Stock Purchase

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Stock Purchase

Post by bjack58004 » Tue Jul 25, 2017 10:29 pm

Where is the best place to buy the stock for my CNC? My local choices are limited to either Lowes or Home Depot... so I am pretty much stuck with either plywood or MDF. I have been looking online but am not finding anything that I can work with. Any advice on stores or websites I can try?

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Re: Stock Purchase

Post by Dan_the_Chemist » Wed Jul 26, 2017 3:52 am

bjack58004 wrote:Where is the best place to buy the stock for my CNC? My local choices are limited to either Lowes or Home Depot... so I am pretty much stuck with either plywood or MDF. I have been looking online but am not finding anything that I can work with. Any advice on stores or websites I can try?
You won't find much at Lowes... probably not at Home Depot either. The plywood they have is junk. I'd hate to build a chicken coop out of it.

Roughly where are you? It might be worthwhile to take a trip if you are close to one of several brick-and-mortar stores I know and love. Every now and then I load up the vehicle and make a pilgrimage... It's really nice to be able to see the selection and choose one out of the bunch, but I guess if your choice is bad plywood, MDF or a pig in a poke ...

Woodcraft is nice, but not really cheap. I buy their baltic birch plywood when they put it on sale... I like the 12 x 12 squares because it fits nicely in the SO3 (11.5 by 11.5). 6 mm can be had for $1.99 on sale, 12 mm for 2.99, and I've even gotten 18 mm for 2.99 on black Friday sale... If you are really careful about buying exactly the right number you can cram in a lot of plywood before the UPS calculator clicks up to the next shipping price. I also buy bowl blanks and they have generally been quite good. I sent one back because it had an unforgivable check in it and they sent me a replacement with no problem.

For aircraft grade plywood (thinner plys than furniture grade) I like Radical RC... The big big advantage to Radical RC is their overly generous shipping deal - $3 for any order... feathers or anvils. Buy lots to get a real deal. The biggest PITA about Radical RC is that they don't maintain the website about materials very well. They have a representative selection of wood, carbon fiber, etc, on the website, but if you call them up you will find that they have a much wider selection.

You might also want to look for furniture makers in your area. When I lived in Tucson many many years ago there was a furniture shop that tossed out a dumpster of wood scraps at the end of every month. I got hundreds of small bits of oak and maple suitable for making file and chisel handles, and a few bits suitable for larger work. My father lived down the road from a wooden toilet seat manufacturer, and they sold the center cutouts of wood toilet seats (mostly oak) for firewood... Load up your trunk for $20

Shipyards can also be a source (if you live on the coast). I once got about 500 BF of 6/4 Philippine mahogany for $450 because the boards were just 1/8'th too thin and they didn't want to stock it until they could use it. SCORE !!!

Then there is eBay. I haunt eBay for plastics and some metals. I have never bought wood on eBay, but that's just because I have other sources for wood. I also check the local sign shop to see if they have any scrap cutoffs they will either give me or sell me cheap. I sometimes walk out with a box of small but useable stuff for $5

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Re: Stock Purchase

Post by hatallica » Wed Jul 26, 2017 11:59 am

I will echo Dan's question - where are you? Someone in your vicinity may be able to point you to a local treasure. Also, what kind of stock materials did you have in mind?

For wood, I am blessed to live about 5 minutes from Rockler, 30 minutes from Woodcraft, and - if I feel really adventurous - 30 minutes from Mars Lumber (aka Hardwood Emporium). Each of these will ship, but I prefer picking out my own pieces and also find surprise bargains.

I have negligible experience with other stock materials (i.e. acrylic, PVC, HDPE, aluminum) on the CNC.
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Re: Stock Purchase

Post by JohnManly » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:46 pm

The above sources are good.

I've found Woodcraft and Rockler to be quite expensive. But if you want a nice specimen wood, they might be the quickest way to get it.

Do a search for hardwood dealers in your area. Most will let you pick out what you want and charge by the board foot (12" x 12" x 1"). There are some online dealers that have pretty reasonable shipping rates. Volume is your friend here, as you can get decent prices in bulk.

Don't forget your local Craigslist. I've scored lots of material buying leftovers from other's projects. I've even put up wanted ads for ipe and redwood decking scraps, and gotten results. Don't do this if you're in Upstate SC, though. I don't like competition. :D

Resist the temptation to recycle pallets. It's far too much trouble to break them down. They're assembled with wire-bound nails, which leave tiny pieces of wire embedded in the wood. And usually by the time a pallet is available cheaply, it's so dirty that the wood will quickly dull tools. I have gotten a few small pieces of Mahogany and Luan this way. But It's a lot of work. If you insist, get a metal detector, at least.

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Re: Stock Purchase

Post by CastIrony » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:50 am

My local hardwood shop sells baltic birch plywood in 5'x5' sheets. For a couple of bucks extra, they cut them into 15"x5' strips with a big panel saw, which I cut into 15" squares on my miter saw back home.
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