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Best metal to make cheap lightweight frame and how to secure motors

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ignatius_gim:
Thanks for all of your answers.  How expensive is aluminum and do you suggest going to a scrap metal yard or a mill, what about consumer stores like Home Depot?  Also, could you just connect the motor righ tot the gear box and will it stay?  Any other mounting options and where could you buy gear boxes?  Thanks a lot.

waltr:
Aluminum is not that expensive and can be found at lots of places which is reasons it is a good material to use.
Scrap yards can be a good place to get aluminum cheaply, Home Depot, hardware stores and other consumer places can have aluminum but it is hit ot miss for them having what you need.

Also look into old computer stuff, floppy & cd drives tend to use thin aluminum chassis and can provide good pieces to use on a Bot.

McMaster-Carr has a good selection of aluminum so check their online catalog if you need a specific size.

jwatte:
Raw aluminum is typically easiest to buy at a "supply" place, where builders and machinists go to get their material. Expect to pay about $4/pound retail for simple extruded forms of Aluminum -- L profiles, rectangular bar, sheets. Piping/tubing may be more expensive. Here's the place I use, which might be convenient if you live between San Francisco and San Jose:
https://plus.google.com/101102587570788380732/about

The Home Depot has a small selection of 6063 aluminum profiles for use in building -- 1/16th inch thick and 1/8th thick L and sqare profiles in 1/2, 3/4, and 1 inch sizes, 36 or 48 inches length. The L profile is actually quite easy to work with; chop it up into lengths, and join it up with screws or epoxy glue.

Amazon/Small Parts also has aluminum available, and if you're Prime, it will ship in two days. Slightly more expensive than my local supply yard, but oftentimes convenient:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CNLSDE4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00CNLSDE4&linkCode=as2&tag=enchage-20

McMaster also has aluminum, but I've found them more expensive than both the local supply, and Amazon.

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