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Sourcing metal for projects $$$$

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GunsOfNavarone

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#1
So just a setup here, I'm new to working a Lathe/mill...though I have worked in sheet/plate for sometime.
I'm lucky enough to have a Metal Supermarket nearby. I've purchased my metals there for over a decade. I've never bought squared/blocked metal before and holy crap! It is expensive! I am making some velocity stacks and I want to do the lathe test shape (barbell) to check calibration/twist on new lathe. I paid $128 for 4' of 2.25" x 2 .25" aluminum stock! Wow! I always check for remnants when I'm there, but what is a better place for real fabricating materials? Is there a cheaper quality for metals (ie not rolled versus cold roll) I realize we're not dealing with rolled metals here. There are so many kinds of aluminum as there is steel, is there a more affordable quality? I'm not making space shuttle parts...
 

Rooster

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#2
Greetings, i also deal with M.S.M. for some of my metal needs. But i also check out the local scrap metal dealer on a regular basis, the deals too be had are so much cheaper.
 

MarkDavis

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#3
I bought 12" of 2 1/2" diameter aluminum for 7 bucks at the scrap yard recently.
That price does not reflect the times I looked there and did not purchase anything, or the gas.
These days my time has little value.
 

JimDawson

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Unless you are buying larger quantities, >500 lbs, Metal Supermarket is not a bad place to buy, but they are a bit expensive (about 2x over the wholesalers). I normally buy from Coast Aluminum, but buy bar lengths, and normally at least 1000 lbs per order. The rem room at my local Metal Supermarket is well stocked with the thicker aluminum plate pieces so when we need small quantities that is our goto place. We also have another local retail metal vendor that sometimes has some good deals on rems. The wholesalers want to sell bar lengths and charge a lot for cutting.

Onlinemetals is another good place to buy. https://www.onlinemetals.com/

For small quantities McMaster is another option.
 

macardoso

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For *aluminum*, BuyMetal.com has the best prices of any online metal supplier. I did a comparison of about 40 places a few months ago and they came out on top. They have a fixed $15 flat rate ship change which kinda sucks if you need one tiny piece, but is amazing for anything over a few pounds. Poor UPS lugged 80 lbs of aluminum to my doorstep. There were several other close ones, but I have good luck with these guys. It arrives FAST too.

Their steel selection is more limited (still good prices), but they sell in fixed quantities so you end up buying $200 worth of material. If you need a lot that is fine, but don't expect to get a good deal on a 6" piece.

Edit: The statement above only applies to their 1018 and 1045 cold rolled steel. They have all kinds of sizes available in many flavors of Stainless with no minimum order. Decent prices I think, but I don't buy stainless as often.
 
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ttabbal

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#6
There are a few ebay sellers with aluminum drops at good prices. The smaller size pieces get free shipping as well, usually less than 3ft long.

Metal Supermarket is a good local source in the remnants side anyway. If they have what you want, the prices are close to online pricing. Small quantity cuts are reasonably priced as well.
 

dtsh

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When I need a small piece for a project, I tend to watch ebay; compared to the online shops, the pricing is usually much better.
If I'm getting something in larger quantities, it's usually my local supplier and local pickup as their shipping typically add 20-40% to the cost.

I have a regular job so getting time to visit the local supplier is often difficult as is getting to the local scrap yards, so I try to stock up on materials I commonly use.


Edit: "small" is subjective, I've ordered materials upto about 5' long and upto about 70lbs/package through scrap yards on ebay.
 

bfd

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#8
someone beat me to it but I buy most of the material I need from ebay. sometimes you type in what you are looking for and the right stuff is listed. I recently bought 6"x 1/4" x 6' for less than 20 bucks. just hit it right that day. also look at steel suppliers yard they have remnant piles that are cheaper than regular prices. my local has steel for .75 cents a pound. If you can use steel then look at auto salvage yard for old axels good steel but you don't know what it is.
 

