[4]

Where do you get practice scrap cheap?

[3]
[10] Like what you see?
Click here to donate to this forum and upgrade your account!
I guess the title says it all...
I'm definitely a beginner, and willing and eager to be cutting all sorts of chunks of metal, but metal is expensive (which cuts down on practice time)! Where do you all find scrap to practice on? Or, do you practice on other materials that I've not thought about? It doesn't even have to be big chunks of metal to practice simple tasks, but my brain is kinda exhausted of ideas about where to look.

I've got some metal for projects, but I'm a little hesitant to start cutting on it for fear of messing it up, and I haven't generated enough scrap of my own yet!

Part of my problem is living in an area without a whole lot of industrial fabrication in the economy, and maybe I'm just looking in the wrong places, but any ideas are appreciated.
 

Comments

#2
Hello Mauser,

I get most of my metal from the local scrap yard !

But it does help if you have some idea about what it is you want to do.
 
#3
"local scrap yard"? I'm not sure what you are quite referring to, or what you would call it here... Unless you are talking about where old cars go to rust in place? Er... rest in piece?
 
#4
Yeah, I guess that has always been my question too. We have a number of scrap yards that have old cars in them,
but I guess I've always thought that if it wasn't a car, they wouldn't take it. Maybe I need to stop by and see if they
have other stuff.
 
#5
Check out buymetal.com for low cost aluminum. They charge $15 flat rate shipping and you can get a ton to practice on for under $100. Most of it will probably end up becoming real parts as time goes on. This isn't a cheap hobby unfortunately, but that should get you started. I got a 4x4x18" piece of aluminum + 1.5"x5"x10" piece shipped to my door for something like $110. That's nearly 50lbs of aluminum.
 
#6
Scrapyard, metal recycler their one and the same. I am a heavy equipment mechanic my eyes are like:oops: wide open when I'm at places. I keep everything usable. Try going to your local industrial park and see if there's any machining company or such and ask for scrap or cut offs. You might have to buy some lunches but I ran across a place near me that builds food processing equipment. I have TONS of stainless from them. They let me scrounge the dumpster which I occasionally get cutters,bandsaw blades,etc. The company has production standards they throw out a blade if one tooth is ripped off. Well I have to cut and weld the blades to fit my bandsaw so it works out perfect.
I live in a great area for industry still so my machining life has had a lot of great resources. Other areas probably not so good. I can count on one hand how many times I've had to buy metal in 15years.
 
#7
Yeah, I guess that has always been my question too. We have a number of scrap yards that have old cars in them,
but I guess I've always thought that if it wasn't a car, they wouldn't take it. Maybe I need to stop by and see if they
have other stuff.
In Chicago and surrounding areas you see ALOT of scrap people. They drive around on garbage night and grab ANYTHING METAL. Throw out a hot water heater it would be gone in 10 mins guaranteed. They even take beds and rip the springs out of it. Yikes. Scrapping is a profitable game if informed. EVERYTHING gets recycled these days which is good. Every year I store bad batteries from replacing at work and go sell them for 8-12 bucks a battery. At average of 100 batteries you do the math.
 
#8
Scrap Yard, metal recycle places, is the cheapest option but not all of them can be bothered to sell you small pieces of metal, i've had good luck there, it's cheap enough even if you throw away 80% of the piece you still be ahead then buying new material. I've bought an entire running and driving car just because someone fill the trunk of it with short pieces of round stock, perfect for machining in a lathe, i couldn't care less for the car, just emptied the trunk home and call another scrap yard to pick the car up and was 50$ up in the deal, so try to be quick with your questions and respective when dealing with them, they can be a very very difficult to deal with.
 
#9
If you are a beginner, found scrap may suffice. As soon as I started making money (in blacksmithing), I had to stop messing around and only use new steel.
 
#10
If you a Lowes or Home depot they sell round bar. I used some 3/4" to make a part already and it isn't too expensive.
 
#11
Luckily I know a guy that owns a recycling yard, one of the biggest around here. I can get steel for free, only problem is there is limited to pick from but if i keep checking i will find what I need. Brass and aluminum he sells to me for very cheap. But same thing, you gotta get there when the stuff you want or need is there.. wait to long and its sent out and you gotta wait til more comes in.
Usually recyclers are the cheapest places to buy.
 
Last edited:
#12
Tear down discarded printers. They have soft stainless steel rods in them that cut like butter and are great to practice on, and the price is right. These rods are accurately ground, too, so they work great for many projects. The bigger the printer, the bigger the rods.

Aluminum is great to practice on but it cuts best with a tool intended for aluminum.

If I could pick only one material for a new guy to learn with it would be 12L14. You can buy 12L14 on ebay in 12" lengths for very good prices. Some sellers ship flat rate priority for free and you can buy as many as will fit in a box.
 
#13
Seems like I always have stock lying around . We scrap metal regularly at work and I'm able to grab what I want , but I really don't need anything . I've shipped metal on here in the past in a flat rate box but you would need to know what is needed .
 
#14
Yard sales for junk...

Thrift stores too,check with management for junk they cannot sell.

Bedframes usually free and usually good angle iron but some very hard and ruin hack saws...

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
 
#15
I'm surprised to be the first to mention it, machinable wax. There's commercial and DIY, something for everyone. I don't use it all the time, but I do find it handy. I fill some glass containers with it, toss them in the oven for a while and out pops blue plastic rods, plates, etc. The material shrinks a bit as it cools, so it tends to pop out of the container pretty easy. Clean the machine well before using, and you can remelt the swarf over and over.
 
