Dumpster Diving

Topics include, Machine Tools & Tooling, Precision Measuring, Materials and their Properties, Electrical discussions related to machine tools, setups, fixtures and jigs and other general discussion related to amateur machining.

Moderators: Harold_V, websterz, GlennW

Posts: 398
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 1:26 pm
Location: Prince George BC Canada

Dumpster Diving

Post by AllenH59 » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:09 am

Today I pulled 2 peices of 2-1/2 " 4140 shaft out of a dumpster at a pulp mill. One is 34 inches long and one is 59".
Probably a lifetime supply, and I have no need of it, I just hated to see it go to the scrap yard...

Posts: 7904
Joined: Mon Feb 20, 2006 11:04 pm
Location: mid atlantic

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by spro » Fri Feb 17, 2012 1:18 am

Good find. Sometimes you can meet another metalhead and barter a piece for what is closer to the material and size you need.

Posts: 18176
Joined: Fri Dec 20, 2002 11:02 pm
Location: Onalaska, WA USA

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Harold_V » Fri Feb 17, 2012 2:05 am

What spro said!
If you don't think you had a great day, whether you need the material or not, it wouldn't hurt for you to check the price.

It's particularly sweet that you know its identity. Mystery metal, while nice, is often useless for a task because it may or may not meet particular physical requirements.

Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

User avatar
Posts: 7209
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 6:18 pm
Location: Connecticut

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by SteveM » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:03 am

Oddly, online metals does not have 2-1/2", but 2-1/4" is $37/ft.

You don't have to do the math to see what a deal you got.


Posts: 546
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2007 7:39 pm
Location: Tigard, Oregon

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by gcarsen » Fri Feb 17, 2012 4:09 pm

It is amazing how many people give "Dumpster Diver"s" a bad time. same guys will throw a 55 gallon drum full of barley used or new end mills out and laugh at you for taking them, some new, still with protective coating still on!
some other great finds,
Driving home one night about 2am from swingshift, drove by the locol Chevy dealership, looked over and seen a fullsize dumpster parked out front with a 84 to 89 Corvette hood poking out from on top. Quick Uturn,!! grabbed the hood threw it in the truck started digging a bit till I found out there was a Bum sleeping in there too! got the hood home. small carb fire blister in the center. still 3 days later got $350 for it!
went 15 years with out having to buy any tires, found the locol classic car shop put new tires automatically on every car they put in the showroom, the take offs went to the garbage pile, asked iF I could have them, they said I could take any I want so they didnt have to pay the Garbage man to haul them off. worked fine, sold a few sets to others till some one else figured out the game!

Posts: 410
Joined: Wed May 24, 2006 8:40 am
Location: Canandaigua, NY

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Conrad_R_Hoffman » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:38 pm

I found a place that uses a lot of Plexiglas and polycarbonate sheet. They toss out their cutoffs, some of which are a foot wide and a few feet long, because they have no use for them. Needless to say, I relieved the dumpster of a near lifetime supply of the stuff. One time I picked up a 4x5 photo enlarger at the dump, complete with lenses and negative carriers. My subwoofer came from the dump.

1947 Logan 211 Lathe, Grizzly G1006 mill/drill, Clausing DP,
Boyar-Schultz 612H surface grinder, Sunnen hone, import
bandsaw, lots of measurement stuff, cutters, clutter & stuff.

"May the root sum of the squares of the Forces be with you."

Posts: 546
Joined: Sun Jul 08, 2007 7:39 pm
Location: Tigard, Oregon

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by gcarsen » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:28 pm

Come to think about it, when I was about 6 or 7. I dug my first bicycle out of the locol Garbage dump when I went on a dump run with my dad. He had an old 54 f150, looked like it belonged in the dump! the old man who ran the dump always went through all the incoming loads and would pull out all the "treasures" and set them in a row along the incoming road and did a good job of selling them to other people! it was a blast to hagle with the old guy buying stuff that people paid to throw away! he missed the bike and i found it out in the dump. and if I remember right he only charged a couple of bucks if even that much. got it home and worked on it a bit and rode it for years! stuff like that does not happen often nowdays!

User avatar
Posts: 857
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2003 10:45 pm
Location: Lancaster, Ohio

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by mcostello » Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:20 pm

I have you all beat, at least for oneryness. Drove past a place that sold used computers fron State of Ohio. Seen a Doctors exam table there, complete with Stirrups. Real old wood with that old patina that we all love to see on metal. Asked if it was wanted, only wanted out of there. Funniest looks driving home with that in back of the truck. About 1/2 of the cars dared not to come close during rush hour traffic, other half was guys honking and much fist pumping. :) Thought I would put it on evil bay so a Doctor might want to outfit an office. 2 guys paid $100 for it, as they puled out of the driveway(drove 150 miles to get it) asked where their office was, Toledo they replied, and it's no office. It's a strip club! :(

Posts: 7
Joined: Tue May 03, 2011 12:41 pm

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by woodcutter » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:19 am

Some of the best dumpster diving was when I lived/worked at a ritzy yacht yard in West Palm Beach.Some of the finds included 200' of 3/8 galvanized anchor chain. About 20 ft on one end was worn and rusty, the rest fine. A case of unopened Epifanes varnish.A Simpson Lawrence anchor windlas that was a bit grungy but worked fine. When a mega yacht would come in for interior work there was always some pickens of classic bronze interior hardware, latches, hinges. Also found a perfectly serviceable bath tub that we dragged behind some bushes in a secluded corner so SWMBO could enjoy a real bath.

Posts: 1554
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2010 7:58 am
Location: Muskoka

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by Torch » Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:56 am

gcarsen wrote: stuff like that does not happen often nowdays!
Our local dump has a "reuse building" were you can leave usable stuff that you don't want anymore for others to claim. It seems to do brisk business and keeps a lot of stuff out of the landfill -- for a while longer, anyway.

Posts: 422
Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 12:55 am
Location: Missouri

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by JTiers » Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:06 am

The garage compressor was a "bulky item day" curbside find. Shopping at "Curbside" was a great deal until the scrap price went up so much that the scrappies grab anything that looks like metal so fast you hear the "boom" as the air claps together where the item used to be.

Posts: 1567
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:56 pm
Location: Caldwell, Idaho

Re: Dumpster Diving

Post by JackF » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:18 am

For me Craig's List has been a good source for free stuff. Possibly my best find to date is a #0 Campbell Nibbling machine. Other good finds have been working Tread Mills. I have gotten 7 or 8 so far, 2 Pacemasters that the wife and I use, a commercial Quinton that so far just sits in the garage and the others I have dismantled for the DC motors and the power supplies. One motor I have adapted to a Rottler boring bar, just got working and now needs to be fine tuned, another will be adapted to my Duall band saw to make it a variable speed to replace the mickey mouse double pulley setup I am using now with slipping belts. Yet another will be used on single speed commercial walking foot sewing machine to make it a variable speed. It was used by a sail maker before and the speed is way too fast for me for upholstery. There are other tools, metals, and various dodads but just recently I got a free box of misc. machinery junk and in the bottom was a mic. stand, something I have been thinking about buying for some time. :) :) Enough for now. :roll: :wink: :lol:


Post Reply