07:24 AM   #4
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Re: Fabricating an aluminum U Channel for garden fountain


As mentioned go to a real metal supplier, they can order you some aluminum channel or may even have some on hand.
Google "aluminum channel" to see lots of ways it comes.
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Old 04-14-2017, 07:56 AM   #5
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Re: Fabricating an aluminum U Channel for garden fountain


Ayuh,... Agreed, Ya gotta get outa the box stores, 'n go to a real metals supplier,....
Also, I donno how aluminum will react with the concrete,...
A Hvac company can bend up what yer lookin' for, outa ssteel,....
SSteel can be polished, or brushed to get whichever effect ya want, 'n will hold the finish longer,....
Aluminum you can polish, but it begins to corroded as soon as yer done polishin',....
The finish ya see on those angle pieces won't last a year, probably more like a few months,...
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Old 04-14-2017, 09:54 AM   #6
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Re: Fabricating an aluminum U Channel for garden fountain


My buddy has a metal shop. They can bend up to 1 inch steel or aluminium.

He could bend this as a one piecer real quick and easy.
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Old 04-15-2017, 10:52 PM   #7
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Re: Fabricating an aluminum U Channel for garden fountain


You can get a 3 x 1 x 1/8 alum channel in 6063 aluminum. However, in that environment you may want to check out an anodized piece. In stainless, if you go that route - check out 316 stainless. If you need to have a piece bent, which forming sheet into channel is not a big deal -- you will need something like 5052 which can be bent to a 90.
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Old 04-17-2017, 11:14 AM   #8
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Re: Fabricating an aluminum U Channel for garden fountain


Thanks for the helpful suggestions. I've located a local metalwork shop and I'll be visiting them to check out the options.

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