What materials to stock?

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Henry K

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Thanks guys. The comments are very interesting and helpful. One metal research association, I forgot which one, said that polishing the tiny grinding grooves from sharpening a toolbit will reduce the welding tendency of aluminum. Anybody try it?
 

SmithDoor

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Where live we scrape yards, they know how must new cost and for most part sell for ⅔ of new price the best news is you do not buy 20 foot bar

Any time I had to tools I would visit the junk yard first. Made a lot tools from junk yard.

Dave

Geez louise, there should be lots of scrap yards as well as metal sellers in the area
 

awake

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Thanks guys. The comments are very interesting and helpful. One metal research association, I forgot which one, said that polishing the tiny grinding grooves from sharpening a toolbit will reduce the welding tendency of aluminum. Anybody try it?
Anything that increases sharpness and reduces friction will help! :)
 

ajoeiam

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IIRC, A36 is more or less the same as 1018, which is often generically described as either cold rolled steel (CRS) or hot rolled steel (HRS). (Of course, CRS and HRS differ in important ways, but in terms of alloy, I believe both terms generally refer to 1018.)

I make a lot of parts out of 1018 / CRS / HRS / etc. - a lot of parts. Why? Several reasons: 1) I have a very large supply of free scrap material; 2) I often fabricate some portion of my projects via welding, TIG or stick, for which 1018 excels; 3) I am cheap, and 4) did I mention the material is free?

snip
Hmmmmmmm - - - - where does one find a 'very large supply of free scrap material' ?

I, for one, would love to know - - - - pretty please!!
 

SmithDoor

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Where live there lot junkyards that will not sell.
Some A36 steel you go to steel fabrication shops will sell scrape plate and shapes.
Machine shops use bar stock to the nub may a long piece 2" most 1" long. Machine shop will cut a piece by hour and a high price for bar.

I would buy 12 foot bars new to get good price. Today I hope I have bar on shelf or buy on line at high price.

Dave

Here - - - scrap yards will NOT sell.
(Maybe by the rail car but not in smaller quantities!)
 

Richard Hed

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For small stuff and if you're in the US, I went to Hobby Metal Kits (thanks to a forum member tip!) and was happy with prices/shipping. Lots of hex bar stock for making custom engine bolts.

For larger plate, the best, cheapest way is the local scrap yard (Pacific Steel here). Every now and then I'll dive in their recycling bins for $2-3 a pound. A couple years or so of doing that and I have plate in almost any thickness (and a Huey compressor stator housing for my standing desk footstool. hehe). CNC shops generate a lot of waste on thick plates (1-2" thick). Round stock is hard to find, but I managed to get Ø5" 60XX extrusion on a lucky day.

My preference was going to town on a couple PM research engines as a warmup. Their flywheel castings are going to be a lot cheaper than machining raw, round aluminum stock (as with Elmer's). You'll also be left with some scrap for other projects. Just kinda depends on what you want to do and how much you want to spend.
Oh My Thor and Freya. I get scrap (steel) in Moses Lake at between 24c and 28c / pound. Maybe I better stock up while the prices are low. We are a small town but because of various reasons we have quite a bit of industry here including Geni which produces a great deal of scrap of various thicknesses and sizes. I can get 2" thick pieces, usually in rough triangles or other shapes for about a quarter $/lb. Other materials, SS, copper, alum have different prices.

Last week I went to Spokane to buy some metal at Alcobra, but now I have discovered I needs 1/2X3/4 brass bar. Crap--will have to wait, I guess for next time as Spokane is 1-1/2 hours away and I don't often go there. I have some packing glands that I need that brass bar for.
 
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awake

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Hmmmmmmm - - - - where does one find a 'very large supply of free scrap material' ?

I, for one, would love to know - - - - pretty please!!
I work at a university, and have been granted access to the scrap metal bin. I should hasten to say that it is not at all like there is material of every size and description at any given time; quite the contrary. Some days there is nothing of interest - maybe some flimsy window screen frames or rusty and crusty pipe, or a junked appliance that has no parts of interest to me. But some days there may be a treasure if I don't mind breaking it down and separating the valuable from the not-valuable. One day it may be a broken weight machine, with lovely 1" thick steel slabs for the weights, and 1" rods that guide the weights, and some nice structural tubing (square and round) ... just needs to be cut up into usable parts. A week or a month later, there may be an obsolete piece of lab equipment, which happens to have a 1/2" thick aluminum base and 2' long, .75" diameter rods on which the mechanism adjusts up or down ... and a bunch of other odds and ends of dubious value which have to be stripped out and returned to the scrap bin. From time to time there may be discarded electric motors, anything from a 1/10 hp blower motor to a 3 hp 3 phase pump motor. Sometimes the motors work just fine; often they at least need repairs (e.g., brazing up the broken end bell); and often they are simply scrap - but there is a nice 1/2" or 5/8" or 3/4" shaft that can be pressed out and tossed in the bin. Sometimes there is an assembly the function of which I cannot fathom, but it consists of heavy angle iron or channel or square tubing ... again, disassembly required.

