About a month ago I started a new job, developing software for a manufacturing company that makes steel tubing of various shapes and sizes.
So what does a steel tubing manufacturer have an abundance of? Steel tubing. What do they do when they need new shelving, furniture, etc? Open the office supply catalog? Nope... They go to the maintenance department and make their own out of... you guessed it, steel tubing. This is not a knock on the company at all. As a big time DIY guy, I can appreciate this kind of self-sufficiency.
Case and point... this is the desk I inherited, made primarily out of 1" square tubing:
It's been several years since I've been able to work hands-on with metal (I miss the days of having full access to the machine shop at college). So I decided that I wanted to raise up my monitors, and do it myself with steel from the scrap bins. The room next door was being remodeled, and some extra monitor mounts were being taken down from the wall, which I could use in my new setup.
Over the course of a couple weeks, one of my coworkers introduced me to the guys in Maintenance and Quality while I collected, measured, and cut several pieces of sheet steel and square tubing. Our welder helped me weld together a few pieces, and I took care of drilling, cutting, and painting.
What I ended up with was a square tube support across the back, and two adjustable monitor mounts that hung from the bar. With a coat of black Rustoleum, I think it turned out quite nice.
One of my friends from my last job said that he couldn't wait to see all the stuff I would build in my house using steel tubing. While I don't foresee that happening in the near future (especially since I don't own a welder... yet), I have a feeling that this is how it starts. Today a monitor stand, tomorrow the world.