GunsOfNavarone

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I've never thought about ebay...I'll check it out along with buymetal and Coast. I always pick up 75 to 150 lbs of metal when I'm fishing through the remnants at metal supermarket, but if there is something you need specifically, it's not terribly likely you'll find it there. Plate isn't too big an issue, but these blocks of metal are new for me. They say because e of tariffs, aluminum, more than the others is going through the roof. For instance, I bought a sheet of aluminum....from the remnant area, 2.2 lbs for 8 bucks (cash price) if it wasn't remnant, it would have been $12....that's in the world of a nice cut of beef range!
 

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#10
just a word of caution. even MSM branches have wildly differing prices. Since it's only competitor went out of business, the prices have risen to about 4 times their price level from a few years ago. Now 4140 is over 10$ a pound at MSM here (!). For one project I started in January, it was cheaper to buy a whole 24' stick of 1/2" 4140 than buy the 3 feet I needed from MSM. For a 6" piece of AL or brass, they can't be beat.

Our remnants bin here is pure robbery.
 

poplarhouse

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#11
I'm probably in a minority, but I try to avoid Ebay as much as possible. Amazon is my go-to place for just about everything: 2½" sq x 4 ft 6061 mill finish is $38.37 and free shipping (assuming that would worked for your project).
Amazon Al
Besides avoiding Ebay, I almost never pay shipping. Amazon, in my experience over the years, has been a breeze to work with, and stands behind everything I buy. My experiences with Ebay are just the opposite, particularly when dealing with a couple of illegal transactions. Just my 2¢, of course, and no offence to any Ebay sellers here.
 

Nogoingback

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#12
Like bfd, I've found ebay can be hit or miss, but I've found good bargins there on drops where I only wanted small
pieces. I usually buy steel from the rack where drops or rusty stuff lives unless I need a particular alloy: the steel yard sells that stuff by the pound. Since prices vary so much between suppliers, I always comparison shop.
 

GunsOfNavarone

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I'm probably in a minority, but I try to avoid Ebay as much as possible. Amazon is my go-to place for just about everything: 2½" sq x 4 ft 6061 mill finish is $38.37 and free shipping (assuming that would worked for your project).
Amazon Al
Besides avoiding Ebay, I almost never pay shipping. Amazon, in my experience over the years, has been a breeze to work with, and stands behind everything I buy. My experiences with Ebay are just the opposite, particularly when dealing with a couple of illegal transactions. Just my 2¢, of course, and no offence to any Ebay sellers here.
There must have been on hell of a price increase...it shows $151 now from that link you posted!
 
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#14
Your govt has made it a strategic metal, so there is both tariffs and likely a bonus premium (aka gouging) due to less supply. Any pricing from a month or 2 ago is meaningless now. I am about to find out how much Al 6061 will cost me up here for an upcoming project. Amazon is not an option here for metal. It will be interesting to see if MSM charges a premium here since 40-50% of your Al comes or came from Canada. I suspect they will be charging similar pricing here 'since they can'.
 

Cadillac

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#15
I'm probably in a minority, but I try to avoid Ebay as much as possible. Amazon is my go-to place for just about everything: 2½" sq x 4 ft 6061 mill finish is $38.37 and free shipping (assuming that would worked for your project).
Is that square tube because a solid 2 1/2 square 4' long gotta be more than 39 bucks McMaster Carr list it at 150.00 which they're not bad on pricing but still a premium. And tariffs have raised prices.
 

mickri

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#16
I never buy anything from Amazon. Amazon has done more to hurt small and large businesses than any other organization in the country. And I have found that I always seem to find better deals elsewhere.
One example on Amazon's business practices. My son works for Reef Sandals. Probably the largest sandal maker in the world. They have constant problems with Amazon buying stuff through straw buyers and them dumping their sandals on the market.
I have bought and sold on Ebay for many years. I have experienced a few bad sellers and buyers over the years. Less than 1%. I have always come out ok and have never experienced a loss on Ebay. When Ebay first started Ebay tended to favor sellers in disputes. That policy didn't last long once Ebay realized that buyers were the driving force in their growth and that sellers were a dime a dozen and could be easily replaced.
I have been looking for cutoff blades to fit an Armstrong No. 19 tool holder at all the usual suppliers. Prices I have seen were exorbitant to say the least. Just searched on Ebay and found a seller with genuine Armstrong blades for $9 including shipping. I plan to buy several.

