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Chuck Clemans

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I'm Chuck Clemans and live in Renton, WA. I'm retired and recently turned 87. I'm planning on making some of Jan Ridder's small engines. I have a Sherline lathe and mill. I'm having trouble finding a place to buy steel, brass, and cast iron. Can anyone suggest a source in or near Seattle or online? I used to be able to purchase small quantities locally, but the scrap yards where I could buy by the pound seem to have disappeared
 

Richard Hed

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There simply must be a scrap yard there someplace. I live in Moses Lake where there are at least two scrap yards, one a quite large one with very good prices. Spokane has even more. I can't imagine there not being several scrap yards in Seattle. Scrap yards are almost always cheaper than hobby places.
 

Natbr

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Welcome.
I live near you in the Ravenna neighborhood of Seattle. I'm a fan of Online Metals over in Ballard. You have to order online (as the name would imply) but then I just drive over and "Will Call" items. They are quick (place order night before and you can pick up after noon or so). Don't know about scrap yards -- Boeing supply and Pacific Iron are long gone .... if anyone else has a local lead on still active equivalents ... please post.

-- Nat
 

William May

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Welcome, Chuck! I hope you spend many happy hours in your shop! Doing things like this will keep you healthier longer, I have found..
I have quit buying metal from scrap yards, unless it is simple angles and such.
When you buy at a scrapyard, you pretty much get mystery metal. Also you have to buy a 5 ft. piece, that you only need to take 3" out of, and you are stuck with increasing amounts of scrap that you really have no use for.
I use Speedy Metals. They are very good, and you can buy by the inch of length, so no need for extra material that lays around. If you buy in 12" lengths, you can stock your own shelves with the metals you need most for your projects. It is true they are more expensive than a scrapyard, but you are paying for the convenience of only needing to buy 3" of material, so that is the tradeoff. To me it is worth it. Plus, by buying from places like this, you support the amateur machine shop industry, by keeping your suppliers in business.
I also use "Industrial Metal Supply". They have a local warehouse, and they sell material in 1 ft lengths, 3 foot lengths, or cut to size from 20 ft. standard lengths of steel, brass, bronze, and aluminum. Industrial Metal ALSO sells precut rounds, ranging from 1/2" thick by 3" diameter, to 12" diameter and 4" thick. If you need something like this, you DON'T want to be buying a giant piece, and then having to cut it so you can use it. Plus, as I mentioned above, you KNOW what the material is. The other thing is, Industrial Metal Supply has an "artist corner" where they sell small cutoffs of stainless, brass, copper, steel, etc. that are left over from their industrial cutting operations. These are sold by weight, so if you are talking about 3 square inches of 1/8" copper sheet, they will probably just wave you out the door. They do that a lot with me, (They know me well, and that I work on model steam locomotives, so use various materials in small amounts) and I know they have done it with other members of our local machining club.)
When I started machining, I used to go to scrapyards, but I don't do that anymore. It's kind of a waste of time and money, even if a particular piece of material is cheaper. You still had to spend time chasing around to find it, and you still don't know exactly what it is.
 

Richard Hed

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You have MANY good points. As for myself, I have lots of room for storage and many uses for the metal. I like your point of keeping small businesses in business. It has been found out that when the corporations are able to destroy the local businesses, that prices go WAY up. We might pay 10-15% more from a small business, but when they are destroyed by the super corporations, the price goes up 25%!
 

Master

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A friend and I went to a metal scrap dealer and he bought 5 feet of hollow steel. He told me to cut off 4 pieces to use for flywheels. I forget how long it took my horizontal band saw, but it was hours. We found out it was from a destroyer gun barrel.
 

awake

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Welcome Chuck!

Around here, there are scrap yards ... but they don't allow people to browse the scrap. Liability, insurance, something like that. :(
 

bdrmachine

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I use to get metal from a fairly large scrape yard until they closed down their practice of allowing walk-in sales. I once showed up in my work vehicle for a job project. When the employees saw my US government plates they couldn't scatter fast enough. It's a shame how some businesses use illegal labor, not because they have to but, only to milk the system and pay super low wages and no benefits. I have had good luck approaching manufacturers. I explain what I do and many of them will give you their scrap pieces.
 

packrat

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I used to go to a scrape yard also Rome around and make a offer on steel, but no more. They will buy your scrape but do not want
to sell,, Just like awake said.
 

Bsl

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I live in the area. Try "Metal Supermarkets", Phone number 1 (866) 867-9344. There is one in Kent, another in Everett.
 

Shopgeezer

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If you wanted anything particular in the old scrap yard in our town the owner would hand you a hack saw and tell you to bring it to the scales. No more of course. The yard where I live now will still let you in but you have to sign a waiver and wear the PPE they give you. They have a great collection of brass but almost no aluminum. I haven’t been there for ages. I wonder if the current PPE includes a mask.
 

William May

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I live in the area. Try "Metal Supermarkets", Phone number 1 (866) 867-9344. There is one in Kent, another in Everett.
That is how the scrapyards in Tucson used to be. You could walk around, poking for something you could use. Scrap businesses today are all business. They don't want you walking around, and they really don't want to even sell small pieces. They are working towards their next truckload of brass, aluminum, or whatever, and don't really care about anything else. And the ones that will let you in, don't cut anything for you. Bring a hacksaw!
It is just not worth the hassle when you can get exactly what you need, delivered right to your door.
 

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