Square aluminum tubing 1/4" x 1/4" x 3 or 4 feet.

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I need a piece of Square aluminum or steel tubing, 1/4" x 1/4" x 3 or 4 feet.
There used to be a web retailer, Metal Express, that did nothing but sell various kinds of metal, rods, screws, angle iron, tubing, etc (and tools probably) but even though it's still in google, its links are dead.**
Anyone know a place that would have this?
I don't think they sell this at HD or Lowes, but their webpage is so bad it's not worth checking. I'll go to the store tomorrow, but I think I would remember. Huh! HD and Lowes online do show it, but not small enough. Only 3/4 or 1".
Lowes marks its tubing Steelworks, but I havent' found them. HD marks theirs Crown Bolt which seems to be a wholey owned subsid of HD (well, no, they're owned by 3 equity firms, like Chrysler), so they won't have anything HD doesn't. Their webpage isnt' set up for selling anyhow. Crown Screw and Bolt doesnt' seem to sell tubing and has only one location, close to where I lived 45 years ago.
Ace Hardware online has it but only in 12 inch pieces.
I don't know the exact length. A guy from Freecycle gave me a projection screen today, which I plan to give to someone else. The top, smaller, piece of telescoping square tubing is missing, and I'm not sure how long it must be. When I find what's for sale, I'll try again to figure out how long it should be. Four feet, I think.
**"This is Google's cache of http://www.metalexpress.net /. It is a snapshot of the page as it appeared on Dec 24, 2009 22:24:40 GMT."
So they must have taken down their webapage in the last 9 days.
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mm wrote:

http://www.mcmaster.com/#9008k17/Wj16a
Less th an $5
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wrote:

Wow, you're great, and only 27 minutes after I posted, and only $4.78.
But the browser antics are the strangest thing.
When I clicked on your link, it opened in Firefox3, and showed just a bare-bones page. With one mcmasters graphic at the top.
So I searched the site for square tubing and got a list on the left, and a list on the rest of the page. Using the rest of the page, I clicked on aluminum and steel and each page was totally empty. So I used the left column and got a very nice listing for each metal, but no size was small enough. The closest was 3/8 x 3/8 in steel, bigger in aluminum.
So I thought the problem was firfox and copied your link above to IE8. And again it opened up with a black and white outline of a page, and very little graphics, and no description of the item.. So I put a "1" in "the number I want" and clicked on Add to Order, and then it gave me the very description I wanted, "9008K17 Multipurpose Aluminum (Alloy 6061) 1/4" Square, 6' Length"
I searched the mcmaster website every way I could think of, and didnt' find this, except the url you gave me. !!!
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mm wrote:

The link opens ok on my computer with IE8. To find it from start, you can go to the McMaster main page. Then in the search box I typed aluminum bars and narrowed the search to get exactly what was needed. I use both McMaster and Grainger but I find the McMaster web site far superior to search for what I need.
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On Sun, 03 Jan 2010 12:15:06 -0500, mm wrote:

FWIW, it does exactly the same thing as you describe here with Firefox 2 under Linux. Whoever designed their site needs kicking in the butt, & they must be losing lots of potential sales over it...
cheers
Jules
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On Sun, 03 Jan 2010 19:40:23 -0800, Smitty Two

If they take your advice, I doubt if they will implement this one problem part the way McMasters did. (Unless they have a mole and steal their code.)
I have no objection to its simplicity, but it did remind me of mal-displayed webpages I used to see somewhere else.
I thought the two things were related here, but they weren't.
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On Mon, 04 Jan 2010 07:40:07 -0800, Smitty Two

My brower is FireFox 3.56, which is only a couple weeks old. I'm running WinXP SP3, with all the updates they've been willing to send me, include some 2 weeks ago.
A similar, but strangely different problem happens with Int. Expl. 8, which I installed only 2 weeks ago. I took a url that I got by searching in Firefox for the part I wanted. Then I put it in IE8, which had never accesssed McMasters, and what I got was the selection page for all aluminum products. Then I took the url that Ed found for me and it worked, but I think that had something to do with my not being able to delete the first tab. And I can't find a cookie manager in IE like there is in Firefox. I think if I had used Ed's url first, before another McMasters page, it wouldn't have worked right either.
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On Mon, 04 Jan 2010 07:47:34 -0800, Smitty Two wrote:

Yes, all of that works fine.
The goofy thing is, it's *not* showing the same problem that mm and I saw the other day (mm, can you see if it's OK for you now?). Maybe it was a temporary glitch that they fixed, or there's some other dependency (perhaps a 'direct' link depends on a cookie that's only being transferred when I first went to the home page of their site, or something odd like that)
cheers
Jules
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mm wrote the following:

Does it have to be tubing? They have 1/4" square rod in 6 and 8 foot lengths. http://www.mcmaster.com/#aluminum/Wvbby
--

Bill
In Hamptonburgh, NY
  Click to see the full signature.
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wrote:

No. I jumped to that idea because it slid inside a piece of square tubing! But rod is better, stronger, and probably no more money. It's part of a projection screen, for movies and slides and powerpoint, and it's from the 50's or 60's and I haven't seen one of these for more than 30 years. So I forgot. It's the part that pulls up and stays up and the screen hooks on to a bracket on the top end of it.

Very good. Thank you.
I passed by two Home Depots today and one had almost twice as much rod and tube as the other. That one had a 3 foot steel piece, but it seemed heavy and might not be long enough. Strangely, though they don't stock everything the standard sign mentions, the sign for aluminum has round and square tube, and round rod, but no square rod.
It's not for me. I have a big old, in perfect condition screen that I advertised for free for a charitable contribution. The first time no one called, but the second time 3 people called. This is a smaller cheaper screwen, and I'm going it to give this to one of them.
So McMasters it is. I hope the shipping's not too much.
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I've found McMaster's web site to be problematic to hotlink. Best practice that I have found so far is to post the part number so another reader can find it quickly.
nate
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First off, your computer is totally screwed up. The link, and Mcmaster's website works fine for me and tens/hundreds of thousands of other happy customers.
Second off, that item is an aluminum BAR, not tubing. That's why you couldn't find it through the normal interface. The smallest aluminum tubing they carry is 3/4 by 3/4.
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On Tue, 5 Jan 2010 10:44:38 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

Totally? My email works.

If you read almost to the end of the thread, you'll see a post by me where I reprint the email they sent me. The one at x:07 o'clock. They themselves say there's a problem and that they're working on fixing it.

Yes, you're right. Thank you.
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On Mon, 04 Jan 2010 07:59:57 -0800, Smitty Two

I was wrong about this. It came in 3 materials, different kinds of aluminum, and I did read and rely on the chart. But it would have been easy to go back a screen and check out all three materials.
For the all-purpose aluminum, it only came in 6 feet and 8 feet.
FWIW, at onlinemetals.com, it came iirc in 1(maybe),2,3,4,5,6,7, and 8 feet. They even had a note "cut to length". FTR, they also sell plastic.

Sometimes. It's not the most pro-oriented location, but the display for steel at Home Depot referred to round tube, square tube, round rod, and square rod. (For aluminum they had three of these but neither square rod nor bar stock.)

That's good that it gives all that, but I started with aluminum.

Very interesting. I would think before the web, it would have been taken forever to find this much variety.
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mm wrote:

Try a hobby store. They typically have 1-foot sections. Some have longer pieces. Let your fingers do the walking.
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mm wrote:

I didn't reply to your initial message because I didn't know you were looking for bar stock, but you might bookmark this site for future reference:
http://www.onlinemetals.com /
Jon (unaffiliated with onlinemetals.com)
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On Sun, 3 Jan 2010 20:30:03 -0800, "Jon Danniken"