Getting back on topic with this thread finding materials for projects is a real pain for me. I live in a rural area and nothing is close to me. The nearest metal suppliers are a 70 to 100 mile drive. I tried making that drive once and came up empty handed. So I buy online and pay for shipping. In the long run it is cheaper for me to do that. I have not bought any material on Ebay yet. I will give Ebay a try for my next project.
 

poplarhouse

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There must have been on hell of a price increase...it shows $151 now from that link you posted!
Wow, you're absolutely right! They must have had it mis-listed this morning. Dang, I should have bought it.
 

poplarhouse

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No, it was solid— I checked several times, and followed the link again when I posted. Apparently, it was just priced wrong on the page. I wonder if my looking at it triggered their review?
 

poplarhouse

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#19
I never buy anything from Amazon. Amazon has done more to hurt small and large businesses than any other organization in the country. And I have found that I always seem to find better deals elsewhere.

Like I said, just my opinion and I certainly don't want to offend anyone. I have bought through Ebay even after their worst transgression (get a mental picture of Homer Simpson pulling out his list to add another name and that's me). I bought a past version of some rather expensive software, and it turned out to be counterfeit. After confirming it with the company (Adobe), I contacted Ebay to find out what to do about it. The short version was they sided with their seller and told me to return it to him at my expense and get a refund less shipping. I emailed back that I really expected to send it back to them, since it would be evidence lost otherwise— this was a federal crime. They were evasive and ultimately I did as they said, after making copies of everything. I filed a report with the FBI and sent them the copies, but never heard the resolution. The seller continued to list his counterfeit software for sale, so I guess he didn't go to jail. I know companies can change their administrations and improve, but I generally avoid the ones that have treated me badly, and their support of illegal activity made me wary.
 

mickri

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#20
I have never had that problem. When I have had to return stuff due to misrepresentations by the seller I have always been compensated for the return shipping costs. Often the seller doesn't even want the stuff back. Like buying anywhere it pays to check out who you are buying from. I always read the negative feedback on a seller and see what the seller's response was. If I don't like what I see I don't buy from that seller no matter how good of a deal it seemed to be. I also always buy with a credit card through Paypal. Never ever use a debit card or direct transfer from your checking account. When I have had a problem I go through my credit card in addition to Ebay and Paypal. Whenever I make a claim with my credit card they immediately rescind the transaction. This causes lots of grief for Paypal and Ebay.

I don't know when your illegal transaction took place. Sounds like it was years ago. These days Ebay routinely removes sellers that don't have a 4 star or better rating. I have had a couple of experiences over the last several years where I went to buy something and received a message to the effect that the seller is currently unable to sell stuff on Ebay.

Another thing that I learned about Amazon from my son. Amazon sells stuff that it owns and also acts like Ebay with independent sellers. If Amazon has something for sale at X$$$ and one of it's independent sellers has the same item for less money Amazon will undercut that seller. I don't know why any seller would put up with that.

Because I don't like Amazon's business practices I don't buy from them. I would not buy from Amazon even if I had to pay a higher price somewhere else.
 

ddickey

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#21
Wow, you're absolutely right! They must have had it mis-listed this morning. Dang, I should have bought it.
Still half the price at Speedy Metals, $314.
Midwest Steel and Aluminum $104.
$240 @ Alro, what a rip.
 

poplarhouse

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#22
I don't know when your illegal transaction took place. Sounds like it was years ago. These days Ebay routinely removes sellers that don't have a 4 star or better rating. I have had a couple of experiences over the last several years where I went to buy something and received a message to the effect that the seller is currently unable to sell stuff on Ebay.
You're right, it was some years back. Like I said, say hello to Homer. It's not like losing $6 really made any difference, I just tend to carry a grudge when I get ripped off. What really annoyed me was that they didn't seem to mind that their seller was dealing in counterfeit stuff. If Amazon ever did me out of a buck, they'd probably go on my list, too!
 

Z2V

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#23
The Metal Supermarket here in Austin closed their doors. There is Metals4U here that I’ve bought from several times. Their prices are much lower than MSM. Steal remnants were 75 cents/ pound at MSM, Metals4U they are 40 cents/pound.
 

