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Group Sourcing Metal Ideas

CalgaryPT

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As usual I under estimated other people needs - I never buy sheet metal nor have need to cut it so #2 and #7 don't exist for me. Some rust on items is ok as for welding its nice to clear the mill scale anyways.

With 5 or 7 sheets per order plus some other steel wouldn't it make sense to try Russel instead or some large supplier that has minimum order - I know you can get stuck behind a semi for like 1h+ and they may not be super nice... but price difference on a $1000+ order could be significant.
Russel and Varsteel have the same issue, so you're right. Get your timing wrong and you're stuck behind a semi for hours. The staff have treated me poorly because I am a hobby guy on multiple occasions. Even Calgary Metal used to be better when they sold metal as well as recycling it, or starting fires, or whatever they do now.

I have had sheet goods so rusted from both places that it takes hours sanding them (plus consumables), or I have to get them sand blasted at an extra cost. Some turns out to be so unusable for my needs and I just set it aside for another project. I spend more time sanding that the cost savings are worth, or have to spend extra money in the prep area at powder coat.

There is another factor at play here...my personality. As I have got older, saving a few dollars by driving an F250 all over town looking for the absolute best deal from a place that may or may not have clean stock and will likely serve me up the snot nose treatment just isn't worth the stress to me. I know I can call MS, get it cut, pick it up and it will look the same as my last batch. The staff will be nice, I know there will be parking at the rear, I can walk through the back door and check out other stuff at the same time. No wondering if my day is shot sucking the fumes of Peterbilt Pete for 4 hours while acting grateful for rusted product and a side order of customer service stink-eye.

Nor will I drive all over town for 2 hours to save 2 cents per litre on gas. I'm not ashamed to say that at some point the higher price of convenience and quality outweighs the bragging rights associated with getting the best deal. At least for me.

Having said this, I am pleased for members who take pride in getting the best price over all else, and glad it makes them so happy. I'm on a retirement income so need to be somewhat careful, but the reduced stress for me is worth the extra dollars.
 

Janger

(John)
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Premium Member
James at steel inc. also has nice clean sheet. But no shear. The electric scissor cutters though are pretty good. Might be another option for you Peter but I get the available now and making it easy. MS is good on that point.
 
Russel and Varsteel have the same issue, so you're right. Get your timing wrong and you're stuck behind a semi for hours. The staff have treated me poorly because I am a hobby guy on multiple occasions. Even Calgary Metal used to be better when they sold metal as well as recycling it, or starting fires, or whatever they do now.

I have had sheet goods so rusted from both places that it takes hours sanding them (plus consumables), or I have to get them sand blasted at an extra cost. Some turns out to be so unusable for my needs and I just set it aside for another project. I spend more time sanding that the cost savings are worth, or have to spend extra money in the prep area at powder coat.

There is another factor at play here...my personality. As I have got older, saving a few dollars by driving an F250 all over town looking for the absolute best deal from a place that may or may not have clean stock and will likely serve me up the snot nose treatment just isn't worth the stress to me. I know I can call MS, get it cut, pick it up and it will look the same as my last batch. The staff will be nice, I know there will be parking at the rear, I can walk through the back door and check out other stuff at the same time. No wondering if my day is shot sucking the fumes of Peterbilt Pete for 4 hours while acting grateful for rusted product and a side order of customer service stink-eye.

Nor will I drive all over town for 2 hours to save 2 cents per litre on gas. I'm not ashamed to say that at some point the higher price of convenience and quality outweighs the bragging rights associated with getting the best deal. At least for me.

Having said this, I am pleased for members who take pride in getting the best price over all else, and glad it makes them so happy. I'm on a retirement income so need to be somewhat careful, but the reduced stress for me is worth the extra dollars.
One thing some people neglect to look at is that they ARE running a business.

If I can back up a step I’m not saying I like MS or that I don’t like them.

Businesses need to make money to keep the doors open. Yes, price gauging is probably going to have the opposite effect.

But I agree with you. Sometimes convenience knowing what you’re getting is worth a bit more. I typically don’t price shop too much and try to stay loyal to a few shops.

It does add up though if one place is consistently $5-10 higher than the next place on consistently the same product. Your situation is unique because you’re paying more (possibly) for a superior product.

Just my two cents
 

CalgaryPT

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The electric scissor cutters though are pretty good. Might be another option for you Peter but I get the available now and making it easy.
Yup....I think those cutters are fun. I got a killer deal on a Milwaukee shear but it can only do to 20 gauge I think. Get tool for thinner stock. But I am in love with my stomp shear (even though it is the smallest width made it still does 16 gauge manually)...I love the square edge it gives and there is just something so satisfying about that "thump" it makes.

