The search for welding supplies keeps getting more difficult. Not that long ago where I lived in western Washington State, I had several sources for getting things that I needed:
* I called one place "The mother of all 2nd hand stores!" His place had several racks of various metals: pipe, angle, channel, etc. But he closed a few years back.
* Another larger local company had several acres of pretty much anything I wanted. But now they just recycle with no sales to the public.
* There were at least 3 local steel sales stores where I could get new steel for a reasonable price. But then I moved away.
*Plus there were also places other than actual welding supply stores: Wards & Sears both sold welding equipment & had decent pricing & selections. Now Wards is gone & Sears has fewer choices.
Now even my town of more than 100,000 doesn't have a decent place to get used steel. It's all recycled, & no sales.
But There's Hope! We just need to search harder!
Here's some on-line Supplies stores: (welders, rod, etc)
* centralwelding.com (Northwest area)
* lampton.com (Central States)
* strateweldingsupply.com (Eastern States)
Some general purchasing tips:
1) If you're buying a welder via on-line, I would look at several types & prices. Read any reviews that the website may have.
Then go to a welding supply store to see it in person! Plus ask questions. I had ordered a new wire feed on-line & had so much trouble getting the right one that I gave up & bought a used one via Craigslist.
2) I was able to TEST the welder I bought via Craigslist. I'd do that with any welder when possible.
3) Some of the on-line welder sales cost $50 or MORE for shipping!
4) "Scrap steel" is usually sold by the pound. You may not want to go with real heavy duty materials!
Use every resource possible to get what you need. But you may have to re-design sometimes & use other than the original planned materials.