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#24
I have a hard time find metal bc there isnt any close places near me. On top of that im not an ebay person either. I would use amazon but there prices arent always great either. Id like to almost buy bulk for some of the projects I want to do but damn are materials expensive!
 

jdedmon91

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#25
For *aluminum*, BuyMetal.com has the best prices of any online metal supplier. I did a comparison of about 40 places a few months ago and they came out on top. They have a fixed $15 flat rate ship change which kinda sucks if you need one tiny piece, but is amazing for anything over a few pounds. Poor UPS lugged 80 lbs of aluminum to my doorstep. There were several other close ones, but I have good luck with these guys. It arrives FAST too.

Their steel selection is more limited (still good prices), but they sell in fixed quantities so you end up buying $200 worth of material. If you need a lot that is fine, but don't expect to get a good deal on a 6" piece.

Edit: The statement above only applies to their 1018 and 1045 cold rolled steel. They have all kinds of sizes available in many flavors of Stainless with no minimum order. Decent prices I think, but I don't buy stainless as often.
I’ll have to check them out. Online metals shipping is expensive.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

jdedmon91

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#26
When I need a small piece for a project, I tend to watch ebay; compared to the online shops, the pricing is usually much better.
If I'm getting something in larger quantities, it's usually my local supplier and local pickup as their shipping typically add 20-40% to the cost.

I have a regular job so getting time to visit the local supplier is often difficult as is getting to the local scrap yards, so I try to stock up on materials I commonly use.


Edit: "small" is subjective, I've ordered materials upto about 5' long and upto about 70lbs/package through scrap yards on ebay.
My choice for odd stuff that I can wait on


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Brento

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For *aluminum*, BuyMetal.com has the best prices of any online metal supplier. I did a comparison of about 40 places a few months ago and they came out on top. They have a fixed $15 flat rate ship change which kinda sucks if you need one tiny piece, but is amazing for anything over a few pounds. Poor UPS lugged 80 lbs of aluminum to my doorstep. There were several other close ones, but I have good luck with these guys. It arrives FAST too.

Their steel selection is more limited (still good prices), but they sell in fixed quantities so you end up buying $200 worth of material. If you need a lot that is fine, but don't expect to get a good deal on a 6" piece.

Edit: The statement above only applies to their 1018 and 1045 cold rolled steel. They have all kinds of sizes available in many flavors of Stainless with no minimum order. Decent prices I think, but I don't buy stainless as often.
There aluminum is a decent price thanks for the tip!
 

pacifica

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#28
So just a setup here, I'm new to working a Lathe/mill...though I have worked in sheet/plate for sometime.
I'm lucky enough to have a Metal Supermarket nearby. I've purchased my metals there for over a decade. I've never bought squared/blocked metal before and holy crap! It is expensive! I am making some velocity stacks and I want to do the lathe test shape (barbell) to check calibration/twist on new lathe. I paid $128 for 4' of 2.25" x 2 .25" aluminum stock! Wow! I always check for remnants when I'm there, but what is a better place for real fabricating materials? Is there a cheaper quality for metals (ie not rolled versus cold roll) I realize we're not dealing with rolled metals here. There are so many kinds of aluminum as there is steel, is there a more affordable quality? I'm not making space shuttle parts...
There are some good deals from amazon, ex.: 360 brass rod 1.3125" by 96", from small parts. It is $72.42 + 5.99 shipping. buymetal.com cost is $352 plus shipping. Prices vary to an unbelievable degree, requires searching.
 

pacifica

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#29
There must have been on hell of a price increase...it shows $151 now from that link you posted!
but 2.5 by 2.5 by 36" is $48 at amazon, including shipping .:eek:
 

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#30
Yeah MSM is ridiculously expensive where I am, compared with getting stuff at General Recycling (previously was General Scrap Iron, they are scrappers, but also sell full and 1/2 lengths of a good variety of new metal). It's not unusual for it to be cheaper to buy a full-length piece from GR for less than what MSM would charge for a short piece of the same stuff (their cut charge is $8 or $10, on top of way more expensive cost per foot of material.
 
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