How Much Does Brass Cost? A Look at Brass Pricing and Factors That Affect Cost(what are non ferrous metals Jodie)
- source:CLAREY CNC Machining
What is Brass?
Before examining brass costs, it helps to understand exactly what brass is. Brass is an alloy, meaning it is composed of multiple metals. The main components in brass are copper (typically between 55-95%) and zinc (usually between 5-45%). Other metals like lead, aluminum, silicon, tin or iron may also be added in small quantities to produce specific properties.
The ratio of copper to zinc impacts the properties and color of the final brass alloy. Higher copper content creates a redder, more corrosion-resistant brass while higher zinc makes for a brighter yellow, cheaper alloy. Common types of brass include:
- Yellow brass - 30% zinc (inexpensive, good workability)
- Red brass - 15% zinc (more copper, corrosion resistant)
- Naval brass - 40% zinc (bright finish, nautical uses)
- Free-cutting brass - added lead for machinability
Brass is valued for being malleable, durable, and having an attractive finish. It has been commonly used for musical instruments, valves, locks, decorative objects and various machine components.
What Factors Impact Brass Pricing?
Like other metals, brass pricing fluctuates daily based on market conditions. However, there are several key factors that influence the base cost of brass:
- Raw Material Prices - The prices of copper and zinc heavily impact brass costs since they are the main components. As their market prices rise or fall, so does the price of brass.
- Alloy Type - Brass alloys with higher copper content are generally more expensive than those with more zinc. The metals ratio affects material properties.
- Form - Brass prices will vary based on whether it is purchased as sheet, rod, tube or in some other form. More processing increases costs.
- Quantity - Buying brass in bulk quantities usually results in a lower per-unit cost compared to small purchases from retailers. Larger buyers can leverage better pricing.
- Local Supply and Demand - Regional brass prices can fluctuate based on availability and demand in a certain market. More competition usually brings down pricing.
- Quality - Higher purity brass with strict tolerances commands a premium price over lower grades suitable for less demanding applications.
- Manufacturing Process - Cast brass is cheaper than extruded or machined. Secondary processing adds labor, time and cost.
- Shipping/Logistics - Sourcing brass from distant suppliers typically means paying more for transportation. Proximity to manufacturers helps control costs.
Brass Pricing by Form and Alloy
Now that we've examined some of the factors that go into pricing, what does brass actually cost? Here are some ballpark price ranges for common forms and alloys:
- Brass Sheet (12" x 12")
- 260 Cartridge Brass - $5-$20 per pound
- 353 Architectural Bronze - $12-$30 per pound
- Brass Rod (1" diameter)
- 220 Free-Cutting Brass - $4-$15 per foot
- 385 Naval Brass - $7-$25 per foot
- Brass Tube (1" diameter)
- 210 Commercial Bronze - $6-$18 per foot
- 485 Phosphor Bronze - $10-$35 per foot
These prices represent what a typical buyer might pay when purchasing small quantities from an industrial supplier. Bulk purchases of tons of brass can bring pricing down significantly through volume discounts. On the other end, specialty alloys sold through retailers in small quantities may be much higher.
Scrap or recycled brass tends to trade around $1.50-$3 per pound depending on market conditions. This is cheaper than purchasing new brass but properties cannot be certified.
Key Takeaways on Brass Pricing
The cost of brass can range quite a bit based on alloy, form, quantity and other factors. Some key points:
- Brass costs between $2-$35 per pound/foot in typical small quantity purchases
- Raw copper and zinc prices are key drivers of brass costs
- More copper content makes brass more expensive
- Sheets and rods are cheaper than tubing and machined parts
- Buying larger volumes can significantly reduce per-unit costs
- Scrap brass is a more affordable option but properties vary
When sourcing brass, consider the required properties, purchasing volume, form needed and any processing required. Knowing the factors that influence brass pricing allows buyers to budget appropriately and understand market fluctuations. With so many versatility applications, this alloy continues to provide value across many industries. CNC Milling