Of course, a lot depends on what one is looking for at any given time. I mentioned pipes - often too rusty and crusty to be worth messing with, but sometimes in decent condition; I may or may not take some, depending on whether I need to restock my pipe supply. (What do I use it for? A recent example would be welding up a stand to store my canoe; another recent example, still in progress, is to serve as rollers for a slip roll machine I am building.) Likewise, I mentioned junked appliances - each one is a supply of 20-gauge (or so) sheet steel if I happen to need some. I have salvaged enough to have a more than adequate supply on hand, and I have also salvaged plenty of sheet stainless of similar gauge, from lab or commercial kitchen equipment, so these days I usually leave new such additions in the bin. Recently, though, I salvaged some lab equipment that used sheet aluminum of a similar gauge, because I didn't have much in the way of aluminum sheet.

You get the idea. The key is time and patience, a willingness to "fish" to see if there is anything of interest, a willingness to deal with disassembly. And of course, above, all, a relationship with an institution that, over the span of years, in its normal operations, generates a fair bit of scrap of all kinds. No, wait - above even that, a spouse who tolerates my tendency to come home with "dubious treasures"! She always gives me a hard time about it, of course. :)

I should add that a supplemental source, especially of heavier sheet (6mm or 1/4" in particular), is a friend who has worked at various companies, some of whom have been generous in their scrap policy. Not all are, of course, but once in a while he calls me up or just stops by and drops off a 2' x 4' sheet of 1/4" thick steel, or something similar. Occasionally I get gifts from others ... being known as someone who is happy to receive scrap has generated at least some of the stock I have on hand.
 

Richard Hed

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@Richard Hed Ah, yes, Spokanistan. Yes, prices are going to continue to go up!
So, you are familiar with Spokanistan? I forgot that you live somewhere near. Have you visited the Alcobra shop in Spokane? For someone who is not familiar with the hell streets of Spokanistan, finding Alcobra is a bear. I've been there twice and had difficulty finding it both times. but it is worth it. Ryerson is much easier to find, but since corvid, i mean, covid, they will not sell to the public.
Ryerson is close to Alcobra. They are rebuilding some of their hell streets, I thimpfk as soon as those sstreets are rebuilt, Alcobra will be easier to get to.
 
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ajoeiam

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I work at a university, and have been granted access to the scrap metal bin.
snip

I should add that a supplemental source, especially of heavier sheet (6mm or 1/4" in particular), is a friend who has worked at various companies, some of whom have been generous in their scrap policy. Not all are, of course, but once in a while he calls me up or just stops by and drops off a 2' x 4' sheet of 1/4" thick steel, or something similar. Occasionally I get gifts from others ... being known as someone who is happy to receive scrap has generated at least some of the stock I have on hand.
Hmmmmm - - - - all in all some serious advantages.
I don't work for a place that generates scrap metal (I wear a lot of hats but NOT that one!).
Local scrap places (100 km away (60 miles)) refuse to sell.
I haven't yet tried to connect with local m/c shops - - - - doubt they'd sell except at full price.
Will likely have to try at bigger places in the city (again 100 km away).

I have been buying full length stuff and buying a bunch of stuff at once but that still hurts - - - - a lot!
(But it does make for availability.)
 

awake

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I would think there would be other possible institutions that would generate analogous sorts of scrap over time, though obviously the size and type of the institution would greatly affect the rate of "production." One possible example: a gym is likely going to have some turnover in its exercise equipment over time; this can be the source of some really excellent scrap, but it will take time and patience ... and, of course, access. Maybe a local public school? But there may be policies that make it hard to get access. A hospital? Likely to be lots of SS scrap, but whether or not you would want to be handling it may be another question. City or county roadways / facilities maintenance? Again, government policies may be an issue.

Just thinking out loud about what other possibilities there may be ...
 

Richard Hed

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I would think there would be other possible institutions that would generate analogous sorts of scrap over time, though obviously the size and type of the institution would greatly affect the rate of "production." One possible example: a gym is likely going to have some turnover in its exercise equipment over time; this can be the source of some really excellent scrap, but it will take time and patience ... and, of course, access. Maybe a local public school? But there may be policies that make it hard to get access. A hospital? Likely to be lots of SS scrap, but whether or not you would want to be handling it may be another question. City or county roadways / facilities maintenance? Again, government policies may be an issue.

Just thinking out loud about what other possibilities there may be ...
Yess, yess. I agree. There is always some place that is available. Even sports stores might be tossing something. Also, the local machinist who service farm equipmenht. My local machine shop services a lot of farm equipment and they toss the used metal--often it is too rusty or bent or has huge wear spots. I got a couple good chunks of stainless that way. If there is a military industrial place about, you might ask them as they get cost ++++ and they will NOT sell the stuff to a scrap yard--too much trouble, and they will actually LOOSE $$ by doing that! but they WILL give it to the scrap yard.

