What is Bar Stock?

B. Turner

Bar stock is a form of raw material used in metalworking or manufacturing. It consists of metal or plastic bars in a variety of sizes and materials to suit the needs of many industries. For example, steel bar stock includes many grades of steel in sizes ranging from just to few inches to several feet or more. The bar stock is fairly plain, and takes the shape of a round or square bar of solid metal. A single piece of bar stock is often known as a billet.

A bucket made from steel bar stock.
A bucket made from steel bar stock.

The standard manufacturing facility likely has a warehouse full of bar stock. It's brought into the machining area as needed to produce new product, and restocked regularly so there's always enough to meet demand. If only a small amount of metal is needed, users may simply cut off the desired amount and return the bar to the building's storage area. Depending on its size, the bar stock can be carried throughout a factory by hand or using a lift or other type of machine. Very large bar stock may require a crane to lift and transport it throughout the facility.

It's common to have a warehouse full of bar stock.
It's common to have a warehouse full of bar stock.

Metal bar stock can be found in machine shops and factories. It may be milled, cut, or shaped into a metal object, or melted and poured into a mold. A standard metalworking lathe often includes a bar feeder, which holds the bar and feeds it into the machine little by little as needed.

Steel or aluminum bar stock may be used to make everything from lawn furniture to metal fasteners. Artists can bend and shape this metal to form furnishings or artwork. Other types of manufacturers may use plastic bars to form consumer goods, toys, or other products. Different lengths and types of plastic stock are often mixed and melted together to give an object a specific set of properties. They may also be mixed and blended to create new color blends.

Each type of metal or plastic stock material should be chosen carefully based on the specific needs of each project. Generally, these bars are chosen based on their total volume, which can be calculated by multiplying the length, width, and depth of the bar. Users should also take the time to distinguish between different metals and alloys, such as stainless steel or brass, before selecting from a supply of metal stock.

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