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Best places to buy metal for machining

.. how not to get sent the wrong thing :)

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Ace Chandler16/06/2020 13:44:30
17 forum posts

In this thread I started on surface finish, I mentioned that I'd bought some EN1A steel from ebay as my research had said this is the easiest to machine. Someone then quite rightly asked "how do you know that's what you were sent?"

I wondered if people had any recommended, trusted suppliers (ebay sellers or otherwise) of material they could share. I'm located in Kent in case there are any places that are actually local to me. I've been using ebay and trying to stick to people with decent recommended feedback to source my material, but perhaps people have other suggestions on good places to buy from.

Thanks, Ace

Barrie Lever16/06/2020 14:01:50
688 forum posts
76 photos


I use the following for metals particularly things like phosper bronze.


Aluminium Droitwich on Ebay for aluminium and Metal Supermarket are reliable and will sell you what they say it is, both of these can supply CofC's to confirm the material.


Andrew Johnston16/06/2020 14:04:26
5718 forum posts
659 photos

I use Parkersteel for basic steels. Although they have an outlet near Cambridge the head office is in Canterbury. However, they have got a bit silly on delivery charges recently.


Dave Halford16/06/2020 14:21:30
1011 forum posts
9 photos

Buy on ebay from those who deal with 'cut to length' eg alloycuttings do laser cut mild steel discs which is en3.

BEJ do en1a, en3 and en8 in rod.

People selling random lumps of stuff including metal should be avoided.

Thor16/06/2020 14:30:11
1289 forum posts
39 photos

I have used M-Machine for both free-cutting steel and copper alloys and I am very satisfied.


Andrew Evans16/06/2020 14:34:01
329 forum posts
8 photos

Another vote for M-Machine

Greensands16/06/2020 14:42:36
143 forum posts
17 photos

I am always happy with EKP Supplies. Never had a bad deal

John Hinkley16/06/2020 14:44:13
970 forum posts
331 photos

M-Machine for me , too. I have used this eBay seller with good, reliable results at a reasonable price. Delivery is (was) usually next day:

Steel City Gavin

Good selection of regular sizes in varying lengths, or cut to order.


HOWARDT16/06/2020 15:38:42
617 forum posts
15 photos

I always collect mine from Rapid Metals, its cheaper to collect and I can have a sort through their racks to see if something takes my fancy. A round trip only takes about an hour and a half and I can always visit Axminster in Nuneaton.

Chris V16/06/2020 16:45:57
262 forum posts
41 photos

I have always used by preference GLR, always been happy!



Mick B116/06/2020 17:21:45
1767 forum posts
91 photos
Posted by Barrie Lever on 16/06/2020 14:01:50:


I use the following for metals particularly things like phosper bronze.


Aluminium Droitwich on Ebay for aluminium and Metal Supermarket are reliable and will sell you what they say it is, both of these can supply CofC's to confirm the material.


I've also had good deals from Aluminium Droitwich, though as I lived in Redditch at the time I was tending to buy over the counter. They also sold me some acetyl (Delrin-like) at a very competitive price.

Now that I'm in Staffs, I've found Macc Models a very reliable supplier, and I'm very sure everything has been what they said it was.

SillyOldDuffer16/06/2020 18:21:30
6440 forum posts
1419 photos

Although EN1A is about 50% more machinable than ordinary mild-steel (EN3A), EN1A-Pb is roughly 150% better. Prefer EN1A-Pb (aka EN1A-leaded) unless welding is on the agenda!

You've probably got a local metal distributor nearby, but if he's like mine, he'll be low-key, preferring to deal with trade rather than the ordinary public. Try a local Trade Directory under Steel or Metals and watch for names on delivery lorries and signs on Business estates! Buying local can save on delivery costs, but bear in mind cutting is extra and it may pay to buy in 3 metre lengths.

Although my local emporium sells off-cuts, they were distinctly unfriendly at first. Waiting one day I noticed the shop was full of chaps seeking free-advice, who didn't know what they wanted, and then walked out when told the price! (Metal isn't cheap.) I suspect this is why Metal Dealers don't advertise! I'm much more welcome now I arrive with a straightforward and profitable list. Major love is reserved for customers who do Invoices and Purchase Orders and order metal by the ton.

I also buy stuff from the internet (Metals Supermarket & m-machine, plus Noggins End and the other hobby sources who advertise here), but not ebay unless I'm happy to take a risk. ebay is a bit of a gamble. Could be a bargain or a disaster depending on how knowledgeable the seller is.

Consider buying a MEW subscription with access to the archive. Good article on steel recently from Stub Mandrel, it's the sort of information that makes the hobby easier all round.


jimmy b16/06/2020 19:13:12
678 forum posts
40 photos

Running the engineering department can have its advantages!

If I need something specific, I go to the places mentioned here and ebay.


Ace Chandler16/06/2020 19:49:45
17 forum posts

Thanks a lot guys - this is a really helpful set of links. Much appreciated.

Clive B16/06/2020 20:37:02
30 forum posts
20 photos

If you're based in Kent, try Maidstone Engineering. They cater for hobbyists with a good range of stock and sundries at acceptable prices.


Adam Harris17/06/2020 00:07:09
479 forum posts
26 photos

M-Machine works great for me

Old School17/06/2020 06:23:35
357 forum posts
30 photos

I use M-Machine for most of the metal I use, what I like is that they tell you the grades of the material and a lot of what I make I need to know for the application.

i was making some bevels gears that would be nitride hardened, they hadn’t got the size I wanted were prepared to get a bar in and sell me six inches.

Graham Titman17/06/2020 06:31:46
88 forum posts
13 photos

Macc Model Ltd was very good with quick delivery in the lock down and giving excellent service

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