View Full Version : Where do you find your "STUFF" for projects?
09-06-2006, 07:38 PM
Let me propose a line of thinking that may help others in their quest for completing their fabrication projects.
Where do you get the stuff you need to make things?
I know you can usually buy it new, not interested in this answer.
You can get steel at the scrap yard, most of us know that.
Where else can you get things? Places others may not have thought of.
For example; Where would you find used motors inexpensively?
My answer to that is also the scrap yard. A LOT of the motors there are still good. Here is what I do. I walk around the scrapyard looking for machines. Many have motors and you can take them off along with switches, bearings, etc... Stuff on vehicles are DC powered and heve useful applications as well.
Then I go looking for the pile of scrap motors. They usually pile them all together. I look at the pile and can usually tell which motors will be good, just by standing there looking. How can I do this? Look for several motors that are identical. Many companies replace motors on critical machinery on a scheduled basis. This is to avoid having failures. If you see three or four motors of the same kind, you can bet they are all good unless they were damaged during the unload (throw) process. Just pick them up and if the case is not cracked and the thing turns, buy it. When I get them home I test them, if it does not work it goes into MY scrap pile for the next trip to the scrapyard.
So, where do you find useful items?
09-06-2006, 07:58 PM
im a pack rat so i got a lot of stuff stashed away
09-06-2006, 09:21 PM
anything i could possibly need is in the shop....somewhere..
09-06-2006, 09:40 PM
well bob, one place i check is craigslist. sometimes you find stuff for free on there. got a weight set and excercise bike (sorry, off-topic). i look for used bikes and stuff for the tubing, pick up one of those tubular clothes drying racks. also picked up a golf bag roller, used the 1/2 in tube and wheels for a small cart. and i've never been to shy to stroll into a garage sale. picked up a used drill press for $1. the chuck was messed up. $15 dollars later i got a perfectly fine and working press. plus, all my family and friends save anything made of metal for me to pick up.
09-06-2006, 09:41 PM
I've found that raw materials from a scrap yard are at best, hit and miss.
I was able to make a series of patch panels for an old F150 from an old furnace cover, but for the most partthe bar, tube and sheet material from the scrap yrd takes too long to turn into usable material.
I will totally dissect any old appliance or tool to recover the various hardware bits. Unique bolts, nuts, spacers, springs, bearings, etc are gold when putting a custom project together. For example, in my home made toolchest project, I've added a foot lever lid lifter and a single key lock to secure the lid and all 17 drawers. Every piece of hardware used for these two additions was obtained from a salvaged dehumidfier, racked file cabinet, dead garage door opener and a shattered framing nailer. I'd estimate it would have cost me more than $50 for what I recovered and used. And, the material I don't use goes into my scrap barrels for recycling $$.
09-06-2006, 10:44 PM
I am a scrounger first class. I've found an almost endless source of .060 wall square and rectangular tubing from Yamaha ATV shipping crates. I cut them up w/ my sawzall. Pretty light weight, but I've built a lot of different things out of it.
I also keep an eye on what's been tossed behind groc & dept stores,mostly metal display racks.If I see any useful metal lying around I find the owner and ask if they want it hauled off. We also get to scrounge some iron out of the county dump.
The farm I work for has an old rotary hoe about 30' wide they no longer use. It's built in 3' sections and I'm going to get one section and make a lawn aereator. If it works good, I'll take the rest and fix them up to sell.
Despite high scrap prices there's still lots of iron around my area, I just keep my eyes open.
09-06-2006, 10:50 PM
Zap and Chopper 5, are you suggesting we come and dig around your shops for stuff we need?
I am looking for place maybe someone else does not think of for materials. Craigslist is a good one, so if freecycle.com.
A lot of people get things on trash day in neighborhoods. I get drops from different shops. The bigger the item they make, usually the larger the drops.
Resellers. People that buy out businesses often have stuff they cannot sell and after a while it is in their best interest to get rid if it to get the space back.
09-06-2006, 10:51 PM
Here's my trick for super-cheap scrap. I collect a truckload of useless junk scrap steel. Then I go to the scrapyard, they don't sell steel, just buy it for recycling. While I'm throwing the junk off the truck I look around for useful stuff. Sometimes I barely weigh less than what I did when I first crossed the scales :). I can't wait to see how they react the day I weigh more on the way out, lol.
09-06-2006, 11:04 PM
I like the ATV crate idea. I have a few calls to make tomorrow. Probably be able to make workbenches out of them without cutting them up. About how big are they when you get them?
09-07-2006, 12:52 AM
The local council run a place near me called Reverse Garbage. Lots of manufacturers send their offcuts etc there. Not much steel, but it's amazing what they have. My wife teaches little kids art in her studio at home and she's always bringing stuff home from there. I take our kids there sometimes - especially on rainy Saturdays. A sack of stuff costs a couple of dollars and they get hours of fun out of it. The suppliers like it because it's all stuff they would have had to pay to dispose of.
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