#16
There you are Mauser ! A lot of good tips and ideas where to get your materials from.
 
#17
Yep! Never heard of machinable wax before, but just looked it up, and especially liked the look of the homemade stuff! We're a little short of industrial stuff in my area, but I'll find stuff somewhere!
 
#18
I have a welding shop that sells their drops to me by the lb. Sometimes a dollar and sometimes 1.50. For 2 to 3 ft. lengths.
 
#19
Craig's list..free section..riding mower has shafts.gears.flat metal .hubs..treadmills .list goes on..
 
#20
Depends very much on where you live, but look around your locality, any machine shops. I find the small ones are easier to deal with, they are less tied up with corporate red tape. Ask them for any bar ends that are too short for what they are making , also any parts that, are undersize and can't be reworked. Also fabrication shops where they weld heavy structural pieces like bridge girders, the offcuts can be machined up. I have one near me the allows me to rummage through his dumpster, it costs me a case of beer once a year at xmas.

Motor mechanics are always chucking out drive axles from cars, they're fairly hard but machine well with carbide. Great for making boring bars etc. If you have any earthmovers nearby the hinge pins on the bucket loaders are always being replaced, good steel.

So far in just over two years I have not had to buy any steel for my projects. Brass and aluminium are a bit harder to get but I don't need to use them very often. I have started a collection of old pistons that I intend to melt down and make some billets that I can machine up.
 
#21
Amazon. More for projects than practice. In June, I paid 17 bucks delivered for 1.25 x 36" round. 5 Mins to order, delivered in 2 days, Much more time efficient than going to metal dealer if my time is worth anything. I find prices fluctuate significantly on amazon and sometimes unusual size pieces are much cheaper than standard sizes.
 
#22
Mauser--just keep your eye open for anything free---lots of people just want to get rid of items whether they work or not--take it home ---take it apart or cut it up and save all the nuts-bolts-shafts-bearings-tubes-wheels-sheet metal-etc---I have never taken anything apart that I haven't found material to use for projects or to use for practice on lathe or mill or welding.----bikes have several sized tubing you can cut in pieces and practice on lathe squaring up the ends and keeping all your tubing pieces together for later projects----I have never had to go buy material for projects, and probably many other members are the same good scroungers----If you need locations to find bargains look at the thread ( ideas for scroungers )---I have at least 10 to 20 tons of metal that I got for just hauling home----just start paying attention--it's out there--just look for free stuff---exercise equip is always free to haul away-----get a 4 1/2" angle grinder from HF for $10 and buy a package of thin cut off blades---you can cut up items quickly, and then square the ends for practice-----Dave
 
#23
$.50 cents a pound for all kinds of really good sheet metal, round, flat, square tubing etc.
I go to All Metals in Oroville, Ca.
Any metal fabricating shop will have scrap. Sometimes the scrap is very useable material.
I am making a welding cart for my 3 machines from “scrap” I purchased from them.
$21, for the material, 2” .090” wall thickness, square tubing.
You can’t beat that.
 
#24
Check out buymetal.com for low cost aluminum. They charge $15 flat rate shipping and you can get a ton to practice on for under $100. Most of it will probably end up becoming real parts as time goes on. This isn't a cheap hobby unfortunately, but that should get you started. I got a 4x4x18" piece of aluminum + 1.5"x5"x10" piece shipped to my door for something like $110. That's nearly 50lbs of aluminum.
Woooo. Thanks for the tip on buymetal! Needed a piece of 1/2 x 6 aluminum to make an adapter plate for my little rotary table, was NOT looking forward to trying to find it locally.

I was excited to see their very reasonable prices, but that was somewhat modified by their "processing fee" for small purchases. Fooled them tho, doubled my order and the "processing fee" went from $25-ish to $2.xx. :p
 
#25
I used to visit local industrial metal suppliers and ask if they had any off-cuts I could buy, some sell them, some weigh them all in for scrap value.
If you find a supplier who will let you go through their off-cuts try your best not to upset them with requests to cut a 12" bar into 1" lengths and the like.
 
#26
Any local auto / equipment / farm repair shop will have scrap parts. leaf springs, axle shafts, other steering and suspension components, etc. Some will let you rummage for free, or trade them a six pack of beer for it.

Scrap metal is not selling for what it used to, so a lot of places are just hanging onto it.
 
#27
As mentioned metal recyclers are a great source but you never know what you're going to find from one day to the next. I've got two family owned yards close by and I've scored quite a few bargains.

Machine shops are worth dropping in and saying hello. The price of metal scrap is pretty low so it's a bit of a pain to haul it. Offer them ten cents a pound and they're probably happy to dump it on you. 75 cents or a buck for aluminum and you're their new best friend.
 
#28
If you're just wanting to get the feel of your machine , try some pvc pipe. You can practice turning different diameters to size and it's cheap.
 
#29
Already talked to a couple of folks...
One auto mechanic, and the maintenance guys at the place I work. They maintenance guys showed me the scrap pile and told me to take whatever I wanted. That was really helpful. I do hope to make up some of that machinable wax though...
 
#30
Hi Mauser,

Your catching on :)
I called in to a place I've never been to before, the guy across the road from where I was parked, was throwing a 3 foot length of 3 mm wall by 50 X 50 angle iron into a skip. I walked over and introduced myself, I told him that I was a model maker and asked him if I could buy the angle iron.

He said "No" you can have it, if there is anything else in there you want, just take it. We had a good chat, even got invited to have a cup of tea !
He said if there is anything I can help with let me know.

A useful contact !
 
[6]
[5] [7]
Top