Source for aluminum

Now that I’m getting a handle on the x-carve, as well as on my workflow, and feeling comfortable with the design side of things, I’ve got a few things I want to make from aluminum. Where is everyone getting their aluminum from?

Where I am in Canada it seems like aluminium is pretty expensive. Luckily for me I work within the engineering/fabricator industry and now a couple people at fab shops. I was able to ask if they had any scraps and was able to get some. I also went on the sub reddit for my city and put a posting on there asking where the best place was to get it in my city and some very nice person snagged me a box of scraps from work!

Besides calling up local fab shops, I think my next step is to start calling some scrap yards and see what is available! There seems to be lots of material out there that doesn’t get used, so some one might as well try and use it!

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Has anyone tried melting down aluminum cans into usable blocks? Is the resulting aluminum block even millable?

I considered it for making castings, but after some research it looks like a ton of work and the aluminium is full of impurities you have to deal with. Not an undo-able thing if you’re up for the challenge though!

I guess it would depend on how expensive/available aluminum stock is. From your experience it seems that small pieces of aluminum are available just for the asking.

This make me think of this.

That’s great. Ron is my hero. is a great source for all metal materials.

They have a guide to the various grades of aluminum, but I think 6061 is what you’d want.

Guide to Aluminum grades

I source most of my stuff from a number of guys online. Oddly enough Rose metals on Amazon has a pretty good per square inch price on 6061 stock. One of the best thing is not only is the price good but the finish is pristine on the stock they sell which is often not the case from online sources.

There are also a number of good sellers on Ebay for 6061 and even a few that sell Mic 6 tool plating are very good prices. I am guessing you will not be anodizing your items after milling? If that is the case then I would keep the Mic 6 stock in mind as it mills extremely well and has a face milled finish right out of the box which saves a few steps.

If you plan to anodize your items then you need to either go with 6061 or Alca 5 5083 tool plate as both anodize really well. Most of my work is done in the Alca 5 5083 stock and it is a dream to mill with the VFD spindle and a good 3 flute end mill.

A number of online shops will sell there smaller cut pieces for a discount. There is also a large number of guys doing the same on Ebay. Just be sure you check the per square inch prices between sellers as what LOOKS like a good deal, is often more per square inch than another seller seems. Do the math on your stock and you will enjoy more projects with less overhead.

The wholesalers and fabricators here SELL me their scraps and doing the math, it is exactly the same price as NOT buying scraps. That makes me feel like I am not getting a good deal. And it makes me sad. There is a dad on my boy’s soccer team that owns a frabication place - I plan to corner him on Saturday.

Thanks for all the input guys. I wasn’t sure that sourcing online would be the most economical method once shipping is factored in, but it seems like most of you are going that route. I will check out all these suggestions.