Best place to get sheet metal in small quantities in San Jose?

Where would you get sheet metal for custom road signs?
The signs will be 12" by 18", with rounded corners, painted white, with black two-inch letters.
Steel would work, but aluminum would be better. Thickness would be something like 0.060 to 0.080 inches.
I maybe need material for 10 signs, at most.
I'm guessing welding shops will have the raw material at a good price. Sheet metal shops too.
Ace and Home Depot have the raw plate steel, but the plates themselves cost as much as signs being made, so the only question here is where to get about 12 feet by 18 feet (roughly) of plate metal inexpensively.
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On Mon, 7 Nov 2016 23:21:09 +0000 (UTC), Alex Harris wrote:

I'm out of my league, so I just need some background information right now.
I called a few "sheet metal" shops, and got the strangest set of quotes. I guess I need to know more about what I'm doing to compare them.
All seem to "roll up" a 4 foot by 10 foot sheet of aluminum, so I think that's the standard size (based on my phone calls today).
However, some quoted aluminum of various grades such as 2024, 3003, 5052, 6061, & 7075, asking me which one I wanted (I don't know).
Some just said it's "anodized" aluminum. Others asked if I wanted "plate" or "sheet" aluminum.
Not many felt like explaining it to me.
Which do I want for just spray painting a sign?
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On Mon, 7 Nov 2016 23:36:41 +0000 (UTC), Alex Harris wrote:

I found out the answer to the "type" of aluminum, which is probably 0.063 5052 which is the cheapest at around $125 for a four foot by 10 foot sheet (although some places charged $350 for that same sheet).
Anodizing, according to wikipedia, is just a thick oxide coating. I'm not sure if I even need that, since I'm going to paint it anyway.
If I cut it, they tell me I will lose 1/4 inch in the kerf.
I'm hoping to get two 18x24 inch signs and about five 12x18 inch signs.
Do you know of any Windows software that can best floorplan that out of a 4 foot by 10 foot sheet?
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On Mon, 7 Nov 2016 23:49:35 +0000 (UTC), Alex Harris wrote:

I drew out a grid of four blocks by 10 blocks which gets me a 4 foot by ten foot sheet.
https://s16.postimg.org/g5fwelxf9/fourfootbytenfootsheet.gif
Out of half that length, a 4 foot by five foot half sheet, ignoring the 1/4 inch kerf, I can get four of the 24x18 and five of the 12x18 inch blocks.
https://s15.postimg.org/5dpv7qmor/half_sheet.gif
So all I really need is a half sheet at 4 feet by five feet instead of 4 feet by ten feet. I think.
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On 11/07/2016 04:49 PM, Alex Harris wrote:

If you get it from a supply house, just have them shear it.
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On Mon, 7 Nov 2016 19:39:47 -0700, rbowman wrote:

Sheering costs more than the materials, from what I have found out by calling more than a half-dozen local sheet-metal suppliers.
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On 11/7/2016 6:36 PM, Alex Harris wrote:

Start here if you want some idea of properties. .080 is a common thickness for signs. I'd buy what is readily available in that thickness. 2024 or 6061 will work.
For 12 x 18, I'd buy these http://store.hallsigns.com/12-x-18-Aluminum-Sign-Blank_p_3737.html
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Hard to beat that price. They have rounded corners and drilled holes, ready to go. I wouldn't cut a sign out with a saber saw and buff the edges for $3 if the metal was free. I am going to book mark that site.
The OP might want to see what this guy wants for the completed signs. His paint or decals will last longer than your average rattle can anyway.
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On Mon, 07 Nov 2016 19:19:42 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

I don't think I can beat that price either.
One guy I called, named Miles, at Reliance, in Union City (408-672-3455) quoted $24 each for 0.063 gauge 5052 alloy, cut to 12x18, not rounded, and $33 each for 18x24.
Given that a *better* blank (rounded, painted, and holed) will be about $6 to $14 it's certainly not worth looking further at having anyone cut the sheets for me locally.
The closest comparison is this 18x24 unpainted blank http://store.hallsigns.com/18-x-24-Aluminum-Sign-Blank_p_5717.html

