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Old 05-22-09, 03:08 PM   #1
patgoral
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Does anyone know where to get cheap aluminum tubing?

I am looking for 4 feet of 1 1/8 inch round aluminum tubing like this http://www.onlinemetals.com/merchant...=71&top_cat=60

I just didn't know if anyone knew of any cheaper places?
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Old 05-22-09, 04:04 PM   #2
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I purchased a bunch of aluminum bar stock for a DIY longbike and onlinemetals was the retailer I ended up with. From my searches, they were the least expensive.

I assume that you checked mcmaster-carr. They have a great selection, but a high price to go with it.
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Old 05-22-09, 04:12 PM   #3
patgoral
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Hell, even steel would work if someone knew of a cheap place?
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Old 05-22-09, 05:54 PM   #4
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aircraftspruce.com is cheaper on that particular tubing, i didn't check shipping costs though.
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Old 05-22-09, 10:44 PM   #5
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Go to the nearest big city and look for "metals distributors" in the phone book. (in St Louis there is Shapiro Supply)
Most will have a big assortment of 6061 aluminum and 4130 steel shapes. I prefer 4130 steel usually because it is easier to weld than aluminum, but mild steel can work well too.

Advantages: they will usually have better pricing than online places (that charge for cutting + shipping).

{ We do note that Shapiro Supply also cuts and ships, but then, if you did that you'd be overpaying for cutting and shipping **


Disadvantage: not all will sell by the foot, so you may have to buy whole pieces (usually twelve or 24 feet long). The steel will be greasy, because the steel mill greases it so it won't rust in storage--so bring some rags or paper towels and wipe it off before putting it into your vehicle.

Call around to ALL of the metals suppliers in your area, and ask if they have 1" tubing. Many places that advertise themselves as metals suppliers only keep on hand a very limited selection of bigger beams and angles used for welding trailers.

You can also look up welding supply shops in the phone book, and ask them "who locally sells smaller metals, such as for bicycle building".

Note: if the metals supplier does sell by the foot, ask if you can see their drops pile first. These are the leftover pieces from cutting for other customers. You may not be able to find exact sizes you want, but then, you may find sizes that are close enough, and they often sell these pieces really cheap because it's shorter pieces than what commercial customers want to deal with.
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Old 05-23-09, 12:47 AM   #6
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Dumpster. Last time Ineeded alu tubing (for the dogbike2) I used seatposts (free from dumpster bikes.

The first dogbike had steel tubing. Used the legs from a bar stool (dumpster). Look around if there is anything you can use. Modern broomsticks are often alu or visit a garage sale and try looking at things with new eyes.
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