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Chapter 1. Introduction > The Secret Language of Scrap Yards - Pg. 29

MAKE: PROJECTS Eccentric Cubicle Figure No. 01.17: Far too many industrial strength stainless steel hoseclamps to count. Figure No. 01.18: 600 pounds of aluminum punchouts. If you can think of a use, I can get `em for you wholesale. Aluminum is a brutally diverse metal in the eyes of a scrap yard, with the buy/sell prices being just as confusing: Extruded Window frames, structural pieces, box channel, that kinda stuff. Aluminum extrusion comes in a range of profiles that staggers the imagination: you name the shape, and I can guarantee that some manufacturer somewhere has found a need to extrude aluminum with that particular profile. Seek out the extrusion stacks at a scrap yard and spend some time pondering the shapes and sizes you encounter. It almost requires a full-on meditative trance state to open your mind up to the potential of intricately profiled extrusion, but I can assure you of the value of such consideration. New aluminum Heavier-gauge machine formed metal: plate, pipe, fabrication-grade metal. Machine shops sell their scrap regularly, and depending on the jobs they've been working on, their scrap can include regularly shaped cutouts/cutoffs/ punchouts in quantity. As an example, I have a couple of five- gallon pails of circular 1 / 4 "-plate cutouts ranging in diameter from one to ten inches. At some point in time, I'll actually find a use for them. Cast aluminum What it says. As a material, it's brittle and the surface is generally unfinished, but cast aluminum comes in shapes ranging from commonplace (barbecue grill hoods) to being completely alien in topography (I've built home décor items from electric motor housings that would not look out of place on the bridge of a Klingon battle cruiser). If you're prepared to spend time on surface finishing, scrap yard cast aluminum is a limitless source of Dali-esque project boxes and enclosures. Old aluminum Thin-gauge metal: rain gutters, siding, that sort of thing. A good source of easily workable faceplate material. Dirty aluminum Treated with disdain by the yard grunts: Their attitude is, "Well, there's aluminum in there somewhere, but it's a pain in the ass to clean it up." The disdain is, for the most part, well-deserved. It's the category of aluminum that also includes "cast, with brass bushings and/or steel bearing races still in place," though, which means there's always potentially something useful. 18