30 years ago, when WHOOPS was dismantling some of their plants, they were tossing tens of thousands of $$ worth of copper blocks in the garbade dump.. A Chinese Phd friend of mine suggested they SELL it to a scrap yard. Basically, they were caught in typical dishonesty and were forced to sell it by the books. I'm sure, had he not caught them, they would have sneaked it to the scrap yard to sell and pocket the $$--it would have been insane to actualy dump it at the garbage. He was fired shortly after--I'm sure they didn't want their illegal sneaking and dishonestly interrupted.

Anyway, it's always worth a try when someone is dismantling something like that.
 

SmithDoor

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Good scrape for foundry use.
I gone to junk yard and hard to find usable materials. Mostly nubs of metal.

I had shop so just order a 12 foot bar of each size from ¼" to 1 ½" of steel.
I also have some aluminum and brass bars too total above is around 700 pounds. I am still using that metal today.

I used plate in my work for ¼" to 2½" so I aways had A36. But this material any can at welding shops.
Today I have over ton of A36 from plate to angle on shelf .
I also have small selection of UHMW too.

It took over 30 years to build up a good supply for hobby work. It takes time and money to build a good supply of metal.

Dave

I would think there would be other possible institutions that would generate analogous sorts of scrap over time, though obviously the size and type of the institution would greatly affect the rate of "production." One possible example: a gym is likely going to have some turnover in its exercise equipment over time; this can be the source of some really excellent scrap, but it will take time and patience ... and, of course, access. Maybe a local public school? But there may be policies that make it hard to get access. A hospital? Likely to be lots of SS scrap, but whether or not you would want to be handling it may be another question. City or county roadways / facilities maintenance? Again, government policies may be an issue.

Just thinking out loud about what other possibilities there may be ...
 

ShopShoe

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As one who was once on the institutional side of a public/governmental entity, I can add that "private" sales are often not allowed because there is a chance of collusion and conflict of interest. Often if you wait for things to be put in the trash you can take it, but sometimes even the dumpsters are patrolled by security workers (this is partly to avoid situations where scavengers empty everything out on the lawn or the parking lot and then just leave the mess behind.)

The other thing that is sometimes done is to accumulate a lot of things of all types and then hold an auction sale. There are also sometimes State or regional surplus agencies that periodically liquidate items from several agencies. Now, and I would think more-so since COVID, these auctions are online. Sometimes auction sales are only open to selected public entities, but sometimes they are open to the general public. Where I worked (decades ago), first there was a closed auction, then there would be a public auction with everything left over. Then sometimes there would be "trash" left over from the public sale.

--

Another thing to watch for if you live in certain places is there may be a "community clean-up" day where residents can put large items out for pickup and there may be a chance to find some things that way. Despite the "Scavenging will not be permitted" rule, in my neighborhood there is a continuous stream of vehicles cruising by the piles until late in the night on the day before pickup. I have to admit that I have to force myself to stay home or I will find something "...I can make something with."

Happy Hunting to Everyone,

--ShopShoe
 

tornitore45

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No point in stocking up unless you have a definite project in mind.
Initially you got to buy or acquire in any other way what you need, eventually left over build up.
Starting a new engine I make a very detailed BOM (Bill Of Materials) including hardware and purchased parts like ball bearings and Oilite bushings.
Each part indicate the blank size needed, I can go in the shop and find if I can source there or I need to buy it.
I massage the data to reduce the sizes to buy, if I need 3/4" diameter and 5/8" dimeter short piece then I get a longer 3/4" piece.
Then try to order all I need in as few times as practical to minimize the shipping charges.
I found E-Bay often has the right size at a good price, but recently I found McMaster is selling shorter than full length bars beating E-Bay.
 

Richard Hed

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No point in stocking up unless you have a definite project in mind.
Initially you got to buy or acquire in any other way what you need, eventually left over build up.
Starting a new engine I make a very detailed BOM (Bill Of Materials) including hardware and purchased parts like ball bearings and Oilite bushings.
Each part indicate the blank size needed, I can go in the shop and find if I can source there or I need to buy it.
I massage the data to reduce the sizes to buy, if I need 3/4" diameter and 5/8" dimeter short piece then I get a longer 3/4" piece.
Then try to order all I need in as few times as practical to minimize the shipping charges.
I found E-Bay often has the right size at a good price, but recently I found McMaster is selling shorter than full length bars beating E-Bay.
Yes, this is generally true, however, if you see some good material at a garage sale, do step up and get it if it is cheap. Also, as I have a very good supply of metals at a local recycle place, so you might check out one near you.
 

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