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  • How long or short do you keep your stock?

    Realizing that as soon as I cut it to shelf length, I'll need it longer ...

    Do you cut your metal stocks to short lengths for storage and handling or leave it full length until needed?

  • #2
    I keep mine at 10' lengths and I'll cut one in half and chew off it until I need either something long, or I'll cut another one in half.

    -Adrian

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    • #3
      Buy in random lengths (15-24')
      Cut them in half for rack storage.
      Usually cry the next day as I need a piece longer then 1/2!
      eddie
      please visit my webpage:
      http://motorworks88.webs.com/

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      • #4
        Long as possible,I leave it 20' until I need it.
        At work where we sell metal to the general public the heavier the section is the longer it takes to put it back on the rack.Reason being the instant the 500#lb chunk of 4" roundbar goes back on the rack some wiseguy will come in wanting a 6" long piece.
        I just need one more tool,just one!

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        • #5
          "At work where we sell metal to the general public "

          wierdscience
          How do you charge for this?
          ie Cutting cost etc
          take care
          eddie
          ps Here it is very hard to get stock. Usually have to wait 2 weeks plus, so I do not sell "raw" material to the G/P.
          please visit my webpage:
          http://motorworks88.webs.com/

          Comment


          • #6
            Story.

            I was told by a fellow who worked for a time at a Navy repair depot about Korean War era. They had a minesweeper that got a little too close to a mine and so needed a new shaft. 5" manganese bronze shafting 24 ft long is not a Fereral Stock item. It was a hurry-up and wait deal. The commander wanted his sweeper back on deployment and the manufacturer had to set up and run a special lot to make the shaft material.

            So six weeks later (whatever it was) in came a glistening piece of irreplacible 5" manganese bronze shafting 24 feet long all crated and affixed with many shipping labels. It was cold rolled to size and finish and needed only tapers and threads to make it ready to install. It was routed to the machine shop where, following policy for long material, the material guy checked it in, uncrated it, and CUT IT IN HALF to put it in the non-ferrous stock rack.

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            • #7
              I keep mine in 12 foot lengths cold rolled - bras and aluminums or for hot rolled 20 foot lengths, cut to 8 and 12 foot lengths out of the twenty foot bar. This is for my inventory purposes. Paint the end of fresh cut full lengths, the unpainted end signifies a less than full bar. I mark the date of receipt on each bar, several places on the bar, and if an eight foot bar out of a 20 foot bar, mark this as well (Example 10/04 - 8 tells me arrived October 2004, 8 foot bar cut from a 20 foot bar). The eight footers go first.

              The trick is never to cut one end of the color code off. I use 3 types of aluminum commonly, Two brasses (navel and 360 I believe), Probably 7 different steels common (1117 12L14, 1018, 4140, 4150, and 41L40 and 1038 I believe), and three different stainless (17-4 PH, 303, and 400 series). Color codes are very important to me......

              NOT to mention little donated things like Inconel, 50 series, titanium, and hastaloys and wasps.


              I also paint the stock bars themselves the entire length in a light coat of paint different colors as well to do a basic match to the end codes in case I get little butt end pieces. The cost for spray paint is about $1.29 a can, the cost for mixing stocks can be much more than that in time, wrong applications, inserts, cost of a high grade used over a low grade when the aplication may call for low grade or visa versa, or frustration of the "Mystery stock". An example of this is hunter green paint for my 4140 stock - paint the entire length in a quick coat in case some estudent leaves a 4 inch long cut piece just laying about - I have instant reference.

              I keep pieces until about 2 inch length or less unless they are proven beyond use......

              Reminder, this is a school shop application, and inventory control and stock control is paramount to my business. All of this takes time on the front end, but in the long haul, keeps things well under control, and for a shop of 40 students and three other users, keeps the waste short end pile to less than a small table.
              CCBW, MAH

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              • #8
                <font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by motorworks:
                "At work where we sell metal to the general public "

                wierdscience
                How do you charge for this?
                ie Cutting cost etc
                take care
                eddie
                ps Here it is very hard to get stock. Usually have to wait 2 weeks plus, so I do not sell "raw" material to the G/P.
                </font>
                Well it's a litle complex since we stock about 160 different crossections of steel.

                We charge for less than full lengths double what we paid per foot,or less 20% if it's a full stick,it's high I readily admit,but for the guy who only needs 12" of 6" roundbar it works out good.

                Cutting charges depend on the process used.14"abrasive saw(read 5hp commercial unit)$1 per chop.Angle shear for flats and angles to 4x4x1/4" $.50 per cut.Large sections requiring torch work or the power hacksaw it's by the hour+consumables.It basicaly covers the cost of labor and wear on the machines.

                If a customer needs more than 10 or so cuts in the same section we figure by the hourly rate+consumables.

                We don't stock too much volume except for sections we use/sell a lot of.We may only stock one stick of say 3" coldrolled,but we may also stock 200+ of 1x1x16ga tubing.The point is to stock a large variety,we have several larger steel suppliers nearby that we send customers to direct when they need more than a few sticks of a given section,saving them money when we can gets us more business from them.

