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There is no slave labor in China anymore. My first trip to China in 2005, I did go into a shop where was some 14 year old girls doing needlework on canvas. They were getting paid about 25 cents an hour to our standard, but fro them, that was privileged to make that kind of money. They only worked about 4 hours a day. Just like over here, they went to school during the day.Slave labor help the Chinese a lot.
Not totally true.Because in China they don't spend money with OHSAS, marketing, fancy offices, CEO fast cars, government taxes, development, employee bonus, insurance...
Your probably comparing the price of american made steel to the finished product made in china from chinese steel. That equation will never work. And the bought finished product will never be as good as the one you make.I understand the huge volume buying discount, but it sure is harder to understand how they can buy the material, produce & package the product, ship it from China, truck it to wholesalers & then retailers across the country and then have a price lower than we can buy the material to make it.
Sometimes the shops will let you have the offcuts before they go to the scrap yards, that way usually for free, or sling the guy a few beers, I gave one guy a slab and he's given me unrestricted access to his scrap bins, I've picked up some very nice pieces of high quality steel, now all I've got to do is find the time to start making stuff. works for me.Your probably comparing the price of american made steel to the finished product made in china from chinese steel. That equation will never work. And the bought finished product will never be as good as the one you make.
If your looking for really good quality steel go to you local auto workshop and scrounge old drive shafts, surprising what you can make out of an old shaft, a brake disc, clutch plate etc., and other parts. especially cars made in Germany, Japan, USA and some others beware Korean and other asian. Also large truck workshops for larger size shafts. Even heavy earthmoving or mining equipment shops. Also try scrounging large RSJ and plate off cuts from structural engineering shops, that steel is always made to a spec.
Maybe not sustainable for you, but it works for me, and I know it works for others. Its high quality structural steel and it's free, it's only for hobby use, not for production. With high labour costs it's cheeper to throw stuff out than pay some one to sort it. Not all, but many shops willingly let you take it.As often happens, this has turned into a China bashing thread, which I don't think was the OP's intent. It's not about trotting out the tired and out of date tales of why China products are cheap. It's about, at least to me, why we are being drug over the coals on the cost of small lots of materials. BMW, a company not known for dumping, will sell me a suspension press arbor set for less than the drill rod and good steel would cost me. And believe me, I tried making it out of 1020. it was comical. The answer of scavenging the scrap piles is laughable, not sustainable on a reasonable scale.