Author Topic: Cost of Steel  (Read 1690 times)

Offline mikemill

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Cost of Steel
« on: January 14, 2022, 12:04:56 PM »
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.

Mike

Offline Hugh Currin

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2022, 03:34:03 PM »
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.
Hugh

Offline Brian Rupnow

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2022, 04:29:38 PM »
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.

Offline ShopShoe

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2022, 02:02:52 PM »
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....

ShopShoe

Offline propforward

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2022, 03:30:05 PM »
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!
Stuart

Forging ahead regardless.

Offline crueby

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2022, 03:32:43 PM »
A number of people here (myself included) have used old handwheels and cart wheels to make flywheels from - can be a cheap way to get a larger diameter disc. Leftover cast iron pipe works great for flywheel rims too.

Offline propforward

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2022, 04:07:11 PM »
Occasionally I avail myself of the scrap bins at work. A piece of drop to us is a lovely piece of stock to a home machinist / model engineer. But the company gets money back for scrap so I always ask permission, which I don't always get.

But I've learned which management tend to say "yes" more and my success rate has gone up. :D

Stuart

Forging ahead regardless.

Offline Jo

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2022, 05:12:15 PM »
Sadly our clubs often have to clear workshops when their members pass on to the great workshop in the sky. While the tools are often quickly sold on the metal stocks normally hang around and end up for sale CHEAP! at the shows. ME shows are often a source of good quality stock for little money. And it is always worth mentioning your needs to other model engineers who may have "spare"  :o

I am trying to remember when I last brought some metal  :noidea: I think I brought several different sizes of stainless from EKP in 20 off 30cm lengths for making studs about 5 years ago but buying big/expensive stuff  :paranoia:

Jo
Enjoyment is more important than achievement.

Offline mikemill

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2022, 05:27:03 PM »
Years ago, when I started building the Bentley BR2 Radial engine I needed quite a lot of steel in various shapes and sizes, near where I worked in London was one of the largest steel stock holders in the capital. I made a list of my needs and went into the sales office and explained what I was making, and the chap behind the desk said oh you want samples donít you wink wink, he then wrote a note and told me to go the warehouse and see Joe. I was shown where the offcut bin was and told help yourself, after I got enough steel to last me a lifetime Joe helped me to load it all in the car, I gave Joe a five pound note, happy days.

Mike

Offline derekwarner

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2022, 01:26:51 AM »
So Mike says...'I was shown where the offcut bin was and told help yourself' .....

Yes, but disappointingly Mike, comments like these are diminishing at a great rate of knots..... principally due to increased concern for 'liability insurance costs' which effectively prohibit any unescorted/inappropriately attired person from accessing the scrap bins area

Have you seen anyone throwing an offcut piece of material into the scrap bin lately?......

:facepalm:.......safety hat + hearing protection headset + safety glasses + safety gloves + safety toecap boots plus a fluro coloured vest   :Jester:

These insurance costs are unfortunately just a fact of life that has changed the world

Derek

« Last Edit: January 21, 2022, 04:24:33 AM by derekwarner »
Derek L Warner - Honorary Secretary [Retired]
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Offline mikemill

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2022, 09:42:33 AM »
Yes Derek those days are long gone, but have we progressed or just become more neurotic, I think itís the later.

Mike

Offline BillTodd

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2022, 12:04:39 PM »
I work (as consultant) for a group of engineering firms, each small and separately run  , so metal tools etc. are not a problem to me. I often look at the scrap bins and think how much model makers would love to their hands on the stuff. (It really is mind boggling how much material/tooling is scrapped - or finds its way into my garage :-))

So, I suggest this and it's all about approach : 

Go armed with universal currency - tea, coffee biscuits and cake  - if the works manager takes cash - where's he going too put it? if he pockets it, someone's going to be p***d off  , he can't put it in to petty cash 'cos the accounts dept will complain.  Biscuits etc. can be left in the canteen and everybody's happy.

Explain you just want a couple of bar ends or some 'unknownium'  - metal that cannot be identified can only be used for fixtures or, more usually, scraped.

Be prepared to go home empty handed  and ready to come back later if 'that's more convenient' - these people are at work and may not have the time to sort you out on the spot.

Try to build a relationship with them  - don't demand or expect, remember softly , softly catchy monkey
Bill   remember - Wash your hands regularly
Always maintain a sociable proximity (at least 2m) while conversing face to face.

Offline ShopShoe

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2022, 02:36:00 PM »
Crueby,

Thank You for the info about cast iron pipe. I have been wondering if that would work. I have a plumber coming to my house to give an estimate for a bath repair and I'm going to ask him if he can get me some pieces to play with.

RE: Scrap Bin,

I haven't needed to do it lately, but there are some metal fabrication shops around me who will sell offcuts. Go at an unbusy time (for the guys in back as well as at the order desk.) They may take me to an area where I can't touch anything but can see things on the shelves or the floor and I can ask for those to be brought out for pricing. I don't quibble over price a lot because I know they're in the middle of an order for some big customer and don't want to waste time.  I also pick up odds and ends "for future use."

If you think about it, the normal process would be for me to submit a request, then they would most likely have to take the stock to the saw and cut it, then price it, etc. As a work order, it would have to have a delivery time or pickup time and they would have to allow for that. Another thing I have done for my own fabrication projects is to order stock lengths, sometimes saving the cutting charges is a better deal than getting more than I strictly need. (I also like the control of cutting material myself, getting exactly the length and the finish the way I want.)

--ShopShoe

Offline AVTUR

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2022, 03:52:34 PM »
Strictly this is outside th topic. I have just revisited the website of a major UK supplier of model engineering castings. Since August the set of castings I am interest in has increased in price by 50% for gun metal and 80% for cast iron. I would have thought that it would have been the other way round.

However there is nothing like inflation to make one spend one's money.

AVTUR
There is no such thing as a stupid question.

Offline crueby

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Re: Cost of Steel
« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2022, 04:21:29 PM »
Crueby,

Thank You for the info about cast iron pipe. I have been wondering if that would work. I have a plumber coming to my house to give an estimate for a bath repair and I'm going to ask him if he can get me some pieces to play with.

...

--ShopShoe
Be aware that the cast iron pipe can be mystery metal alloy, I've had pretty good luck on the few pieces I used for flywheels, did have some hard spots on the surface here and there.