Scroungers Question

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Scroungers Question

Post by tmcd » Thu Nov 06, 2008 2:40 pm

Most of the milling I do is either aluminum or openings in plastic enclosures.

Earlier today I was offered about 2 dozen or so pieces of angle that are from the standard bed frames you get when you purchase a mattress and box springs. I'm guessing this is not the highest quality steel in the world given it's normal use.

Any opinions on whether this stuff might be worth hauling home? Does it cut well or is it the steel equivalent of the semi-soft gummy aluminum you get in a lot of hardware stores and home centers?


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Post by pockets » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:23 pm

I keep a few sticks around. The best use I've found for it is to cut it up and tack it to my welding bench, as temporary fixturing, for my real projects. After that, it's to the recycler. In the past, I've made tool stands and material racks out of them, but they've been phased out over the years.

Generally speaking, it really foul stuff.

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Post by Old Biker UK » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:29 pm

Never say no to free stuff :wink: next time it might be something good.....

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Post by Bill_Cook » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:49 pm

I keep it around.

It's definately not anything like 1018 - It's tougher to cut and machine, but not horribly so. Likely a higher carbon content.

On the plus side:

It's usually free.
Handy size. Like abandoned 1x1x1/8 angle real estate signs used to be.
Welds easy.
And it is stronger than comon structural angle.


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Post by BadDog » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:52 pm

I agree with pockets. It's somewhere between a semi-spring steel and "whatever was in the pot". It's brittle and will have hard spots, tends to chip/break drills, often very difficult to get a strong weld (cracks along the bead), and generally not much good for anything. Some is worse (sometimes MUCH worse) than others. Like pockets, I most often use it for fixturing or low stress structure. For instance, I used 2 sections to form the upper arms of my 5/10/15 RPC where the electrical cabinet mounts. Not much stress at all, and the welds don't have to be super strong, just needed something to bolt/mount on...
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Post by JimGlass » Thu Nov 06, 2008 7:07 pm

I would definitely keep some of that stuff around. You could make shelving brackets or a number of other things from it.

The place I retired from was wonderful about allowing employees to take most anything that was in the dumpster. For years I found countless items and dragged the smaller ones home and stored them in my 10 x 12 storage shed. Several times the junk items were taken back to work for a special project.

I developed a bad habit of always checking out dumpsters for anything of use. I have been ran off more than once for doing it.

Be careful not to accumulate more than a few pieces of the same thing.

I'm already looking forward to visiting some of my favorite scrap yards now that scrap metal prices took a tumble.

Nearly all the project pictures I post here were made from junk.
Below is my sinking EDM all made from junk except the components in the power supply. ... ingEDM.jpg
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Post by kenh » Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:27 pm

That stuff is the original "mystery metal"

The last time I used any one length cut nicely. Next one took all the teeth off a Sawzall blade.

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Bed frame steel

Post by TomB » Thu Nov 06, 2008 10:22 pm

25 or 30 years ago my neighbor (a hobbyist mechanic) had an original Mustang convertible. That was a unibody vehicle and the floor and drive shaft hump had rusted out just behind the driver and passenger seat. The car had become swayback to the point the top of the doors did not close right and the at the bottom there was a gap. Bill had adjusted the hinges to the limit. He was going to throw out the car.

But we drank a few beers and decided to weld a bit of a frame under it. The next weekend we pulled the car onto the smooth concrete garage floor and put it up in jacks, We took 4 pieces of bedframe and welded two to the rear and two to the front so that they overlapped in the middle like a flattened x on each side of the car. Then we put two bottle jacks under the x’s and jacked the x’s until the width of gthe door opening was the same at the top and bottom. At that point I welded the two frame parts, one each side, together.

Put the gas tank back in and took the car off the jacks then drove it around the yard and over every bump we could find. Nothing broke so Bill took it out on the road. Several years latter he gave it to his daughter who drove it for a couple more years. We watched the steel when ever it was in the garage for an oil change and maybe sprayed it with a bit of Rust-o-Leum. Eventually she crashed the car off the road and into a big ditch at a high speed, but was not hurt. The car went to the tow truck garage and from there to the junk yard. I asked Bill if he had looked at our frame. He said he had and it was still intact.

That was old bed frame steel so I’m not sure I would disparage it too much.


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Post by tmcd » Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:51 am

Okay. So, basically you've all confirmed it's a crapshoot which I kind of suspected. I'll pick of the small lot available now and add it to my "wharehouse".

When it rains it pours, a local ham operator called me and said he has a good sized antenna, broken but on the ground, that I can have for the taking too. Most of that is made from 6061 or 6063 so I know that will be useful stuff.

Thanks to all,


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Post by phaestos » Fri Nov 07, 2008 11:14 am

The old metal bed frames were higher carbon steel then regular mild steel..
The alloy allows the frame to be made out of thinner material and still be stiff enough to support the mattress..Very "springy" ..Usually not a very high quality material, tough to work with sometimes..

Drop a piece on the floor sometime..It "rings" different then mild steel angle..
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Post by steamin10 » Sat Nov 08, 2008 12:06 pm

Wo-ho! There is a steel rerolling mill in Chicago Heights that makes many miles of this stuff, specifically for bed frames.

It is made from railroad rail.

They take scrap rail of various weights, and shear the railhead, web and base apart into three diferent feedstocks for their rolling operation. The ball or head of the rail is the most valued, as it can be rolled into many forms having the same cross section area. Bedframes angle stock is the next, mostly from the web, as the grade of steel resists bending for its weight and beats new material hands down on cost. Those steel T posts for country fencing is another product they make, nearly 1.5 million per year.

I use this bed rail material at will, for trash carts and various projects, with the knowledge it is crappy to drill through , has a tendancy to crack at spot welds, is cut in my shop by abrasive methods, ( it will strip the dickens off my band saw teeth). But my supply is non ending, as where I live, trash is unprotected and free for the scrounging. I always have a few pieces laying around handy for the fast fix or for (?) whatever comes up. Real angle iron is the cheepest form of steel shape, but my supplier breaks prices at 100 , 500, 1 k, and 2k increments therafter. That means I can buy #500lbs for just over 150% of 100lbs. Other breaks are not as great, but still are a Big diference between and handfull and a ton. He does allow me to pick out drops, unaided for near scrap price, and that allows me to get shorts for little money and no cutting fee.
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Post by thomas harris » Sat Nov 08, 2008 3:28 pm

nasty to cut with a toothed blade, high carbon content(brittle welds?), and some has a really nasty coating on it which gases out during abrasive cutting, welding, or anything generating even moderate heat. Stuffs free though, so hoard at will!!!

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