John, you used to have a circular metal saw didn't you? How does that work?? I've heard once you get used to them you can get some great cuts.
 
Yeah I also got a little cutter but never yet tried it on actual metal. I think its dewalt as its yellow. I think 20ga or 18ga or something like that is max. I got it cheap for like 35CAD used so even if I only use it few times its a good deal.

I would also like to find out more about metal cutting circular saws. The problem with a large bandsaw is that the blades which have big teeth cannot cut thin stuff - if you try you loose lots of teeth and the part goes across the garage. Changing blades is a bit of a pita. Blade with lots of teeth will cut anything but larger diameter stuff (like > 2 inch) takes forever - like 5x+ slower then blade with say 6-8 teeth per inch.
 

CalgaryPT

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Yeah I also got a little cutter but never yet tried it on actual metal. I think its dewalt as its yellow. I think 20ga or 18ga or something like that is max. I got it cheap for like 35CAD used so even if I only use it few times its a good deal.

I would also like to find out more about metal cutting circular saws. The problem with a large bandsaw is that the blades which have big teeth cannot cut thin stuff - if you try you loose lots of teeth and the part goes across the garage. Changing blades is a bit of a pita. Blade with lots of teeth will cut anything but larger diameter stuff (like > 2 inch) takes forever - like 5x+ slower then blade with say 6-8 teeth per inch.
Don't think they make them anymore but I have a 20 year old Makita 4" (not 4.5") grinder. I put a 1/16" cutting wheel in it for thin stuff. Some smart machinist person should make a caddy with roller bearings and a spring that allows it to glide across a sheet and cut. Works like a charm.
 
My dad has an old 4". Main problem is getting disks for them. Yes you could cut straight lines like that but to cut a curve or a circle would be difficult.

Its like a plasma cutter but with more expensive consumables. You cut straight lines with plasma cutter against a ruler on one side. Cuts very nice and clean - just like a little grinder. Even the CUT50 Chinese models to a great job with all types of sheet metal. On thicker stuff the "50" may be a bit of a stretch. But they will cut not too nicely 1/2" and 1/4" decently. Claimed 3/4" is ugly and as slow as using a grinder - but very ugly and emergency only.

Oh and indeed they hate water in the air line ... a lot.
 

Janger

(John)
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Yup....I think those cutters are fun. I got a killer deal on a Milwaukee shear but it can only do to 20 gauge I think. Get tool for thinner stock. But I am in love with my stomp shear (even though it is the smallest width made it still does 16 gauge manually)...I love the square edge it gives and there is just something so satisfying about that "thump" it makes.

John, you used to have a circular metal saw didn't you? How does that work?? I've heard once you get used to them you can get some great cuts.
Peter -

I have a Evolution brand metal cutting circular saw. It runs somewhat slower than a standard saw and ships with a carbide tip circular blade with both cutting teeth and odd guide teeth facing backwards. I've used it very successfully on 1/8" and 1/4" and even thicker material but I actually haven't tried it on anything thinner. I checked the manual and it specifies a maximum thickness but not a minimum. It works great generally. It is LOUD and it throws small blue hot chips all over. Leaves a good clean edge. PPE is a must. I wear a hat, ear muffs, googles AND face shield, and gloves. It wasn't very expensive either - I see they are $150 online. They have a 'steel' cutting version as well for double the money. That's still pretty cheap compared to a Fein or Milwaukee.

What gauge are you trying to cut? I could do a test if I have something similar in the shop and report back.

Mine is similar to this one:
https://www.evolutionpowertools.com/us/build/circularsaws/r185ccs/
 

Janger

(John)
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Premium Member
Don't think they make them anymore but I have a 20 year old Makita 4" (not 4.5") grinder. I put a 1/16" cutting wheel in it for thin stuff. Some smart machinist person should make a caddy with roller bearings and a spring that allows it to glide across a sheet and cut. Works like a charm.
A caddy... with roller bearings and a spring. cool idea Peter. what's the spring for?
 
A caddy... with roller bearings and a spring. cool idea Peter. what's the spring for?
Probably you want some quick way to stop cutting - press to cut, release to stop.

I was thinking of evolution for metal. I seen some videos. The reviews are that it is a good hobby style saw - i.e. not for heavy production use. Main problems were rigidity and loosing teeth in expensive saw when things go wrong. People have went far above 1/4" cutting like 2" round or bigger.

It is also limited to mild steel only.

Blades apparently last quite a long time BUT are expensive - so mistake + lost teeth is a big mistake.
 