                If you have room you might consider putting in a stock of metal that folks generally use in your area for sale.It can be a real money maker and also has the effect of increasing your own stocks to draw from.When I started working for my current employer he stocked just enough steel to meet our own needs selling just the occasional piece.We always had to order in stuff we didn't have for a job delaying delivery which hurt business.We started building our inventory and in just a few years word got out that we would sell with no minimum charge(most places here have a $50-100 minimum)our jobs get out faster and we make money off the deal.We typically sell around 3,000lbs of structurals and 600-800lbs of coldrolled per month,that doesn't sound like much,but with our markup it's an extra $2,000/month net.We also started stocking all-thread,pipe,continous-keyed shaft etc,etc and since it has mushroomed into a sizable part of the business.Basically if you stock it they(customers) will come.

                I just need one more tool,just one!

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                • #9
                  I keep it in full lengths until I need it. Storage is a problem since I use the floor for the full lengths but it beats not having long enough stock.

                  Joe

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                  • #10
                    I hope that all home shop machinists will benefit from Spope's excellent remarks on his simple material ID and storage system. It's suitable for any home or small commercial shop. There is nothing worse than mystery metal in a machine shop. Every little piece should be identifiable to the original bar it came from.

                    I regard myself as a pretty hot user of home ID techniques (spark test, file test, hardenability test, simple spot tests (gotta have a kit of perishable chemicals for that), etc. But I can't reliably distinguish 1040 from W-1 tool steel, 4340 from O-5, different grades of cast iron, mangansese bronze from naval brass, etc.

                    I'm overdue for a mystery metal sweep where I haul all the stock I can't positively ID off to the scrap yard. There's probably 400 lb; a five year accumulation. It's not a crying shame, most is junk people haul in thinking I could use it: truck axles, tractor parts etc, but it's still junk metal and I can't tell by looking at it if it will weld, heat treat, be suitable for high stremgth parts, or whatever.

                    One time a guy brought in a bronze forging about as big as a salad bowl. It must have weighed 120 lb. I suspected it was manganse bronze but I didn't know. Since it was big enough for a salad bowl, that's what I made of it for Mom for Christmas 1973. Problem is most salad dressings are acidic and the metal flavored them. At 18 lb it was awkward to pass at dinner time. So for 20 years Mom kept it polished and on display on top of her knick-knack cabinet.

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                    • #11
                      I'm strictly a home shop machinist, and my space is limited (a 1922 detatched garage, 18 x 18). Most of my work is small, so I cut all round, hex, or square stock to 3 feet long for easy handling and storage. I made a nice rack for the stuff, only to fill it within a few months, and now I have bundles of cardboard tubes lashed to the ends of benches as well.

                      Much of my metal work tends to feed my real business, that of stringed instrument repair, and I'm often past dealine on jobs, so I really don't have time to order or run out for metal bits. For that reason, I keep a good selection of brass, aluminum, drill rod, 12L14, CRS and stainless up to an inch in diameter, and a fair bit of 6061 aluminum rectangular bar for jig and fixture making. I leave the wider aluminum bar 6 feet long, standing in a corner behind the air compressor.

                      Unlike Forest, I'm definitely NOT skilled at identifying steels, so I've relied on labeling from the beginning. Paint is the way to go for sure, and I do a massacre (you know, line 'em up and shoot 'em) of each new batch, coating the entire length, so the pieces that end up in the scrap drawers and boxes will be easy to identify.

                      I find it vital to post the color code on the wall, so I won't lose track of the identity of more unusual pieces. I learned that one years ago when I inadvertantly switched the colors I was using on O-1 and W-1 drill rod.

                      I put together a little article for my Web site on this, mostly to show off a can of spray paint I've had for over 30 years - it's purple:

                      http://www.frets.com/FRETSPages/Mach...int/paint.html
                      Cheers,

                      Frank Ford
                      HomeShopTech

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I have a very limited shop space. It is in a commercial setting but the main business in not metal so I have to settle for what I have. I rarely buy anything over 8 foot long. When I do, I have to find a place in the warehouse area where it will not be found and thrown out by someone looking for space or just cleaning up. Only long lengths I have now are some perforated angle. Since 8 foot will store in a corner of the shop standing up, I don't cut shorter until it is being used.

                        Forrest, I love your Navy depot story. Sounds like bureaucracy at it's worst. If I was a betting man, I would wager that the shop guy who cut it, knew full well what it was for, but followed the stated policy to make a point. Like how stupid the policy is. Or how stupid his boss was. Or perhaps how small and inadequete his last raise was. I just refuse to believe that he was that dense. It is a shame things have to work that way.

                        Paul A.
                        Paul A.
                        SE Texas

                        And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
                        You will find that it has discrete steps.

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                        • #13
                          Forrest, I enjoyed the Navy story too.

                          Spope14, Your systems sounds good and I'm going to start color coding and marking with remaining length.

                          At work, I've labeled some look-alike plastics with a "please re-mark material type after cutting". This has worked so far ... because I put the material where it cannot be found

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                          • #14
                            I cut everything into 4 inch sections to fit in my shoebox and if I need it longer I figure that's what they make JB Weld for.


                            ok, just kidding. Most of all my work is less than 18", and I usually order stock in 4' lengths, so that's what I store them at. I have a few long pieces (5-8') standing up against the rack, but not a ton, as well as some 20' sticks of DOM tubing for roll cages, bash bars etc.

                            I leave them as absolutely long as you can and still be able to handle and cut.
                            Killing aluminum one chip at a time

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                            • #15
                              I usually keep it for long enough to recover the brokerage fees, and about a 20% gain. Over the short term, that seems to be when the "bump" turns around. I like to move it around a bit, and I buy into a wide variety. If the stock's a real turkey, I dump it as soon as possible, of course. I did ok on FedEx and Qualcomm, but Iomega was a bomb.

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