Thank you. And for what I want, it appears to be cheaper.
McMasters was $4.78 for a 6 foot length. Online is $2.36, plus it has 5 foot for 2.02 and 4 foot for 1.70.
Same alloy, 6061.
They might make it up on shipping, Neither company will tell me the shipping charge unless I fill out my name and address, etc. This one insists on a phone number, email address, and makes me pick a password, which I have to enter twice.
And the cheapest shipping is $15.52. For that, I have to think about this for a while if I can buy something else at the same time. And is it worth 18 dollars to fix a 40 or 50 year old projection screen, that I'm giving away. I have to pull the screen out of its holder and see if it's in good condition. (Maybe I should have done that even if the cost were one dollar, or even if no part needed, before offering it to someone.)
When I changed to 4 feet, shipping was 10.52. ** And when I changed to shipping to a friend who runs a business, it went down to 8.52.
(Some vendors charge more to ship to a home because sometimes no one is there, or something like that. No one has ever stolen a package left at my door, but it could happen.)
For a 6 foot length, it was 13.21 when shipped to a business address.
**Maybe it's hard to wrap a 6-foot rod.
Plus a friend said he might have it. He probably doesn't but he wanted a day to check.
They give an explanation about shipping charges: "You only offer shipment via UPS on your site. Why is this? Our UPS representative has good tickets for Seattle Mariners games. Do you have any idea how hard it is to get those things? (Not hard at all lately. They Mariners are not very good. But they were at one time.) Actually, we have some pretty good reasons -"
:-)
So they must be near Seattle. McMaster's has one of their warehouses in New Jersey, and I'm about 3000 miles closer to that one, so I'll check their shipping charge.
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On Sun, 3 Jan 2010 20:30:03 -0800, "Jon Danniken"

McMaster's woudln't tell me what the shipping charge would be until I gave them a name, phone number, email address, and what's worse, a credit card number!! I really don't like that.
I wrote them complaining abou this, and also telling them about the flaw in their webpage.
(I did more testing on the webpage in IE8, and entering a url for the particular product I wanted to buy, which had never dealt with McMasters before, ended up giving me the menu for all aluminum products. Very strange. I told them about this too.)
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wrote:

Well, to follow up, I wrote them at 11:42 my time, which is 8:43 their time, and I already got an answer at 1:09 my time, less than 90 minutes later. And one that was plainly written by a human, though he may well have copied parts, and that's fine, from a form letter or two:
Hi Mike,
The problem you referenced from point 1 is an issue we're aware of and working to resolve. There are currently 2 options that will cause the correct information to load correctly after clicking on the link your friend provided.
Option 1) After clicking on the link, enter a quantity and click ADD TO ORDER. Once the description information loads down the left panel, click on the "Catalog Page" link. Once the catalog page loads in the main frame, you can click on any of the other links (i.e. Product Specifications, More About Aluminum and Aluminum Alloys, etc.) and the information should load like normal in the main frame.
Option 2) Create a profile by going to the CURRENT ORDER page, selecting the "I am new to this website" option and completing all of the requested fields. Once a profile is established and you have placed your first online order with us, the site will load all information for any part without the need of entering in a quantity.
With regards point 2, our site actually does not estimate shipping charges. Orders usually cost between $7 and $15 to ship. The receipt we send you will show the package weight and shipping charges.
We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with us and we appreciate your input.
[man's name] McMaster-Carr
Wow. WRT my point 1) I'm a programmer myself, and I can't help thinking I could solve their problem in two days, and certainly no more than a week. Option 2 is a big clue that might make it much less than two days.
As to my point 2, very interesting and I'm a little confused. It isn't really a receipt until you've paid them. Maybe they mean an invoice, or maybe they mean you charge it your open account or give them a credit card number and agree to pay whatever shipping turns out to cost. That's the way corporations usually work. I wish I weren't so cheap, but otoh, I'm giving it away after I fix it.
I'm guessing it would be their normal minimum, 7 dollars, for something very light and thin, but 6 feet long. (I gave him my zipcode and the specific part, hoping he'd tell me, but he didn't.)
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wrote:

At the other company, anything over 58 inches incurs a 5 dollar added charge by UPS, so that might be true here too.

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