3/8" thick, rigid slab

I need a ~4"x6"x3/8" slab/plate of <something> that is rigid, supports tensile and sheer loads, is "millable" (to some limited extent) and reasonably lightweight (at that size, I think almost anything would satisfy that criteria).
Not wood.
Choices that come to mind are aluminum and lexan (or other plastic).
Finding something 3/8" thick might be a problem. But, perhaps I could "laminate" thinner pieces together (?).
I'll see if I have any stycast left in the garage as that might be the quickest fix (though probably the messiest!). And, I'll plan on a stop at the metal store Tuesday to see if they have a scrap of <something> that might suffice...
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On 4/3/16 3:22 PM, Don Y wrote:

If all else fails:
http://www.mcmaster.com/#8975k426 /tq69b 4x6x3/8 aluminum $9
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On 4/3/2016 2:16 PM, Retired wrote:

Thanks! Knowing 4" width is reasonably "standard" suggests that I can get the folks at the metal store to cut me a piece, to length. (It doesn't look like I have enough stycast for the job <frown>)
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On 04/03/2016 04:12 PM, Don Y wrote:

Be careful of the alloy and heat treatment. I was looking for a piece of similar dimensions to fabricate a bracket and wound up with a chunk of 6061-T6. If you're not looking for a great deal of strength, 1050 or the other 1000 series alloys are a lot easier to deal with.
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On 4/3/2016 8:27 PM, rbowman wrote:

I'll probably have very little choice as I'll be digging through the "scrap" room. If I want to pick and choose "fresh stock", I'll have to buy it in larger pieces, at higher rates ($/lb) and pay to have it cut to my desired size.
[In the scrap room, a bit of patience will often turn up a more suitable size and at < half the price per pound.]
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On Sun, 03 Apr 2016 20:55:27 -0700, Don Y

If you are doing that, start at the metal recycler. If you can catch the guy going "IN" it is really cheap but you may have to get pretty lucky or just spend a lot of time waiting. You still pay scrap price plus a little from the scrap yard.
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On 4/3/2016 9:17 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The scrap room is full of the "remnants" from other orders. E.g., someone buys 16 ft off a 20' length of CRS and the 4 "extra" feet get stashed in the scrap room at a greatly reduced price. It's not "recycled" material but, rather, material that didn't make it out with the rest of the purchased lot.
But, it's not sorted, etc. I.e., you have to examine each piece to determine its dimensions. Then, carry it to the scale to guesstimate its price.
With careful planning, I've been able to purchase lots of "new" stock in odd sizes/lengths -- which is great cuz I can't haul regular size lengths without borrowing a truck! :>
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On Sun, 03 Apr 2016 21:21:43 -0700, Don Y

I guess you are just lucky there. Most fabricators around here consider any piece of metal in their shop "stock" not "scrap" and they pretty much charge retail for it.
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On 4/3/2016 9:34 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

The scrap room is stuff they don't expect to sell to "business customers". Sort of like buying a 3 ft 2x4 at a lumber yard -- it's not worth keeping it around (at full price) when a customer could just come in and *buy* the 3.5 ft that he really needs (out of an 8 ft'er).
I know things like copper scraps they pitch to "artists" who are looking for small pieces of copper to fashion into <whatever> little tchotchke. (A builder is unlikely to buy JUST 1 sq ft of copper flashing, etc.)
The downside is you never know what you can find, there.
I needed four 7-ft lengths of 3/4x3/8 CRS plus two 6-ft lengths of the same. The guy behind the counter told me I could buy the 7 ft lengths and wait for the 6 ft scraps (20-2*7=6) to find their way into the scrap room -- where I could save a few dollars on the price.
I thanked him for the suggestion but told him that I didn't need to pinch pennies *that* much! :> So, he N/C'd the cuts and cleaned the oil off the stock so it wouldn't make a mess in the car. We both walked away from the transaction happy.
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On Sun, 03 Apr 2016 22:18:43 -0700, Don Y

The fabricators say, if they can make something they can sell out of it, it isn't "scrap". Scrap to them is little bits of metal that is not really useful for anything
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On 4/3/2016 10:28 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

They aren't a fabricator. They just sell *metal*. It's like a lumber yard. The "business customers" would be the ones fabricating items out of their stock.
My buying 40 linear feet of CRS is more a nuisance to them than a "sale". I'm the only "car" in the parking lot full of trucks and flatbeds! :>
This is pretty common, here -- esp in places that deal with tradesmen. If you're respectful and mindful of the fact that they have other, "more important" customers, they'll usually treat you well and steer you in the right direction. It's no skin off their backs...
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On 04/03/2016 11:18 PM, Don Y wrote:

