Whether your just tinkering around on the side or doing a welding project for high school then you’re going to need metal for your welding project. I’ve done a lot of these over the years a to be a truthful metal can cost a lot of money especially in today’s economic state. So what is the cheapest metal for welding projects?
To find cheaper metals for your welding projects you can start with what you have laying around. You also try scrap yards, doing a neighborhood clean-up, talking to local businesses to buy their scrap metal, buying secondary metal, and even buying lighter types of metal to save on cost.
In the rest of this article, I’ll share each of these and exactly how you can use these options to buy and in some cases get metal for free. So whether you’re looking for metal for a school project or to make some extra money on the side, or even a farmer just looking to make a few gates, keep reading.
What is the Cheapest Metal for Welding Projects
When it comes to metal they charge by the pound for it. However this all depends on the type of metal you buy.
New metal or primary steel is usually the most expensive metal to buy. The pricing for new metal can run from $0.60 cents a pound to $1.00 or more depending on what it is. I find sheet steel and tubing to be the most expensive metals whereas rod and flat tend to run a bit let. The pricing all depends on the demand for the type of steel you are buying.
From there you have secondary metal. Secondary is metal that has slight imperfections in it that are rejected. This kind of metal can run half the price a lot of times. These imperfections could be slightly thinner metal, pipe with no welded seems, or even a little rust on it.
Finally, you have scrap metal. This is material local companies or people scrap. This metal can run from $100 to $300 or more per ton. This is a type of metal is usually the cheapest to get but the downside is that it comes in all different shapes and sizes.
So now that you know which types of steel are the cheapest where can you get this kind of steel?
6 Places to Get Cheap Metal for Your Welding Projects
Below are seven unique ideas to help you find this metal for your next welding project.
1. What Do You Have Laying Around
The first place you can start is to just look at what you have laying around. If you live on a farm or have a lot junk sitting around then start digging through it.
You would be amazed at what kind of junk metal you might be laying around. This could be anything from old bikes, old fence post, or even old wire fencing.
Surprisingly this stuff can still be used for a lot of things. It’s also the cheapest option as well. So take some time and look around your place and see what you have laying around.
2. Scrap Yard
Next, consider your local scrap yard. Scrap yards are where people brink junk when they don’t want it. This scrap can be anything from old refrigerators, cars, scrap metal, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
These scrap yards pick through this stuff and find what’s what worth selling, and recycling. You can go to these scrap yards and see if you can buy some of this scrap to use for your projects.
A quick side note, some scrap yards don’t allow reselling stuff but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
3. Local Business Scrap
You can also look stop by local welding shops. Often times these businesses will have scrap metal from jobs they did that they would normally just scrap out and get rid off.
A lot of times if you ask them you can buy it for scrap price or a little above. For these companies their just happy to get rid of it and even get a little bit of money for it.
I get people who come in from time to time who are looking for this kind of stuff and I’ll have everything from the leftover rod, flat, and even pipe. We typically don’t have a lot of scrap at my weld shop but I know other companies who throw away a lot of metal.
So you never know what they might have.
4. Neighborhood Clean Up
Have you ever driven by a place in your local area that need some cleanup. These people often times don’t have the time to clean up these messes.
You could offer to clean up part or all of it in exchange to keep the scrap metal they have. To be honest, some people don’t want you to do this, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
5. Buy Secondary
Next, you could buy from secondary steel providers. These are companies that sell the metal that is rejected by the mills that make them. Like I mentioned at the beginning of the article these companies will reject material because of its imperfections.
I have farmers who come in all the time to buy secondary to build cattle gates with. In fact, they will even buy entire bundles of it. These people like it because it’s cheaper than buying primary steel and it still works just as good as using primary.
To find these dealers call your local welding shops and ask if they deal in secondary metals. So if you can deal with a few minor imperfections then check into secondary metal companies near you.
6. Buy Lighter Types of Metal
Another option is to buy lighter metals. A lot of companies do this. If it works buy material that weigh less and can still do the job.
The reason I suggest this is because metal is charged by the pound, so the less weight you have the more you can save.
For example, if you are building a campfire cooking grate you might be able to use 3/4″ or 5/8″ rod instead of 7/8″ rod. This could save you a lot in cost and still gets the job done.
The only time this doesn’t work is when you have to build something that has to be structurally sound like a set of car ramps. The last thing you want to do is build these out of lighter metal only to have to collapse on you while changing the oil.
Finally, the last option is to barter with others. If you know someone who has metal you want why not barter with them instead of paying cash.
For example, what if you tell them in exchange for the metal you will build them one of the items you are making.
Not everyone will go for this but some people will and it gives you a way to get the metal you need without paying a lot of money.