Where can I get undrawn (thick) copper wire?

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,543
I have done some work in a wire drawing plant and they would receive undrawn wire on bobbins that stood vertically. That wire was at least 1/2"/13mm thick. I want to get my hands on some of that. Or even just some drawn solid bare copper wire larger than 1awg. I can't seem to find any hint of its existence on the internet, even from alibaba. Maybe I'm not googling the right words. Any ideas?
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,543
How long a piece?

Search on "copper rounds," e.g., https://www.mcmaster.com/copper-rounds

If you want to machine it, I would suggest alloy 145 with tellurium.
I only need a few feet to start with, test a concept, and if all goes well then I'll be wanting it a few hundred feet at a time. I'll be drawing it down to custom size, straightening, and machining. It would be nice to receive it in an annealed state as wire usually is, rather than a hardened stated as rod usually is.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
Do you have a gas torch? For testing purposes, buy a few feet. Anneal it and test your theory. If that works, then buy an industrial quantity. Doesn't make sense to look for unobtainium, as you seem to have determined, when you don't even know if your idea will work
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,543
Do you have a gas torch? For testing purposes, buy a few feet. Anneal it and test your theory. If that works, then buy an industrial quantity. Doesn't make sense to look for unobtainium, as you seem to have determined, when you don't even know if your idea will work
I probably will get that rod from McMaster but What I'm saying is that I can't even find a supplier of the industrial quantity. I could buy a short rod from McMaster, anneal it, prove my concept, and then find that my only option is to keep buying short rods from McMaster forever thereafter. If that's the case then my idea isn't worth testing. I want to know what waits on the other side of the door before I invest in stepping through.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
I second almost any other supplier for more than what you need for testing. McM provides great service and selection (unfortunately, it often omits the manufacturer), but at a price. I assume there are several metal distributors in Texas.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,543
Ok I've had better luck after the suggestions made. I've been searching the wrong things like "1AWG bare copper wire" - I've been searching for products, when I should have been searching for materials and suppliers, more along the lines of "C14500 copper supplier."

I've spent the day finding suppliers, reached out to at least 8 domestic suppliers asking about commonly stocked diameters, minimum order quantities, cut to length options, etc., and not a single one of them have deigned to reply as of yet. I took my new and improved search terms over to alibaba and found instant pricing, lead time, minimum order quantity, and promise/confirmation of a sample being mailed to me. I would like to keep my money in the American economy but it seems my only option to do that may be to pay McMaster's notoriously high prices (Not Gonna Happen)*. Sure, for one small piece, proof of concept, but there's no way to make money doing that. So maybe I have to source Chinese or Indian copper for a while before I can earn a seat at the table where American suppliers return my friggin emails. (no, I wasn't using a hotmail account)

* Especially not gonna happen when it's likely I'd just be paying McMaster to order it off alibaba for me.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
Ok I've had better luck after the suggestions made. I've been searching the wrong things like "1AWG bare copper wire" - I've been searching for products, when I should have been searching for materials and suppliers, more along the lines of "C14500 copper supplier."

I've spent the day finding suppliers, reached out to at least 8 domestic suppliers asking about commonly stocked diameters, minimum order quantities, cut to length options, etc., and not a single one of them have deigned to reply as of yet. I took my new and improved search terms over to alibaba and found instant pricing, lead time, minimum order quantity, and promise/confirmation of a sample being mailed to me. I would like to keep my money in the American economy but it seems my only option to do that may be to pay McMaster's notoriously high prices (Not Gonna Happen)*. Sure, for one small piece, proof of concept, but there's no way to make money doing that. So maybe I have to source Chinese or Indian copper for a while before I can earn a seat at the table where American suppliers return my friggin emails. (no, I wasn't using a hotmail account)

* Especially not gonna happen when it's likely I'd just be paying McMaster to order it off alibaba for me.
I agree with everything except the last sentence.

