I live in Seattle and don’t have any place that I know of to get raw stock. I mostly cut aluminum, but would like to dabble in the world of harder materials as well. Any recommendations of local shops or places I can have things shipped reasonably would be awesome.
Welcome to the forum!
You and me both. It is expensive here! Not sure of the chunks/bars of aluminum you use but certainly you have probably checked with Everett Steel. That is where most of my sheets of metal come from.
I hear of prices people pay in Michigan. It is 40 to 50% of what I am paying through a business that gets it at a discount and passes the discount on to me. I pay their cost, that’s it. Everett Steel drops off metal every week or two so they would be considered a “regular” customer, I would suppose.
if i’m looking for a particular size, either Mcmaster for next day delivery or metal supermarkets
also, I bought a “drop box” off eBay that got me started. it’s just a bunch of cut ends from an eBay shop that sells the ends of stock they didn’t use. I also bought Delrin that way.
Metal Supermarket also has a drop shelf that sells drops by the pound. usually about 1/2 the price of buying the piece anyway.
eBay for non specific size from large shops selling their drops. most will pack a USPS flat rate and its a great deal. Im lucky to have a local supplier that has an outlet that sells by the pound in most cases along with stock lengths. or metal supermarkets/mcmaster but your going to pay.
I’m also in Seattle. I get stock from three places: Metal Supermarkets in Kent, Online Metals, and Buymetal.com
Online Metals tends to be cheaper, and they usually have at least a 15% off coupon going. Their shipping costs are fairly reasonable. You used to be able to will call Online Metals at their warehouse, not sure if that’s still true
Metal Supermarkets has good selection, but is pricey (usually less than McMaster though).
Buy Metals.com is closer in price to OM - make sure you check both, because some stock sizes can be inexplicably marked down at one but not the other.
I live in a small western Colorado town and we have a metal yard that I can get whatever I want. https://reclametals.com/. Surely you have something similar near your Seattle location.
X2 I would try to find a local metal yard. They are substantially cheaper than buying online and also no freight cost. 5in x 20in x 2.5in stock of aluminum i am right around $72.50 per.
I appreciate all the suggestions. I’ll certainly look into them. I’m actually still waiting on my MR-1. Placed order a few weeks ago so hopefully I’ll get it soon. A relative of mine has a metal shop by him in phoenix that is a dream for machinists, haven’t found any place local yet to have the huge selection at even close to affordable. I’m new to the whole machinist world. I’m an old school woodworker and 3D printing enthusiast so this is all foreign to me.
I have worked full time in a recon (reconditioning) machine shop/ welding shop for the last 21 years. Now days affordable and metal do go together they had a bad falling out. We buy our material from a company called Ryerson. We buy so much we get discounts.
I buy my material through the company to get the same. With Ryerson and others buying in bulk is where it is. When I buy 14 ga, 1/4 sheet metal it is 10 at a time. Then our non sheet stuff the more you buy the better.
If you do one off stuff needing small pieces. Call around and ask for drops see what they have. I scored a good deal on some ar plate not to long ago because it was goin in the scrap bin.
I always try to find drops on eBay. A lot of the sizes that I need are scrap/cutoffs for someone else. This can be a great deal, for instance I recently bought ~10lbs of 2" delrin round cutoffs (1-4" long) for about $20, the cost of one 12" rod. It’s really handy having a lot of spare delrin. A lot of metal suppliers on eBay ship cutoffs using post office flat rate boxes, which can be pretty inexpensive.
Otherwise I shop at Online Metals. They moved the Seattle warehouse to South Park (or near there) so it’s no longer useful for me to do will-call, but they can get things to me pretty quickly.
Online Metals also sells “protoboxes” which are random aluminum cutoffs and can be useful scrap for learning on.
Don’t call me Shirley!
You might check out alcobrametals.com. they have “good” pricing and will cut and ship any material that you want. You are in the middle of a huge Industrial area. I wonder if you could develop a relationship with some tiny machine shops that would let you comb through there materials that are headed for recycling. The big guys won’t let you through their front door, but the smaller shops might be willing.
You have a Metal Supermarkets, you can go and browse their remnants cart and get some crazy deals depending on who’s working the register. Last time I went I picked out some random pieces and the lady didn’t even bother measuring or looking closely what it was, just said “how’s $10 for all that sound?”
I’ll be checking out metal supermarket Monday for sure. Trying to get some material stocked up for when my machine finally comes in.
Thank you to all for the suggestions!
Me too! Let me know how it goes. Thank you Mike @Multra !
You can always go to your competition or if you are an amateur, to the big boys that are known for their work in the area.
Introduce yourself and ask them for scraps that you can practice on, and then casually ask where they get their supplies. They have no reason not to tell you. They will have scraps, some quite large, and its value is already written off. They often pay people to take the scraps away as recycle metal.
The worst that can happen is they tell you to get lost. You just go to next metal shop and try again.
You may actually make new friends, and perhaps, someone that can mentor you.
And ask them what? for scrap steel? I’m confused
I have good luck with this source.
I scored a piece of 6061 aluminum 36’‘x42’'x1/4" for no cost just for the asking if I could look at their scrap bin. It was a job shop that had a huge laser table among other items. I mostly do small things in aluminum, but I have dabbled in plastic and steel. Most of the material donated by friendly job shops. If you are a beginner and need some material to practice on, I see no need to buy premium metal.
Graduating to major job shop status, you will need to find a local source of materials to make it work, asking the people that use them is your best bet.