So I’m trying to find a good metal vender either nearby my school or online since the one we had last gave my team really messed up metal last year. I was looking into online metals since their prices aren’t too bad but I’m not sure what their tolerance is or any of their materials (McMaster is a last choice since they are pretty expensive).
I’ve heard a lot of California teams talk about Coast Aluminum.
We get most of our extrusion delivered from Coast Aluminum in 20’ sections. When we don’t need bulk or large cuts (i.e. plate for our routers which we don’t have a good way of cutting), we get it from Campbell Metal Supply in San Jose
You gotta just move out here already smh
Coast Aluminum, Alan Steel, and Campbell Metal Supply are my favorites. Haven’t had a chance to use Coast yet but we might this coming year.
Alan has a neat warehouse too with lots of old junk.
We typically use industrial metal supply but we’re out in Phoenix. Their main branch is in California and they have a couple locations there as well. If you happen to go to Industrial Metal Supply given it is close by, mention you’re a robotics team and they’ll give you a 15% discount. The discount isn’t strictly just for robotics teams but a general educational discount so if you have a personal project you can use that. Or if you go in the scraps section sometimes they’ll just give small amounts of material for free.
Looking at coast aluminum’s website, apparently they have a location in Phoenix so we’ll check them out.
1678 has been ordering from Coast for years. Lemme know if you have questions on how to order.
Do you know if Coast Aluminum has discounts available for FRC Teams?
Not that I am aware of. At the quantities we are ordering, Coast Aluminum is the best price per pound for most shapes and sizes of 6061.
How do you order from Coast Aluminum?
You call them and tell them how much of what you want. (And… uh… make sure you’re ordering from their closest location–Hayward–not from one that’s farther away.) Not quite as easy as McMaster, but pretty on-par with how other bulk metal suppliers work in my experience. Contact info is on their website.
My team doesn’t use Coast–we have a local place that we use instead, along with several other teams–but work’s ordered from there a couple times for “odd” sizes and we got the stuff within a couple days. (Interestingly enough, the last Coast truck we had in had a few items marked for the local place… which work also gets stuff from.)
You can find the standard profiles they offer here: http://coastaluminum.com/product-catalog/
Most tube profiles (hollow center) come in 20ft lengths. Most solid profiles (bar stock) come in 12ft lengths. Sheets are sold in 4’x12’ sheets (pro tip, they will cut them into 4x4 pieces for you to fit easier on your router, might charge a small bit for the cuts, you still have to buy the full sheet).
Once you have your list of part numbers and qty of each you want to purchase, call their main office number and they’ll put you in touch with a sales person. They’ll take your order via phone. Ask to have them email you a receipt so you can double check their ordering.
We order via email to our sales contact now, since we order 10-40 line items each season.
Highly recommend trying to order for your whole season now. You get the best price that way, and aluminum generally doesn’t go bad
Awesome! Thank you so much!
I’ll add that coast aluminum is not a typical retail supplier.
Their typical customer is going to spend quite a bit more money than an frc team, and do so with a standing account.
If you are hassling them over price, ask for lots of custom cuts, ask metal to be shipped, etc… They might blow you off.
I endorse Mike’s suggestion of doing a single large order of entirely full length items… You’ll get the best response from them, and you’ll start to build a relationship where small orders won’t bug them as much.
This may go without saying, but mention that you are from a school or robotics team and they will give you a discount. We used them for the first time this, thanks to a recommendation from people here on CD. The order will arrive in a day or 2 and shipping was only $10 for everything.
I highly recommend Alan Steel and Supply in Redwood City.
If you got a discount you’re very lucky. In 13 years of buying from them, I’ve never heard of any FRC team getting a discount.
Since the thread has been resurrected, Adam, where do you buy Aluminum plate/sheet the right size (or close to the right size) for your Omio router? Or do you cut it down to size in house?
Not Adam, but Coast Aluminum. If you want them cut, that adds at least 1 day to the lead time. Otherwise, cut it yourself with a circular saw with metal cutting blade.
Also not Adam, but we go to Campbell Metal Supply. We’ve experience a 1-2 day turnaround from order to cut sheets for our routers, and the prices are really solid.