Waiting for a machine, but thinking about sheet metal supply. Can anyone suggest a size sheet to have my metal supplier sell me? I am looking to cut 1/8" 4130 and I do not have elaborate means available to load sheet. To me this means I should be looking for 48" x 48" sheets at the largest (~80 lbs per an online calculator)? My parts are pretty small right now, so I could also use smaller sheets.
Any advice or thoughts about material handling and how you do it, recommendations, warnings would be greatly appreciated!
I get the 4x8 sheets and cut them down to 4x4 so I can load them onto the table. Cheaper to buy the sheets and cut them myself. If it’s 1/4" I cut 2x4 sheets as that stuff is heavy.
It is a good question without a universal answer. You’ll want to balance material cost, production volume and your budget for material handling capabilities. Metal suppliers will cut to size for a fee. What makes sense to outsource is a question most every business needs to figure out. Is this a hobby/side-hustle or do you want to grow this into a legit full-time business?
I can tell you that it is nice to pick up heavy stuff at a freight terminal or metal yard, load it into your own trailer and then move stuff around your shop. Time is money and we’ve saved a ton on riggers and custom work by suppliers. When we put our business together we prioritized 4 foundational capabilities:
Shop electrical (including 3-phase)
Shop air (drying and distribution)
Material handling (storage, lifting and rigging)
Air quality management (fume extractors, downdraft for grinding)
All that stuff took time and up-front money - money that could have gone to more and cooler tools.
Sometimes you gotta just jump into something with what you have right now. Sometimes it makes sense to go slow to go faster later. Figuring all that out is half the fun.
pwags, How are you cutting down your 4x8 sheets?
I like this crane! I may have to make something similar…
I think I will see what 48" x 48" sheet costs since I should be able to manage these by hand.
Thanks for the thoughts/ideas so far! You guys are helpful.
I have a machine and a hand torch. I just lay them on the ground as I pull them off the truck and cut them with the hand torch and store them as 4x4.