Timekiller

Where do YOU get your steel?

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After reading a lot of project threads and such, it seems that everyone has a lot of "scrap" laying around the shop. I have a bit laying around of small stuff from previous projects, but nothing like everyone else does.

So my question to you is...

Do you buy steel from a yard for a project, and the leftovers are scrap?

Or

Do you get steel from other sources?

I would love to build my scrap pile up a bit, but I cant seem to ever find any free/inexpensive "scrap" I know to look in the town dump, but there rarely is anything worth taking there.

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We have two local steel scrap yards in town. I buy secondary or scrap steel at about 35 cents a pound from the scrap yards.

Also, I've been starting to do some bicycle work, and have found that most bike shops toss out old frames and components by just setting them behind their shops. I have a growing pile of bike frames and other bike goodies. I haven't tried forging any of the metal from the bike parts, but it seems there is a fair amount of steel tubing.

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I too have a pile of bike frames, mabye Ill try the tubing out this weekend.

As far as my steel scrapyard, I went one day to buy an 85lb. chunk of steel, it was $5... then I went a week later and two pieces no more than 10lbs. was $10. You have to catch this guy on a good day I guess.

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If I buy scrap it is $0.20/lb, BUT I have a friend that builds gates, fences, railings and such and he lets me have any scrap in his dumpster. When I have scrap that I need to haul off I take it to his dumpsters and let him get the $$. doesn't ever amount to much, guess it just makes me feel better. Check your area and find someone that does this sort of work. Explain what you are doing and most likely you will get a "dumpster diving permit". Doesn't hurt to take a little something you have made as a gift the next time you just "happen" to be in the neighborhood. ;) I do buy NEW material on occasion too. just don't like to. :)

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Time....
Make sure you are careful when forging tubing.

Some things to remember:
*Heat will travel up the material a lot faster than it would with solid steel.
*DO NOT breathe any of the fumes of the plating that may be burning off.
*Plug the end of the tube. It is creating a vent for all the heat and/or fire from the forge to travel up and out.
*Be careful when you quench it...steam will escape from the open end and will burn you.

Just some things I have found useful for forging tubing....I know I missed a few...

Peyton

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make a friend at a fab shop, or a garage that does real work, also let everyone you know that you like old metal...u will be suprized what shows up on your door step

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Building a scrap pile is not the same as stocking a resource center. And it is not something you can do it over night, you have to work at it. Choose the things you can use, get permission, and bring a truck.

Remember that when one fellow has too many 55 gallon drums, another has too many rail road spikes, another too much tool steel and yet another more widgets than exist anywhere else in the world, it is NOT all in one place. Scrap and resources are where you are located.

Happy hunting, and use the TPAAAT technique only if all else fails. Otherwise you may throw off the compass reading in your local area.

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make a friend at a fab shop, or a garage that does real work, also let everyone you know that you like old metal...u will be suprized what shows up on your door step


Just be sure you own a pickup to haul off the unwanted treasures,smudge pot,tractor radiators and some odd looking pieces of farm equip. I think,

But some good stuff shows up also 2' schd. 80 pipe,sucker rod, hay rake teeth ect.
As a machinist I get to dumpster dive at work bar stock up to 12ft long flat stock and some tool steel the only steel I have to buy is for a special project or if it is under 1/2" dia.

If you live in a small town as I do be SURE you let the Old Farts Coffee club know you like scrap steel!

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My Father-in-law was a shop teacher and the shop program was given tons of scrap steel from machine shops, welding fab shops, and mechanics. I got a bunch of graded tool steel scrap from him. If you can find a fab shop most of them will scrap odd lengths of steel just because they don't have the time and the set up to store and try and use these oddball lengths. For them time is more expensive than the materials, so you waste materials NOT man hours... Farm auctions around here often have plenty of interesting scrap, but the profesional scrappers often run the price up to close to actual value. If you have some old farmers that you know they will have a scrap pile that you might get limited access to, especially if you make them something nice and old fashioned;-) Look for spring shops, guys who specialize in replacing and upgrading springs under cars and trucks, if you are polite and make something nice as a gift you might get some good scrap. (I love to make tongs out of 5/8-3/4" coil spring, gives a really nice spring to the reins if you taper them nicely:-) Ask everyone you know, and meet if they have some scrap metal they want to get rid of. My father-in-law is an enabler and has drug home all kinds of good scrap for me, and called me from auctions seeing if I wanted an anvil or a swage block, or some wrought iron wagon tires (I got 22 tires for 45$) A few old farmers, garage salers, and auction hounds can get you a good supply of cool junk for not too much money... And I also buy new stock from the local welding supply house who stocks a fair range of solid and structural steels, it might not be as cheap as ordering online (although it could be...) but it is nice to support a business that might be there to help you out in a pinch. Develop a good relationship with your freindly welding supply house its just good for business. Goodluck

