No announcement yet.

Price of steel

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Price of steel

    Just talked to a local steel supplier this week, and asked about scraps/cutoffs for practice, and pricing. He said they run about $2.25/lb, and the new stuff runs around $2.75. Is this right, this seems real expensive to me, I was looking at tubing, and some angle, in the 1" range. I know from reading here that steel prices are pretty high, but that seems ridiculous. Am I off base on this one?

  • #2
    way high!

    I work for a structural steel company 20 miles outside of Philadelphia, so I know prices are high here. Our wholesale cost is anywhere from .50-.65 cent per pound right now. Of course we are buying it by the truck load, but the prices you stated are crazy, even in small quantity. Also we have a scap dumpster which holds around 20,000 lbs of steel which we empty once or twice a week, we get around .15 cents a pound for that. Hopefully you can find someone near you that isn't trying to charge you full wallet for practice pieces.


    • #3
      Most steel yards hate when people come in asking about free or cheap scrap, especially if you are not a regular customer. Metal is money to them, none of it is scrap.


      • #4
        Holy Hanna! I thought that was high, but I had no idea how much.. Guys, is snackers prices about the same as what you purchase yours at? I explained that I was just getting started welding, and didn't even mention what I was looking for, just was checking the price of steel. He was the one who suggested the 'bin in the back' to try to save a couple bucks. Ouch! I think I will check with local scrap yards and see if they'll sell me some scrap, .15-.30 per pound, even if it isn't in 'like new' condition sure sounds better to me than what he quoted.


        • #5
          Material is pricey

          China's demand for metal has driven the price of metal through the roof, world-wide; so you aren't being picked on.

          However, like anything else, part of what determines the price you get is your relationship with the vendor. If they know you are a regular customer, then the price is more competitive. If you are a new guy, list price.

          Try to use whatever leverage you can. My welding instructor recommended a metal dealer in the next town over, since the ones in my town don't give much of a discount for small puchases. I tell them I'm a student (drop my instructor's name while I'm at it) looking for some scraps for practice. The best leverage is if you are recommended by someone who purchases on a regular basis, and they tell you to ask for a specific person than knows them. I made the mistake of NOT doing this and paid too much for some scraps off of the cutting room floor (with forklift tire marks on them and scratches galore), so I won't try that approach again. The bean-counter in the front office measured the material and charged me as if it was pristine metal. However, he mistakenly thought some 1/4" stainless rod was mild steel and charged me the lower price; so I called it even.

          Better yet, go with a regular customer when they go to buy metal. When my instructor goes, they tell him he can have (for FREE!) whatever he can carry from the scrap bins. Diamond plate, stainless sheet, tubular steel scraps, it's a feeding frenzy!
          Dynasty 200 DX
          Coolmate 3


          • #6
            Holy chromemoly.....
            I can get Aluminu for 2 bucks a pound, sheet, tube, bars... thats really high for steel. Steel here is about 1.25 lb for shapes..or less... I was at the salvage yard today and I glanced at the price of steel as I have a job coming up.. I think i saw 1.27....i think. anyway 2bucks seems really high for steel..
            Will it weld? I loooove electricity!

            Miller 251/30A spool
            Spectrum 625
            Precix 5x10 CNC Router12"Z
            Standard modern lathe
            Cheap Chinese mill that does the trick... sort of...
            horizontal 7x12 bandsaw
            Roland XC540 PRO III
            54" laminator
            hammer and screwdriver (most used)
            little dog
            pooper scooper (2nd most used...)


            • #7
              My everyday price for small quantities of most any steel is around .56/lb.

              '06 Trailblazer 302
              '06 12RC feeder
              Super S-32P feeder

              HH210 & DP3035 spool gun
              Esab Multimaster 260
              Esab Heliarc 252 AC/DC


              • #8
                Stainless at that price is good...

                Who did you call to get that quote from?

                Discount Steel isn't the cheapest, but they have an online store that'll quote you prices for size and shape of pretty much anything they sell. In person is cheaper and they cut you a break for paying cash.

                I've been friendly to the cashiers there for a couple years now and they always knock off a few bucks depending how much I buy.
                Syncrowave 250DX
                Invison 354MP
                XR Control and 30A

                Airco MED20 feeder
                Thermal Dynamics Cutmaster 81
                Smith O/A rig
                And more machinery than you can shake a 7018 rod at


                • #9
                  alha, if you dont mind doing it. Take a walk the night everyone puts their trash out at the curb for pickup. You'll be amazed at the metal you can find to practice on. might be an old medicine cabinet to pie pans or cookie sheets.

