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Thread: Ordering metal

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    11

    Default Ordering metal

    My project is a special size trailer. dual 3500# axles but the bed is only 9' long with no floor.
    The metal I will be needing (rounded up to the next foot):
    3x2x0.120 tubing (tongue) 2 each @ 8'
    2.5x1.5x0.120 tubing (side rails) 2 each @ 9'
    2.5x1.5x0.120 tubing (cross rails) 2 each @ 7'
    3x3x3/16 angle iron (adjustable spring mounts) 2 each @ 6'

    (FYI, I can cut the metal to the correct length and I expect some waste. I know I can't order odd lengths.)

    Now the questions about ordering the metal.
    a) what are 'standard lengths'?
    b) do smaller lengths have a larger per foot cost?
    c) do the steel shops 'mind' small orders like this?
    d) do most supplies have normal delivery routes and you just wait for the right day?
    e) are delivery charges normally based on weight, number of items, or something else.
    f) do I just call them up and say 'I need some metal to make a trailer' or do I need to know more about steel types and such?
    g) are they used to newbies ordering stuff and so can guide one though the order process?

    thanks,
    tony

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Eugene, Oregon
    Posts
    2,428

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by thito01 View Post
    My project is a special size trailer. dual 3500# axles but the bed is only 9' long with no floor.
    The metal I will be needing (rounded up to the next foot):
    3x2x0.120 tubing (tongue) 2 each @ 8'
    2.5x1.5x0.120 tubing (side rails) 2 each @ 9'
    2.5x1.5x0.120 tubing (cross rails) 2 each @ 7'
    3x3x3/16 angle iron (adjustable spring mounts) 2 each @ 6'

    (FYI, I can cut the metal to the correct length and I expect some waste. I know I can't order odd lengths.)

    Now the questions about ordering the metal.
    a) what are 'standard lengths'?
    b) do smaller lengths have a larger per foot cost?
    c) do the steel shops 'mind' small orders like this?
    d) do most supplies have normal delivery routes and you just wait for the right day?
    e) are delivery charges normally based on weight, number of items, or something else.
    f) do I just call them up and say 'I need some metal to make a trailer' or do I need to know more about steel types and such?
    g) are they used to newbies ordering stuff and so can guide one though the order process?

    thanks,
    tony
    OMG!!! First of all, you don't list your location so I don't know how you would expect anyone to know what goes on in your neck of the woods. Second, one quick phone call to your local steelyard would answer all these questions without making it look like you are a rookie trying to build a specialty trailer.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Vero Beach, fl.
    Posts
    761

    Default

    I've answered some of your questions in your other posts, so please answer a few of my questions so we can better help you..

    What is your experience level in the welding and fabrication field?

    What kind of welding equipment do you have available to you?

    What will this trailer be used for?

    What will be the weight of the loaded trailer be?

    Is this your first project?
    If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

    John Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
    Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Los Angeles
    Posts
    2,864

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by dabar39 View Post

    Is this your first project?
    Seems like it is.

    I could give that list to my supplier and have it delivered in exactly the lengths I request- odd & even
    Ed Conley
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Deltaville, VA
    Posts
    2,239

    Default

    Cutting to length will depend on the local yard you use.

    Standard lengths include 20', 22', and 24' (depending on material).

    I think you need to really take a serious look at the questions Dave asked regarding your background.

    I'm not the trailer expert Dave (Dabar39) is, but it would seem to me that the material you spec'd out is mighty light for a trailer needing tandem 3500# axles. That material seems more suited to a 1500-2000# single axle trailer.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Vero Beach, fl.
    Posts
    761

    Default

    SundownIII, I'm not so worried about the materials selection as i am about his experience level.
    If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

    John Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
    Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.http://video.google.com/videoplay?do...modified&hl=en

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Crete Illinois
    Posts
    186

    Default

    Most tubing lengths common in the Chicago area are 20 and 24 ft lengths...2x3 in this area is going around $5 per foot for 120 wall.........figure the smaller stuff at less expensive...Thats just in this area for small quantities....and they will cut to length and sell partial lengths to order. Jim
    Welding in Crete
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Location: Halfway between Orlando and Daytona Beach.