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The last time I visited my local scrap yard was about a year ago. (I took off a year to pursue other interests, but I'm back.) I was paying 15 cents a pound. I use to go frequently, often just to see if they had anything I might be able to use for some future but still unplanned project. What they have on hand one day probably won't be there the next day.
I'm always on the lookout for angle iron, pipe and plate steel. That stuff is always useful for welding projects. Small solid round and square steel in any usable length for forging is a little harder to find in my scrapyard, so I buy most of 1/4 to 1/2-inch stuff new.
When I scrounge at the scrapyard, I try to find stuff that "matches." For instance, shafting that fits closely in pipe (preferably heavy duty), or tubing that fits closely in another size of tubing. You would be surpised at how often that comes in handy. I recently finished a treadle hammer and I built the slide system with shafting and heavy-walled tubing that I picked up a couple of years ago, before I planned on building the hammer.
I've been doing this for the past 5-6 years and have collected some useful stuff, but I don't consider my scrap pile to be all that large.

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I buy a lot of my steel new from the local steel supply. I use a lot of small stuff like 1/4", 3/8" and half inch square and rounds. I can get a 20ft piece of 1/4" for about $5 or $6. I bring an 18volt sawzall and a large pair of bolt cutters with me so I don't pay for having it cut. I cut it in half and the 10 ft pieces fit nicly in the truck bed.

I also look through their scrap bin while there and buy cut offs of larger stuff I use for jigs. I also grab their old band saw blades from the bin, which they don't charge me for. I weld them into billets with the banding material I also grab out of there. They were prety amazed when I brought in a knife and told them it was made from their stuff.

I have a few local guys that drop off cool stuff once in a while as well. They do scrapping as a side line, and bring me the tool steel and farm implements.

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I buy steel from local warehouses. I get specialty steel from Atlanta. I don't hesitate to go to local shops, explain what I am and ask to dig in dumpsters. I always offer to buy my finds. I don't get rid of much. I scrap out shipping crates for Ducati motorcycles (20 ga sheet, 12mm tubing 18ga wall, 25mm square tubing 18ga wall) I walk railroad tracks. Customers have given me "stuff" from their barns. I go to the railroad station in Athens a few times a year. Always looking....

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Got a sweet deal last night. A friend of mine works at a home theatre place, and uses steel for projector mounts and screens... So we took a ride to his work, and I came home with

1 plate 2'x4' 1/8"
1 plate 16"x20" 1/8"
2 plates 1'x1' 1/8"
1 strip 1/8 x 2" x 10'
1 2"x6" box 1/8" wall 10' (treadle hammer, woo hoo!)
and some other misc pieces of steel aluminum.

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I have a feeling its a little bit eiser out west, rather than here in NJ... besides, people are a LOT nicer in every other state.


That all depends on where your at in NJ, N. Jersey, yeah you definately have people problems but steel should not be a problem with all the industry up there, however your better off looking at the small guy's for scrap, find a small machine shop or two, most will let you rummage in the scrap/metal dumpster or at least sell it to you for what the scrap guy is giving him for it. Find a junk yard or scrap yard, metal recycler or what ever else they want top be called to day and they will have all kinds of stuff you can pick up cheap, leaf and coil springs of off cars and trucks are great forging steel especially for tools and knives.
If your gonna build a specific project then you need to find the closest steel yard that sells new steel, what I do is set aside $$ when I can and when I go to buy steel for a project I'll buy xtra misalainious sq, round, flat and angle stock and before you know it you will be building racks to hold your stock.
In N.Jersey there are plenty of steel mills, you can even buy scrap from them as well, places that sell steel will do custom orders and cut to size so they end up with loads of scrap that they will sell, normally, by the pound and typically pretty cheap at that.

welder19 (S. Jersey)

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Down in South Jersey my scout troop used to camp in the pine barrens and practice rolling over the many junked cars out there. Now I realize what a bonanza of coil and leaf springs and axles and... they represented.

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Timekiller,
There is a great steel company up past Vernon/ Highland lakes, I found it is one of the best places around here!
Its "RS PHILIPS STEEL" R.S. Phillips Steel L.L.C. great guys and right as you pull into the lot they have racks of cut offs of every shape and description for fair prices. And of course if you go to the main yard the sky is the limit, they carry it all. They are pretty cool about cutting stuff up for you too.
128 Lake Pochung Rd.
Sussex, NJ 07461
Phone: 973-827-6464
Fax: 973-827-2323
best of luck with it

TIM

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you gys over in the US
have don't know how good you have it, over here in belgium its much harder to come by good steel for free or at scrap prices. But if I do find something, its usually good quality steel.
johannes

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I use a lot of small rod for flower stems and basket fabbing. There is 4 cemeteries within a 1/2 hour of me that gladly give all the easels that flowers are displayed on just so they don't have to deal with them. The rod is usually from 3/16" to 1/4". I also use them to stake vines (cucumber--green beans--gourds) in my garden. Just one of my sources.

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