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Cost of Steel

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Has anyone noticed the price of steel has rocketed in the UK. I ordered two slices of 100mm dia x10mm from my local steel merchant and was quoted 27.50 per slice, six months ago the same items were 10.00 per slice which I thought was expensive at the time. I think steel stockists are taking advantage of current prices while they have old stock bought at lower prices earlier.
However good old ebay came up trumps at 18.00 inc delivery.


Hugh Currin:
Well, it certainly seems to be rising in the US. No repeat orders to compare but it sure feels more expensive. But then everything here is increasing in price, kinda like inflation.

But even worse. From winter home it's some 1 1/2 hour drive to Phoenix for any kind of industrial stuff. Even nuts and bolts are hit and miss locally. Earlier this week I went in for prescriptions and steel. I thought the prescriptions would be the harder to so called them first. All set. Then started calling around for a 5" length of 2"x3" hot rolled. (for a lathe riser block) Nada. I could find no-one who had this stock. I have an aversion to shipping "chunk o steel" but finally threw in the towel and ordered from Online Metals. Also tried to get some metric screws from Lowe's. Nada in the sizes I need. I hate to pay shipping of a dozen screws, but finally ordered from McMaster. The pain of going into the heart of Phoenix for a real industrial supply store is overwhelming, even if I knew where to go.

I've started adding mileage in calculating local/mail order since the cost of gas/diesel is also shooting up. It's maybe $6 to the nearest store and double that to the nearest hardware store (Ace) just in fuel. Add the chance they don't have what I need and I'm favoring mail order more and more. Mail order is usually less expensive before adding shipping.

Amazon Prime is our friend living here.

Brian Rupnow:
The price of steel and aluminum is going up like crazy in Canada. In fact, the price of EVERYTHING is going up like crazy. Some of these prices are legitimate due to Covid and supply chain issues. However---I'm pretty sure that many vendors across the board are taking advantage of this situation and raising their profit margins, even though their is no reason for them to do it except for greed.

This may be the wrong forum for what I am about to say, but perhaps it is the right train of thought to append.

I suppose I am a builder and a repairer, and perhaps a maker in new-speak. I am not really  modeler like a lot of the home machinists I admire. (I certainly would like to be, but ........)

I certainly like some of the projects I have seen "around" made from salvaged materials and I would like to suggest that maybe there might be a benefit from attempting to use other than metal or using salvaged components from time to time.

On my "around tuit" list: A double cylinder air/steam engine made with auto brake cylinders. A "water engine" made with PVC pipe, fittings, and purchased stock (it will run on water, so why not). A pump or other fluid device made of transparent plastic so that moving fluid can be seen circulating.

At least one could practice machining skills and exercise the brain without taking out a mortgage. This might also help bring new people into our folds.

I would be glad to see some projects made with alternate materials and salvaged items along with the excellent models. I will also post some of my efforts when I can, although my time in the shop seems to be limited these days.

By the way, I remember that a few years ago on HMEM someone was going to machine an engine from stone (granite, I think.) I have always wondered whatever happened. I also remember someone in the jewelry area made an engine from crystal, perhaps CZ. I also remember a set of darts with parts turned from gold (puts brass in perspective!?).

Happy building, machining, making, assembling, modeling, whatever....


Solid points ShopShoe. I always enjoy the inventiveness I see from people who turn salvaged stuff into fun projects. I would enjoy seeing more of that for sure. I like engines, yes, but more than that just seeing ingenious fabrication, whatever it is, is always welcome. I'm not very good at that myself, but I admire other peoples work.

As for the price of materials, it is far more than gouging. I work with raw material pricing every day, and it has been completely volatile for the last 2 or 3 years, ever since the trade issues with China kicked off. Copper, aluminum, steel etc fluctuate so much that most vendors will only honor a quote for one day. There have been periods of stability, but it has been crazy, and the latest production difficulties due to staff shortages and issues have pushed prices up again.

Keep you scraps! Start a home workshop foundry!


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