View Full Version : Purchasing Metals

10-25-2015, 08:59 AM
I've seen a few posts over time about where to get metal from. McMaster Carr is a great source for must of us. They are not the cheapest by far. Any big box store like Lowe's etc will be expensive too.

I bought from a local metal supplier and they delivered it for free. Most will if you meet a min order. Most will cut 16' to 8' for free or a small cut fee.

check out the difference in price.

Angle 1"x1"x1/16" - 16' -$5.49 each, McMaster for 8' $13.31
Channel 1"x"1"x1/8" - 16' - $15.59 each McMaster for 8' = $27.38
Channel 1"x1/2"x1/8" - 20' - $12.42 McMaster for 8' $18.04
Flat 1/8" x 3/4" - 12' $3.17 McMaster for 8' $7.63

Steel Rod - 1/4" x 12' -$2.30 McMaster for 6' $4.67

My total $306.53 total delivered from McMaster $1,174.13 plus shipping

This is quite eye opening.


10-25-2015, 11:13 AM
I bought 8' strips of aluminum online and it was about half the price of the box stores even with delivery can't recall the site but most things were cheaper. The nice thing is that they actually have a huge selection whereas it's a bit of a crap shoot with the box stores.

edit - - I got it from MetalsDepot.com...

10-25-2015, 11:41 AM
OnlineMetals.com is a great resource if you can't get it local. I looked at a piece of aluminum angle for comparison. They have 1"x1"x0.125" for $8.49


10-25-2015, 11:54 AM
We have a local metal supplier with a "surplus" walk in store, I used to save a lot of money there, but one day i brought my wife in because they had started stocking wrought iron for fences, rails etc..

WELL, whatever I could EVER have saved... :blink:

10-25-2015, 08:23 PM
yeah, the local suppliers are definitely the way to go. The mills are even better. It's generally a fraction of the price. The question is whether or not they want to sell to the general public. Small suppliers generally will, but the mills often won't bother. They don't want to figure out what fraction of a ton a single 8' stick of aluminum channel costs. They also often don't have a means to take your money if you don't have an open account with them.
I've found that Central Steel and Wire is my favorite here in Chicago. They have a Will Call open until at least midnight, sometimes around the clock. They don't like people coming in to "shop" but if you call in your order, it'll be sitting there at will call when you get there.
Also, most of the local distributors and mills wont ship. They might deliver locally, but not ship with common carriers.
Getting pricing for planning small projects isn't always fun. (and pretty much anything we'd be doing is a small project, even if it's big to you) It's usually based on ton weight of a given metal at current market price. So they typically don't give a price per piece like the online places or box stores.