How Much is Brass? An Overview of Brass Pricing and Uses(online laser cutting Letitia)
- source:YESCOM CNC Machining
What is Brass?
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, with copper making up the majority of the content. The proportions of copper and zinc can vary to create different types of brass with unique properties. Common brass alloys include:
- Yellow brass - 70% copper, 30% zinc. Most widely used variety.
- Red brass - 85% copper, 15% zinc. Higher copper content gives a reddish color.
- Naval brass - 60% copper, 39% zinc, 1% tin. Added tin increases corrosion resistance.
- Cartridge brass - 70% copper, 30% zinc. High ductility for bullet casings.
Brass is highly malleable and ductile, making it easy to machine and form into parts. It has good corrosion resistance, though not as high as metals like stainless steel. The alloy is also strong and durable. These desirable properties make brass a versatile material used for musical instruments, valves, radiators, ammunition, plumbing, and more.
What Factors Determine Brass Pricing?
Like other metals, brass pricing fluctuates daily based on various factors. The main drivers of cost include:
- Base metal prices - Since brass is made from copper and zinc, prices for these raw metals influence brass costs. If copper and zinc prices rise, brass becomes more expensive to produce.
- Manufacturing - The costs associated with melting, alloying, and forming the brass into sheets, rods, or other shapes adds to the pricing. More complex shapes can increase manufacturing costs.
- Quantity - Brass purchased in bulk quantities usually has a cheaper per unit cost compared to small volumes. Negotiating lower prices for large orders is common.
- Quality - Higher purity brass with tighter tolerances commands a higher price over standard commercial alloys. Specialty brass blends also cost more than basic alloys.
- Supplier markups - Each supplier along the supply chain adds a markup to cover overhead and profit margin. This is factored into the final brass price.
- Location - Shipping and logistics costs mean brass prices can vary by geographical region. Being closer to the supplier tends to mean lower pricing.
How Much Does Brass Cost?
With so many variables, brass pricing can range dramatically based on the grade, form, quantity, supplier, and geographical delivery location. However, here are some ballpark figures on what brass costs:
- Brass sheets - 16 gauge brass sheet, 36" x 36” costs $105 on average. Prices range from $65 to $175 depending on alloy and quantity.
- Brass rods - 1/2" diameter brass rod in 12' length costs around $24. Rod prices range from $15 to $55 based on diameter and alloy.
- Brass tubing - 1" diameter brass tubing in a 6' length averages about $45, but can cost $30 to $75 depending on wall thickness.
- Brass plumbing fittings - Brass couplings cost $2 to $10 while brass elbows range from $5 to $20 depending to size and type. High volume orders see significant discounting.
- Brass pins and rivets - Brass rivets cost $0.75 to $2.00 each depending on size. Pins can range from $1.50 to $5.00 per unit.
- Brass per pound - Brass scrap and solid shapes sell for $3 to $6 per pound. Lower quantities command higher per pound pricing.
These are just general price ranges - brass can be purchased at the wholesale and retail levels for both higher and lower costs depending on the variables listed earlier. Checking with multiple suppliers is key to finding the best brass pricing for any project.
Key Uses for Brass
Here are some of the most common applications for brass:
- Plumbing - Brass fittings, pipes, and fixtures are extensively used in plumbing systems because of brass's corrosion resistance, strength, and attractive appearance.
- Musical instruments - Brass's acoustic properties make it ideal for wind instruments, bells, and other musical equipment. Varieties like yellow and red brass are commonly used.
- Decorative hardware - Doorknobs, drawer pulls, clothing fasteners, and other decorative hardware items often use brass for the unique patina and golden color.
- Ammunition casings - Cartridge brass is the material of choice for bullet casings due to its malleability for forming, ductility, and ability to withstand repeated firing.
- Marine components - Naval brass is used for marine applications like portholes, fittings, and propellers due to its corrosion resistance in ocean water.
- Radiators and heat exchangers - Brass performs well as tubing and piping in heating and cooling systems because it easily conducts heat while resisting corrosion.
- Electrical equipment - Brass screws, nuts, contacts, and terminals have good conductivity and durability in electrical devices.
- Pneumatic equipment - With good sealing properties, brass is suitable for air brake components, air compressors, and pneumatic cylinders.
The wide range of brass pricing makes it an affordable option for most applications. With proper selection of alloy and form, brass can provide an optimal balance of performance and cost-effectiveness. Staying up to date on brass spot pricing through commodity markets and supplier negotiations helps buyers get the best value for their projects. CNC Milling CNC Machining