I'm looking at that site now, which seems to have everything, from the blanks, to the posts, and even the decals, as you mentioned: http://store.hallsigns.com/Engineer-Grade-Reflective-Die-Cut-Letters-and-Numbers_p_5047.html
The 18x24 painted rounded holed blanks are $14 plus a $10 handling & $17 shipping charge, for $41 for just one sign, so it's best to order more signs because for just one, it's not worth the money alone.
18" x 24" .063 Gauge Painted Aluminum Sign Blank http://store.hallsigns.com/18-x-24-063-Gauge-Painted-Aluminum-Sign-Blank_p_3274.html
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On Tue, 8 Nov 2016 01:41:28 +0000 (UTC), Alex Harris

Have you looked locally?
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On Mon, 07 Nov 2016 21:44:09 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Yes. I called Reliance, at 800-672-3455. Harris at 408-866-4160. RMS at 408-295-0911. Acosta at 408-275-370. Cortec at 408-278-8540 (and at 408-971-1564). Sheet at 408-282-8900. etc.
Some don't sell to the public, others sell a 4 foot by 10 foot sheet, and those will sheer for a very high fee, to size.
I might find a good local supplier, but it sure seems like their prices are way out of line with those on the net.
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On Mon, 07 Nov 2016 19:19:42 -0500, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

There is a lot of terminology that I don't know yet. For example, just in the decals alone, there is this concept of a "letter series". http://store.hallsigns.com/Black-Vinyl-Die-Cut-Letters-and-Numbers_p_5046.html
For example, the letter A comes in series B, C, or D.
Looking up what a "letter series" is, I found this which pretty much is the bible I think on letters on signs: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/SHSe/Alphabets.pdf
This summary says B has the narrowest letters: http://www.trafficsign.us/signtypeface.html
Interestingly, this page tells us where to get the CAD software & free fonts: http://www.trafficsign.us/fontvend.html
For example, here are free fonts: http://www.n1en.org/roadgeek-fonts
Where the specific font of choice is probably: c:\> move Roadgeek 2005 Series B.otf c:\windows\Fonts\.
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On Mon, 7 Nov 2016 19:06:23 -0500, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Thanks for the advice. I'm not in a rush, so mail order will work. One guy I called today said "get 5052 because it's cheaper". You suggested 2024 or 6061.
Looking up what the numbers mean this is a summary I found: http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?40732-Aluminum-What-do-all-the-numbers-mean 2024 – Another high strength aluminum, often used in place of 7075 due to its superior welding characteristics. Also does not anodize well.
5052 – Moderately high strength aluminum used in sheet metal applications where bending and strength are required.
6061 - The most common AL to the machine shop world. Machines well and is fairly stable. Takes a nice anodize plating.
7075 - typically called aircraft AL. High strength aluminum. A little harder to machine than 6061. Special care needs to be taken to produce thin walled components due to material movement. Does not take a weld very well. It also does not take anodize well. Given that description, I'd take the cheapest, since they'll all work I think.

Wow. That site is fantastic! Cheap prices. Lots of choices. Rounded edges. Holes punched. (Even holes both ways, whatever that means.)
The best price I found for a sheet of .063 gauge aluminum (unknown alloy) was $125, which nets me roughly fifteen to twenty 12x18" signs, at about $6.25 per sign (square edges, no holes, still needs paint).
Your site, for just one to thirteen blanks adds a $10 processing fee (plus shipping), but if I get more than thirteen blanks, they drop the processing fee.
Shipping seems to *only* be by FedEx, which is about $40 for fifteen 12x18 inch blanks.
So, for fifteen 3105 alloy 12x18" 0.80 gauge blanks, it's $55.50 for the fifteen blanks $39.50 for the shipping ------ $95 (or about $6.33 each)
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