    Experience level:
    Did a LOT of welding on street-rods, autos and and stuff in a previous life, about 30 years ago. All the steel was provided by my employer so I never got into that area and even if I did, that was 3 states away and 30 year old knowledge. This will be my first project in 30 years, so I plan on buying some extra material and jigging up some practice welds that I can then cut with a band saw to check the weld depth and such.

    I will be using an Idealarc 250 AC/DC welder. I normally use 7018 rods.

    As to the material size:
    I have went back and forth on the sizes. I could still bump each section up a size. The trailer load is a railroad maintenance item pic on metal wheels that form a 69x57" rectangle. I estimate (on the very high side) 1500# on each front point and 1000# on each back point. Front to back, they will be within 3" of the outer spring hangers using 26" springs. Sideways, they will be about 10" narrower that the spring hangers. The springs will actually be mounted on the 3" angle-iron. The trailer frame will then sit inside the 3" angle. This will allow me to fine-tune the axle location to get the right tongue weight once I have the unit on the trailer. It will also provide some more strength. The actual unit will sit on 1.5x1.5 square tubing that will run front to back acting as a 'rail-head', but there will be a frame crossbeam right under each wheel to support the load going down the road. The frame extension to the rear is just to get the bumper out from under the unit. The frame extension to the front is just to add some more stability to the 'V' tongue. The load will be rolled on, but stands will be used under the rear bumper during loading and unloading. All in all, cantilever weight is not a real big concern so that is why I dropped the frame from 3x2down to 2.5x1.5. Actually, two 3500# axles (with brakes on both) may be an overkill, but if at some point I leave the hobby, I could just remove them and use then on a standard utility trailer.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Medford MA
    Posts
    542

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by thito01 View Post
    Now the questions about ordering the metal.
    a) what are 'standard lengths'?
    b) do smaller lengths have a larger per foot cost?
    c) do the steel shops 'mind' small orders like this?
    d) do most supplies have normal delivery routes and you just wait for the right day?
    e) are delivery charges normally based on weight, number of items, or something else.
    f) do I just call them up and say 'I need some metal to make a trailer' or do I need to know more about steel types and such?
    g) are they used to newbies ordering stuff and so can guide one though the order process?
    for the most part, it depends on the supplier
    call them and ask. i'm a (more or less) newbie at all this
    and have found most of them to be helpful. the ones that
    aren't get crossed off my list.

    of course, "an educated consumer is our best customer"

    'standard lengths' generally are the lengths that come from
    the "wholesaler" or mill and are kept in stock at the supplier,
    and are in the 20'/22'/24' area or the like.

    most will cut for you. some charge per cut. some do not.
    many will cut pretty accurately (1/8" or better), a few
    are +/- an inch. (for what it's worth, the place i usually
    go to will cut for free, but the cuts are with an o/a torch
    and are "accurate" to about an inch... or so... maybe...

    costs are usually based on the weight of material - 1' costs
    1/10th as much as 10'. i've not been surcharged, as it were,
    for something less than the 24' -- but i'm also not doing
    precision work and am willing to take 'remnants', or if
    i want 8' and they have a 9' section, i'll take the whole thing.

    you should know the types of material you need for your projects.
    i do garden art, and doo-dads for stuff around the house. nothing
    is 'critical'. so i can ask for "mild steel" or the like -- since i don't
    care which exact grade it is. i don't know if trailers should use
    specific grades of steel, but if they do, you should know what grade
    you need and ask specifically for it (and if you do not know the answer
    here, you might want to take to heart dave's comments :-).

    frank

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Deltaville, VA
    Posts
    2,239

    Default

    thito01,

    Not saying you're not capable of building said trailer. You seem to have a good idea about what must be done to insure safety.

    Think you'll find that by the time you buy all your materials at retail (steel, axles, wheels, brakes, hitch connector, lights, etc) you'd be ahead of the game by having somebody like Dabar39 (Commercial trailer builder) build it for you to your specs.

    If you haven't bought any steel in a while, be prepared for a "shock". Here in Virginia, steel has gone up nearly 30% in the last 6 mos. It's supposed to be headed down, but I haven't seen it yet.

    Just a thought.

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