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Old 07-23-2006, 08:16 AM
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Where to buy Sheet metal

Hello All,

OK, so as part of the "year of acquiring tools" I just bought my first welder (Millermatic 135), and as I will be using it primarily for bodywork decided I need to practice on some scrap sheet metal first. I headed to two of the local hardware stores (Ace and Home Depot) only to find out - they don't carry any! Given that I don't have any spare fenders, etc. laying around where do you guys buy sheet metal? In addition, what gauge should I look for (i.e. that would match the gauge used on typical older body panels like a 67 Firebird, or a 67 Firebird replacement - thinner? - panel). Do I need to worry about looking for non-galvanized metal?

Thanks,

Chris

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Old 07-23-2006, 08:18 AM
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The big warehouse stores are not the place to buy sheet metal, they are way too expensive. Go to a sheet metal shop in your area they will usually give you all the scrap you can carry off free of charge. If you are after a larger usable piece they are more reasonable price wise.

Vince
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Old 07-23-2006, 08:28 AM
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You could go to a junkyard and get a scrap panel or two. You could probably get it pretty cheap because it would only be worth scrap metal price and he'd have to haul it away.
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Old 07-23-2006, 09:47 AM
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I was in the same pickle a few years back. I bought a mig welder and wanted to practice. I went to Lowes and paid $20 for a 15"x15" piece of 16 gauge metal. I did not know any better! I wised up and found a metal works place nearby. They let me take as much scrape (3ft & under) as I could carrie for $5!!! :mwink
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Old 07-23-2006, 11:02 AM
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If you are practicing for body work then the wrecking yard is your best bet. You will not only be able to pick up your metal cheap but you will be getting the right thickness and type of metal. Along with this you will also pick up the many problems associated with doing body work such as the same types of contamination like paint, undercoating etc. Now you might ask, "why on earth would I want crappy metal like that"? Because that is what you will run into on a car body! Learning to weld on small pieces of clean scrap is ok until you learn about welder settings and such but then when you switch to the auto body it will be a different learning experience. You will also have large metal areas with complex curves which will teach you how to deal with the almost inevitable warpage you will encounter, better to learn here than on your car.
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Old 07-23-2006, 12:07 PM
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As usual, very good advice, oldred And to add a lil to it, if you buy a fender or two at a junkyard, you can also usually find one that has similar contours to areas that you may need to make patch panels for on your Bird, which will make it much easier to fab up patches.
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Old 07-23-2006, 01:30 PM
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You could also check with the local body shops. They all have scrap piles of old fenders and hoods. They will usually let you take all you can carry. May even help you load up. LOL

Aaron
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Old 07-23-2006, 05:19 PM
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My buddy told me he uses old appliances. The metal is the right thickness and you can pretty much get whatever you want for free at an appliance store when they throw them out. A nice big freezer or refrigerator should have big enough panels to work with.
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Old 07-25-2006, 12:21 PM
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re: Where to buy Sheet metal

Yeah, but how fast will the fridge run the 1/4?
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Old 07-25-2006, 12:33 PM
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I get mine at a local sheet metal shop we have a couple in our small city of 30,000 people. One of the local fabrication shops also sells sheet. You may also find it at a refrigeration/heating place. They have some for duct work etc, and sometimes do sheetmetal fabrication also.
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Old 07-25-2006, 07:30 PM
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All - Thanks for the great advice! I snagged two scrap fenders from a local body shop today and another shop is going to save me a couple more. They are, of course, late model fenders and are pretty thin, but I figure if I can actually weld patches with these I should be in good shape when I get to my quarters. Oldred's advice on using "actual" fenders made perfect sense. A friend of mine just bought a welder and is going to do the same thing.

Thanks Again!
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Old 07-25-2006, 07:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adtkart
You could also check with the local body shops. They all have scrap piles of old fenders and hoods. They will usually let you take all you can carry. May even help you load up. LOL

Aaron
You got that right,I have been known to pay some one to haul my scrap off......lol
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Old 07-25-2006, 07:38 PM
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Oldred is the (Docvette) of welding on this site.
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