Where to get metal

Hi my name is Woody from 1458 and my team is considering making the switch to welding this year . Where do guys go to buy Aluminum square tubing, or other kind of metal you use. I went to local suppliers today and found plenty of flat, but very little square tubing and no extrusion. Any help or suggestion from team who have made this move before would be appreciated. Thanks!

As a team we general get our metal from www.onlinemetals.com. However it you take this route you should order all at once to save on shipping.

how long does it usually take to receive shipments from onlinemetals.com?

Hey you guys aren’t too far from us. We’ve used Online metals in the past and have been very pleased with their service and speedy shipments. They even called me once after hours when an item was out of stock. Another nice thing about Online Metals is that you can have them make cuts for you - They’ll be rough, but for some big materials it just makes sense.

Mcmaster.com is another source we use a lot - quick shipments also.

If you want to go get the material yourself, there is ABC Supply in Sacramento and also Blue Collar Supply in Sacramento. Blue Collar is open on Saturdays, and has a great supply of many items besides just metal. Makes for a fun field trip. Both of these places often have, scrap bins you can pick from and get a decent deal.

I haven’t purchase out of the Bay Area, perhaps another team might chime in about those options.

We hail from Palo Alto, and usually go to Alan Steel in Redwood City for our Aluminum.

We buy our aluminum tubing from Aircraft Spruce and McMaster Carr.

Aircraft Spruce has a good selection of sizes, shapes, wall thickness, and materials. Their ship time is usually within a day or two and ship time depends on your shipping preference. They have warehouses in Georgia and California.

McMaster Carr is very quick and reliable. I order material at night after build sessions and they ship the next morning.


I just saw that Enco has 1" x 1" 1/8" wall 6061 box aluminum at $6.86 for a 6’ length. Would this be any different to the same 6061 box that McMaster sells?

6061 is a material standard. So, 6061 from any supplier should be very very close (the difference is just from batch to batch, but is negligible it is so small) and you probably would never be able to tell the difference. 6061 is 6061 no matter where you get it.

Really, avoid mcmaster for metal at all cost… I have never, ever seen them have the lowest price on anything.

may sound a silly question, but you guys wanna change to aluminium because of weight problems or quality?

*btw, am in Brazil so I can’t help about where to buy :frowning: *

If you need a quick piece, or not very much, you can buy it at stores like Fleet Farm, too… usually in 4 foot segments, but I’ve seen it in 6’ or 8’ pieces. Maybe Home Depot or Menards…

If I remember right it was somewhere between $15-$25 per 8’

Fleet Farm has a good selection (they’re only in the midwest) but the prices, imo, are a bit high.

I’m confused by your question. We aren’t switching to aluminum, we are switching from extrusion to tubing (for the purpose of welding pieces together not bolting)
But we use aluminum, yes, to keep weight down to a minimum.

Oh ok ok
now I got =)

thanks o/

We’ve gotten what should be standard 6061, but was absolute crap. It had hard and soft spots throughout one piece of metal, which wreaked havoc on our cutting tools.

Everything we’re getting now is Alcoa, and it seems to cut a lot nicer.

To the original poster–check out Coast Aluminum. They’re based out of Hayward. We’ve done about $2500 worth of business with them in the last week already. They have everything in stock, or to your door in 2-3 days max. Anything in stock is delivered to your door for free, next day. We’ve gotten everything we’ve ordered within two business days so far, and 90% of it within one business day.

[edit] Also MUCH cheaper than McMaster. We purchased two 12 foot lengths of aluminum from them for our wheels and paid probably a little less than two 6’ pieces from mcmaster would cost.

Wow. learn something new everyday I guess… We’ve only bought from decent suppliers so I’ve never seen that, but I sure do believe you.

I can also vouch for Coast Aluminum (Also, iirc 4, 22, 60, 254 and 968 have all used them). Great prices and quick delivery; significantly cheaper than mcmaster.

1361 uses a variety of local CO supplers for our metal…

They seem to be really nice people as well. The sales person I’ve been talking to for the last week has been quite helpful to me. I wanted only about 6’ of some barstock last night, and he told me that I’d be losing money by having a 12’ piece cut into only 6’, and it’d be cheaper for me to just buy all 12’. Most places would be happy to charge you more and give you less, I’m sure. We ordered it at 4:30 PM yesterday, and had it by 7 AM this morning. Fantastic service.

I’m not sure how well they will work out for you if you’re buying small quantities, but their prices have been fantastic for full lengths of tubing and solids.

We’ve been using Metal Supermarkets:


McMaster is good if you need something fast, but they are expensive for metal.

Our team uses MSC for our parts. MSC has more than metal sheets and tubes and stuff. they have boatloads of machined items.


we use mcmaster-carr because there is a warehouse about 5 miles from our build area.

my father also has a variety of hookups for all kinds of metal, we actually found it was cheeper to use them than an internet supplier. but that was last year, ill have to check the prices for metal this year… does anyone know if an internet suppiler has cheaper prices this year than last?