I worked for a steel distributor and a woman would come in very now and then to scrounge around the plate shears and cutting tables for sculpture materials. Anything she could drag out the door was hers. The more the better since it was just trash that had to be picked up sooner or later.
I hit the same thing at a local glass shop. I wanted a piece of 1/4" plate glass about the size of a sheet of wet & dry paper for a scary sharp setup. Since I didn't want a specific dimension he fished out a scrap that was close, ground the edges, and wouldn't take money for it.
One man's trash...
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On 4/4/2016 6:40 AM, rbowman wrote:

I think -- if it's not actually *costing* something -- most folks are more than happy to be helpful, share their knowledge/labors, etc. (lawyers being a exception to this rule, IME)
A buddy came to town to visit one of his customers. I tagged along as it would give me a chance to see my buddy's product (for the first time) and learn about another "industry" (perpetually curious).
At the customer's shop, I sort of hung back just soaking things in, looking at all the odd bits of equipment and trying to make sense out of what folks were doing. Eventually started asking questions as it was *way* too "foreign" for my past experiences.
Started talking to the owner with my buddy filling in details -- esp those that pertained to how his product "fit" into their operation.
One question led to another -- then 462 more... soon, my buddy was just an observer as his customer and I got deeper into specifics about what they were doing, how it worked, *why* it worked, its value to *their* customers, etc. Along the way, getting a basic lecture in the science involved to make sense of the "how and why".
Delightful afternoon! I learned something -- a whole *bunch* of things!
Got back in the car to head out for lunch and my buddy just blurted out: "I can't believe he told you all of that! He told you things that he's never told *me*!"
I was surprised and confused by his excitement: "Why? I just asked a few questions..." (I have an interesting concept of "a few" :> )
"Don, you *do* realize that his business is not supposed to exist? That what he does is not supposed to happen?"
"Huh? But everything he said made perfect sense. And, obviously, he's doing a very *good*/brisk business! There's nothing ILLEGAL in what he is doing -- nor immoral! And the prices he's commanding -- and *getting*! -- suggest folks are eager to be customers... And, you are obviously HAPPY to have *him* as a customer..."
I the got a lecture on the rest of the industry to put this into context; explain why he's "not supposed to exist", etc.
(I am being deliberately vague out of deference to my friend, his customer and their industry)
"Oh, so all of those times he jokingly said, 'but you didn't see this' he actually MEANT it? I.e., what I've learned was given with the understanding that it 'goes no further'??"
"Yes. And he was also making it clear to *me* that *I* didn't see it, either. And I shouldn't share anything that I saw with any of my other customers; esp as it might cost him his competitive advantage!"
Here's a case of a guy who didn't have to tell me -- or my friend -- ANYTHING. Yet, enjoyed sharing details of his business, skills he'd developed over the years, his *time*, etc. And, in the case of myself, never expecting to get anything *back* for it!
Like the guy in the metal shop telling me to wait for the 6 ft "scrap ends" of those CRS bars to make their way to the scrap room so I could buy them at a discount (instead of paying full price)!
OTOH, ask a lawyer a "simple question" and he'll quickly want to start the clock! As if he's afraid answering your question will "cost" him something.
But, that's fine. When he's got a problem with his car, TV, computer, etc. you can remind him that *you* don't work for free, either -- and suggest he'll be better off hiring a third party! ;-)
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On 4/3/2016 2:16 PM, Retired wrote:

Out of the scrap pile, 4x6x3/8 set me back $2.42 -- incl tax. I guess I can live with that! ;-)
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On Sun, 03 Apr 2016 12:22:41 -0700, Don Y

Phenolic - sometimes scraps are available at Lee Valley store - but it's not a catalog item. Also seen it at Surplus Store.
http://www.ebay.com/bhp/phenolic-sheet
or perhaps UHMW .. http://www.leevalley.com/en/Wood/page.aspx?p2045&cat=1,43455,43831&ap=1
John T.
--- ---
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On 4/3/2016 3:06 PM, snipped-for-privacy@ccanoemail.com wrote:

Ha! I'm sure I've got some scraps of FR4 that I can probably tease out of my junk pile! Thanks! Might be a bit messier to machine...
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On Sun, 03 Apr 2016 12:22:41 -0700, Don Y

Azek/starboard and stiffen it up with metal angle/channel frame..
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On 4/3/2016 4:04 PM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I'd have to turn the stiffener *inward* to get a 4x6x3/8" *plate* (i.e., ALL cross sections should be rectangles)
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