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When you are measuring the linear feet of steel for an upcoming project, but your supplier is selling steel by the ton, you will need to calculate the total weight (pounds) and then convert to tons (2,000 lbs).
Step 1: Using a takeoff software, determine the total lineal feet of each steel shape on the project (WF Beams, HSS tube steel, C Channels, L Angles, Flat Bar, etc). Keep each different cross section separate. For instance, separate the lineal feet totals of HSS 4x4x1/2 and 6x6x1/2.
Step 2: Use a steel conversion table to convert each sections total length to lbs. There are publicly available sources (such as Coyote Steel’s table here http://www.coyotesteel.com/assets/img/PDFs/databook.pdf) and professional sources such as the AISC Steel Construction Manual.
Step 3: Total up the lbs between all your cross sections to get total lbs of steel on the project.
Step 4: Divide total lbs by 2000 to convert lbs to Tons. 2000 lbs = 1 US Ton.
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I find it interesting to know that a steel conversation table would be used as well to cover the sections’ total length to pounds. I guess residential steel fabrication professionals would already be trained to this kind of process which can ensure that the outcome of the project is successful. Also, it will be safer if all the items would be measured well before even installing them on the parts they are for.