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View Full Version : Why the heck are 3'x3' sheets of perforated aluminum grating so expensive?


stuyguy
01-29-2009, 06:16 PM
Every now and then I've needed to create a DIY radiator box, or something else that requires a nice looking metal grating that allows air to flow through. I head down to Home Depot where I invariably get sticker shock. A simple 3'x3' sheet of perforated aluminum grating costs something like $20.00! Sometimes it costs even more for the fancier version.

Is there something I'm not getting here? Why does something that seems so cheap and easy to produce cost so much? Even if one brand decided to gouge the market, surely some other manufacturer would come along with an identical product at a better price and steal away all the business. I mean, it can't exactly require an ultra-high tech operation to crank that stuff out. Yet, I've never seen those sheets sell for what I would consider a reasonable price.

drachillix
01-29-2009, 06:22 PM
How much does it weigh? Aluminum can be $1 per pound easily so toss in manufacturing costs and markup for manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer.

Doesent sound totally unreasonable.

stuyguy
01-29-2009, 06:35 PM
How much does it weigh? Aluminum can be $1 per pound easily so toss in manufacturing costs and markup for manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer.

Doesent sound totally unreasonable.

The stuff is as light as a feather! Not only is it aluminum, but it's full of holes!

erislover
01-29-2009, 06:42 PM
Seems cheaper than McMaster-Carr, if I understand what you're looking for. (They would call it aluminum grilles, I believe.) A 24" x 24" sheet is 26.67 there. You save practically nothing by buying the large 48" x 8' section. (And Eris knows what it would cost you in shipping.)

Gary T
01-29-2009, 06:53 PM
Why does something that seems so cheap and easy to produce cost so much?I think you'll find that it's not as cheap and easy to produce as you suspect. Whether it's truly perforated (http://www.microwiremesh.com/templates/Micro_WireMesh/images/perforated_02.jpg), or expanded (http://www.alfco.com/Images/foamx.jpg), the machinery to make it is probably complicated and expensive.

unclviny
01-29-2009, 08:27 PM
Have you priced a 4' X 8' Pegboard lately? it's pressboard with freakin' holes in it!

Unclviny

Kevbo
01-29-2009, 09:08 PM
Because it is Home Depot. See if there is a Metal Supermarket store in your area...they are more expensive than a "real" industrial supplier, but they are happy to sell "retail" in small quantities.

The scare quotes are because our machine shop fairly frequently buys small lots of stock from them, and thier prices are much less than retailers like home depot.

racer72
01-29-2009, 10:56 PM
I built a screen door a few years ago, I received the same sticker shock when I priced expanded aluminum at HD. I came home and did an internet search and found a local company that sold me a full 4 by 8 sheet of expanded aluminum for only $9. I also learned there are about 20 different kinds of expanded metal mesh.