I have been lucky and have lived relatively close to a location for almost 50 years. Now, the Aurora, OH location is only a hour's drive (it used to be less than 30 minutes). I can still order before noon and have it the next day, or order and go pick up (like for a Saturday emergency). Unfortunately, there are no locations in TX. McM is nowhere near the size of AMZ, so its shipping while fast, is expensive. I have never gotten really HD low quality from it. For example, my most recent order was for some #5 and #6 flathead brass wood screws. Read the HD reviews about them. The screws I got from McM were made in Taiwan. Most important, the heads did not twist off when I screwed them into hard wood (ash) or dense particle board. As I think you know, when that happens on finished work, it can be a disaster.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,543
I agree with everything except the last sentence.

I have been lucky and have lived relatively close to a location for almost 50 years. Now, the Aurora, OH location is only a hour's drive (it used to be less than 30 minutes). I can still order before noon and have it the next day, or order and go pick up (like for a Saturday emergency). Unfortunately, there are no locations in TX. McM is nowhere near the size of AMZ, so its shipping while fast, is expensive. I have never gotten really HD low quality from it. For example, my most recent order was for some #5 and #6 flathead brass wood screws. Read the HD reviews about them. The screws I got from McM were made in Taiwan. Most important, the heads did not twist off when I screwed them into hard wood (ash) or dense particle board. As I think you know, when that happens on finished work, it can be a disaster.
Fair enough, I'll give them that. Everything I've ever ordered from them has been top notch. My comment wasn't meant to disparage the quality of their goods, but to allude to the idea that there isn't truly anything "made in America" anymore. Copper wire made in America is likely MADE in China, and shipped here where it's drawn to size and jacketed. And that example is the best case for American workers. On the other end of the spectrum you have power tools made in China, and the work done by an American to call it "made in America" is to peel a sticker off a roll and place it on the tool (a sticker that says "made in America")
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
I thought there was something like a 51% rule. Maybe some lawyer decided that meant 51% of the labels were made in America. :)

That's why all of my Milwaukee tools are old and "made in the USA." My 4" angle grinder is 40 years old. Switch went bad a couple of years ago. I simply turned it around, attached the unused contacts, and it was like new again. Maybe it'll last another 30 years. I'll be pushing 110 and probably won't need it anymore.
 
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Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,543
I thought there was something like a 51% rule. Maybe some lawyer decided that meant 51% of the labels were made in America. :)
I looked into the rule a couple of years ago. I wanted to put "Made in the USA" on the control panels that I build. I learned enough to know that it (the law and compliance with it) is of, by, and for, lawyers. It's intentionally convoluted and it seemed pretty daunting to me. It was enough to dissuade me. There are so many levels of potential pitfalls and potential loopholes. If I must have 51% (I'm not even sure that's correct) American-made components in my panel then does that mean American-made relays, PLCs, and drives? What about the circuit boards inside them? And the components on the circuit boards? And the materials the components are made from? Do I need to be able to trace the steel that the enclosure is made from, all the way back to the source? I'll have to check my paperwork but I'm pretty sure I never received a certificate of traceability for my panel backplane. It would be absolutely impossible to verify the origin of almost anything today. If everyone were following the alleged spirit of the rules, almost nothing would have a "made in America" sticker on it.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,543
Going back and forth with foreign and domestic suppliers I've learned some things:
1. Chinese suppliers are super flaky. 90% of what they put on alibaba is vaporware.
2. Indian suppliers think Americans will pay any amount of money they put on a quote.
3. American suppliers don't need your business.

I finally found a domestic supplier who knows what correspondence is, can beat Indian copper prices by 30%, has no minimum order quantity, and is coincidentally less than an hour from me.
 

jpanhalt

Joined Jan 18, 2008
11,088
Going back and forth with foreign and domestic suppliers I've learned some things:
1. Chinese suppliers are super flaky. 90% of what they put on alibaba is vaporware.
2. Indian suppliers think Americans will pay any amount of money they put on a quote.
3. American suppliers don't need your business.

I finally found a domestic supplier who knows what correspondence is, can beat Indian copper prices by 30%, has no minimum order quantity, and is coincidentally less than an hour from me.
Oh come one. Did you try ordering from McM? As suspected, Texas is rich in industrial suppliers.
 

Thread Starter

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
5,543
Oh come one. Did you try ordering from McM? As suspected, Texas is rich in industrial suppliers.
I ordered some samples for testing, not from McM but from Saturn Industries. Their prices were the best I could find from any online storefront.
 
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