                  What else is there besides welding and riding. Besides that

                  Miller Thunderbolt XL 300/200 AC/DC
                  Hobart Handler 187
                  Dewalt Chop Saw
                  4" Air Grinder
                  Die Grinder
                  Rigid Drill Press
                  Kellogg 10hp Air Compressor

                  2009 FXDC


                  • #10
                    I've got a good friend that owns a metal scrap yard. He charges me the rate they used to charge 5 years ago. I pay $ .25 per pound. His normal rate is $ .50 per pound.

                    I think these scrap guys are making a killing. They usually pay you pennies for scrap and sell it for much more.
                    Millermatic Passport Plus
                    Millermatic 200

                    Millermatic 350P with Python
                    XMT 304 /w S-64 feeder and 12VS
                    Dynasty 300 DX
                    Thermal Arc 400 MST
                    Victor O/A
                    Premier Power Welder for my trail junk.


                    • #11
                      I never have bought any scrap materials but I do know around in my area they are only paying $4.50 per hundred pounds. Something I have also noticed is the price of new has gone up about 30% around here in the last month or two. Dave
                      If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

                      sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
                      Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.


                      • #12
                        Steel prices ??

                        Here's my take. Remember steel is a commodity! And as someone mentioned, the demand in China has grown over 400% in the past decade. American steel is seeing a lot of boat time now-a-days and who ever is willing to take volume is always the front runner. When I first started my shop about 25 years ago I was in the same pan as many of you that are just starting out. However, at that time the squeeze on steel did not exist and although I didn't get the prices as the big boys did, I wasn't at all discouraged from the suppliers who may have charged me a bit more but kept the price affordable as they wanted to turn inventory and make me happy. Now a days I buy 2 and 3 thousand pounds at a time a few times a month for my shop and I get very good prices. But even now, the supply shop which has grown 3 fold still caters to the 500 pound a month guy and dosen't try to put him out of business just because he dosen't blow through steel like the bigger shops. In my opinion this is why the supply shop has grown, small welders have been able to exsist and everyone seems to be happy. Like on this message board around here we just try to help each other out. I'm a medium sized shop and in no way can I compete with the larger shops that do off-shore and high rise work and I'm too big to do the small projects. So how it works around here is like this. I pass on the work that is to big and out of my league to my big friends and for the smaller stuff I do the same and they all do the same for me. It seems to me we have created a type of "supply and demand" system for the supply house and to gouge the little guy would hurt the entire chain. Talk to your fellow welders, prove to them your skills are commercially viable and perhaps they will pass the smaller stuff to you as opposed to just skipping it! Remember them as well when you get asked to do something out of your league! It's not always perfect as there is always some hack that underbids everyone, but they don't seem to last long around here.

                        Just a thought.

                        We depend On:
                        Miller | Esab | Lincoln | Fronius
                        Baileigh | Drake | Eagle | Knuth
                        Victor | Harris | Smith | Bessey
                        Snap-On | Hilti | Ingersoll Rand
                        Burco/Koco | Onan | BobCat
                        Tracker | Infratrol | AmeriCast

                        We belong to or support:
                        American National Standards Institute
                        American Welding Society
                        The Welding Institute
                        Fabricators & Manufacturing Association Int'l.

                        Anderson & Co. LLC
                        Metal Cr


                        • #13
                          A coworker needs some light weight ramps to drive a D9 Cat onto his lowboy. After figuring what he wants and needs, I checked on 40 foot of 3/8 x 3in Al square tubing... 900 bucks. guess he ain't getting no Al ramps.


                          • #14
                            my price on steel in arkansas is around .40 cents/ pound. aluminum for me is about.90 cents/ pound. i used to date the sales girl at the steel place (we are still friends). and the plant that i work at buys aluminum around 30 mill runs a month and 50 or more coils a month. so, it goes to prove that if you can buy quantity, you'll get quality service. sad, but true

                            nothing fancy, just a few hot glue guns for metal


                            • #15
                              Thanks everyone for the info, and the good advice. Can't remember the name right off the bat, was passing thru Mpls, I think it was somewhere around Washington near 35W if I remember correctly, and saw the place while I was driving by. They looked pretty big, so I called them on my cell on a whim, just to see what it was going for. Looks like I'll keep looking, there's got to be better prices in town for what I'm looking for, and I'm also going to keep my eyes open for scrap in my travels.

                              One question though, probably a pretty basic one, if I get scrap to practice on and can't identify what the steel is, (unlike buying new where they can tell you exactly what you're getting) can there be an issue with using the incorrect rods/filler material, or for the most part is steel steel, stainless stainless and Al Al? I think I remember that at least with Al, there can be some issues with different types, and since I am learning, it might make sense to go with known quantities, so if I have issues with my welds, at least I can eliminate the wrong filler material? Thoughts?