Tom O

Active Member
Peter -

I have a Evolution brand metal cutting circular saw. It runs somewhat slower than a standard saw and ships with a carbide tip circular blade with both cutting teeth and odd guide teeth facing backwards. I've used it very successfully on 1/8" and 1/4" and even thicker material but I actually haven't tried it on anything thinner. I checked the manual and it specifies a maximum thickness but not a minimum. It works great generally. It is LOUD and it throws small blue hot chips all over. Leaves a good clean edge. PPE is a must. I wear a hat, ear muffs, googles AND face shield, and gloves. It wasn't very expensive either - I see they are $150 online. They have a 'steel' cutting version as well for double the money. That's still pretty cheap compared to a Fein or Milwaukee.

I have one too I was thinking about making a backstop for it that overhangs the table to collect the chips.

What gauge are you trying to cut? I could do a test if I have something similar in the shop and report back.

Mine is similar to this one:
https://www.evolutionpowertools.com/us/build/circularsaws/r185ccs/
I have one too I was thinking about making a backstop for it that overhangs the table to collect the chips in a bin.
 

Janger

(John)
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Premium Member
I chipped off a tooth but the saw sharpening place fixed it. I think it was $22 for a resharpening. It’s the place across the bay from steel inc. clamping the material to avoid it jumping around I think is crucial as the times I’ve had problems is when the material moved.
 

CalgaryPT

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A caddy... with roller bearings and a spring. cool idea Peter. what's the spring for?
I think we've all used an angle grinder sideways with a thin cut off wheel. I was just thinking to add a caddy so it could roll, but the wheel would be about 1/4 inch above the material held up by a spring...then you start the grinder, put pressure downwards to contact the wheel to the material and cut. Because the wheels wear fast, you just adjust the pressure downwards as the wheel wears....

Just thinking out loud.
 
A very timely conversation for me, I was just enquiring to a buddy of mine yesterday about the alum cutting capabilities of his circular "metal saw". I will have need to cut numerous pieces of 3/4 thick flat bar ( when I find a supplier in Ab. that can supply at a price even a small bit better than MS). I have used my "Taiwanese " bandsaw...works but would like to be a bit quicker...thread the 14" cut-off saw and it was even slower melting its way thru a cut.

Buddy says he has never cut alum. with his but it cuts 1/2 cold rolled flat bar slick & fast ( says the cut is smooth as glass) and predicted Alum will be just as good provided it is held firmly in a jig of some kind.
Any of you fellers here cut alum with yours??
 
I'm not quite sure what sort of saw you're speaking of but I cut aluminum with my 14" chop saw that has a carbide tooth blade in it and it works real well. 3/4" bar would work well. However light stuff can be dangerous as it is aggressive. I'm not sure I would want to cut much thinner than 1/2" with it. I've cut lighter weight 1/8" aluminum angle iron with my table saw very successfully.
 
1. Abrasives don't work well on AL b/c it gums it up.
2. AL is very soft and can be cut easily with most wood equipment. Main thing to watch for is teeth getting gummed up. I used large horizontal BS to cut a lot of small AL thin pieces (window excursions) utilising blade for wood and speed for wood.

You can set your metal band-saw to top speed and get bigger teeth for it - max possible for the material you are cutting. 3/4 bars if you mean square can be cut in multiples. At top speed with larger teeth a cheap Chinese 6x5 band saw should make a cut in like 30 sec, so for square cut say 16 pieces at once and I can see it done in 5 min.

I don't know how much you need to cut and to what accuracy but AL is much easier to cut then mild steel which is much easier then alloy steel which is much easier then anything hardened which is easier then tool steel.
 

CalgaryPT

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Peter -

What gauge are you trying to cut? I could do a test if I have something similar in the shop and report back.
/
I'm actually really pleased with my tools for sheet, but was just curious about your experience with the cir saw as I never used one on metal. But thanks for the offer.

On a side note I have a old fashioned abrasive cut off saw for steel. I don't use it much anymore, but I oddly love the spark trail and especially the smell it makes in the shop. The wife...not so much.
 
Thanks guys. I have been cutting the 1/2 x 2.5" alum that I used for proto-typing the piece needed with my "cheap Chinese" 5 x 6 bandsaw" with a bimetal 14 tooth blade and it takes almost 5 min. to cut that. I will certainly be sourcing out a much courser toothed blade.
 

Bofobo

Well-Known Member
Thanks guys. I have been cutting the 1/2 x 2.5" alum that I used for proto-typing the piece needed with my "cheap Chinese" 5 x 6 bandsaw" with a bimetal 14 tooth blade and it takes almost 5 min. to cut that. I will certainly be sourcing out a much courser toothed blade.
All blades canada.