I have a motorcycle frame. It is made form forged aluminum. There is a pressed headset in the frame that I need to remove - it was pressed in there with machined force. Some folks remove the headset (from the opposite end) with a large hammer and punch, taking up to an hour of hitting remove the headset. I am concerned to create stress fractures either in the weld/join if in the steering column itself with constant hard hitting. These frames are made for abuse (jumps, etc), but im concerned this constant hitting would create weakness in the frame. I’m interested to know how strong forged aluminum is and if damage can be done to the structural integrity with this kind of treatment.

  • $\begingroup$ It might be galled or cold welded too. Will it fit on an arbour press? $\endgroup$
    – DKNguyen
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ I’m not sure about what you mean in this question. Wont fit on a press. It is a motorcycle frame $\endgroup$ Commented May 16, 2022 at 15:11
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    $\begingroup$ So make a press: long tube and longer threaded bar, couple of nuts and two spanners. $\endgroup$
    – Solar Mike
    Commented May 16, 2022 at 15:13
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks - the question is about how strong forged aluminum is and the impact of hitting. Not how to get the headset out. Thank you $\endgroup$ Commented May 16, 2022 at 15:16
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    $\begingroup$ This is an example of a problem where a photo would help eliminate most of the questions. $\endgroup$ Commented May 16, 2022 at 21:19

1 Answer 1


The proper way is to press it apart; there is always a big enough press for money. Being aluminum , differential thermal expansion is not likely to help. Whatever the alloy and heat-treatment, it can be damaged with a big enough hammer. The stress of use is not close to the amount of stress a hammer can produce. One approach would be to do whatever necessary to get it apart; Then examine it with dye penetrant to see if there are cracks. That is, if good examination shows no cracks, there very unlikely to be any "almost cracks". And aluminum welds are not as strong as any heat-treated component.

  • $\begingroup$ always like your thought processes! -NN $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2022 at 4:56
  • $\begingroup$ And I am only 50% Norwegian. $\endgroup$ Commented May 17, 2022 at 14:39
  • $\begingroup$ Many many thanks. I did not know about dye penetrant testing. I need to learn that process. The frame is black, so looks like I will have to look at florescent testing. But one question, please - if there are no fractures, can I assume the frame is undamaged? Is it possible the forged aluminum be weakened but not show any fractures? $\endgroup$ Commented May 18, 2022 at 2:55
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    $\begingroup$ Dye pene is probably more common; red dye and white developer. Fluorescent is often magnetic ( "wet mag", for steel) , but there are non magnetic types. $\endgroup$ Commented May 19, 2022 at 13:13

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