Because it is the place to find many items that you will not find at any store in town, and may not be able to find anywhere "new", because it is obsolete. If you can build a better platform, please do.
I have purchased many quality items, new and used, on ebay and it has always worked out well. I have also sold many items which also worked out well. Bad experience?
Living in the middle of Iowa "taking it to any shop" is a limiting factor.
Buying material online is a fact of life for me.
Not necessarily. This thread make it more obvious how they’ve been able to make a successful business though. It’s similar to inserts- many people here purchase inserts on ebay. I can’t fathom doing that. There are plenty of supply houses peddling inserts all over this province who offer superior pricing, will ship direct and are an email/phone call away.
What you’re saying is despite the population density of the US, there are still areas so under-served that a businesses only option is to obtain basic raw materials online? Sounds like an opportunity.
I work in Ames,I don't know any who have a shear or would waste time on someone looking for scrap to practice welding.
There are plenty of online alternatives to ebay and Kijiji for that matter (owned by epay). Far better in design and execution. I need not bother creating another one of those websites.
For a Bakelite tuning knob off a 1950’s radio, sure. For something as ubiquitous as Al scrap? Not a chance.
For the OP, there are machine shops in the following cities in Iowa. Perhaps one is near you.