I have a project I am working on that could use a fair number of small pieces of steel sheet. Mild steel is just fine.1/16" 400 units 3/32" 300 units 1/8" 200 units
Thickness is nominal. Closest sheet gage thickness is fine.
Length is 4.5" Width is 1/4"
Tolerance for length and width is +/- .01" and if they were all under0.01" it would be no big deal if somebody wanted to save a couple square inches.
Flatness needs to be "looks pretty flat" but no tight tolerance is required.
I am not really setup to cut these myself, so I went looking for a vendor. Midwest Steel & Aluminum seemed to be the best (only) option. They offered the dimensions I needed (to nearest gage size) at a reasonable price in those quantities. Cheap enough I could make money on the project. I placed the order along with some other stock and forgot about them. Their lead time for anything is absolutely terrible. I knew this going in so I was prepared to wait. (I dropped Midwest in favor of Coast for my bulk aluminum due to their attrocious lead times.)
I have one customer already champing at the bit for the end product, but I told him it was going to be a long term solution, so he was prepared to wait as well.
After about five weeks I contacted Midwest to ask if my order was close to being processed. They replied they were unable provide my cut parts, but they would refund that part of the order and ship the rest. They didn't, and I immediately told them to just cancel the whole order. I had to contact them twice more before they refunded any of it. They did finally refund it today. Well, they sent me an internal credit memo, but its not hit my account yet.
I'm still looking for a source for the pieces and I still am not setup to cut them efficiently. A burr from a tight fitting sharp shear might be ok, but twisted up like a potato chip would not be. I could toss them in a tumbler and probably not add to much processing cost. Plasma cut would probably not produce a cost effective part. To much hand work and mill work, and I am still a one man shop. I don't know how well it could be laser cut, but that's a lot more expensive machine, and I expect most laser tables would eat all those narrow parts.
Yeah I know most metal vendors are loaded with orders and just don't give a shit about a small customer who only orders about $10+ a year, but I am still looking for a source. I might be able to job it out, but a job shop would certainly charge as much for the parts as I would retail the net product for.
Ah, well. The headaches of a small business.