If you want to buy steel and you don't want to get ripped off then you may find this article helpful.
You'd think buying steel is easy for the average person welding and fabricating from their garage or small shop. And it is after you find your sources. So if you are buying steel for the first time you might run into a few small challengers prior to your first order.
That's what happened to me. I went to Home Depot thinking they had everything and someone there could help me. Boy was I wrong! The store I went did not have one person who new their metals, and they sure didn't know what the difference was between bar stock and round tubing, let alone square tubing.
So I went to an online steel business: Online Metals. Their prices were not bad and it was pretty easy to order. Since that first order I have ordered from King Metals as well. They are pretty good.
The problem with ordering from online dealers is that they have to cut down the metal to a certain size for shipping.
You have to pay for cuts! Paying for cuts is both good and bad because if you just want your material to show up at your front door all pre-cut and ready to weld after preparation (always prepare your metal), And if you don't know your metal types very well or what the difference is between wall thickness and gauge you may find it a little confusing.
When I need to make a bigger order I go to a local
supplier so that I don't have to pay for very many cuts, which are $20
per cut, not including a $50 set up fee! So I order material, load it on
our truck, and make the cuts at home.
Like I said, sometimes I just want the material pre-cut and ready if I have limited time. I order online. One source I use often is Online Metals.
I couldn't believe it when I discovered the Amazon is now getting into the steel business. Man, they have their hands into everything. Pretty soon they'll be delivering tubing and sheet metal by drones! Now that would be cool.
Here's some of the most common types of steel you can order on Amazon. And note all the great feedback they are getting...
I bought steel from Amazon and the experience was easier than buying from local suppliers and other online dealers. Mainly because I know what I need, and since I am a Prime member I can get free shipping. Try it yourself.
Going to a scrap yard is a whole other ball game because most of them don't have new stock to sell. But a good scrap yard is a great place to find material and get ideas for projects. I recommend you go to one in your area just to see what it's like. It can be fun.
But some of them can be very expensive so try and bargain with them. I will do an whole guide on scrap-yarding shortly so make sure you are on our list.
If you have any tips on how to buy material for fabrication or where a good low cost source is please share it!
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