Normally the local lumberyard. around 7 bucks for a 1x8x12 gets two medium boxes. Plus glue, nails etc.. I get 49 top bars AND bottom bars out of a 2x8x12 that cost me about 8 bucks. .10 cents each? I get over 1000 side plates for the frames out of a 2x10x12 that cost me around ten bucks... .01 cents each? Brad nails and glue.. electricity. a saw blade once in a blue moon.. Still dont cost me .50 cents each...
4x8 sheet of plywood is the most expensive thing I buy.. around 21 bucks.. thats still 8 bottom boards top boards/inner covers take your pick.. thats under three bucks, and normally I have scrap I can use for sides/edges... I used to buy the rolls of tin for the tele covers.. I could get 27 of them out of a 50 ft roll so they cost me under 2.50 ea.. however at 60 - 70 bucks a roll I finally gave it up, and now just paint the snot out of the tele covers and replace as needed.. I havent noticed much difference in longevity, but theres a big difference in enjoyment if I dont have to cut/bend tin.
I still consider it a hobby, something I enjoy doing so consider my time irrelevant.
I am one of those people who needs to be doing something.. Wife wanted LOTS of bees for LOTS of honey and wax.. but the bees dont keep me busy enough. I have several weeks with nothing to do between inspections etc.. (not to mention all winter) so I improvised by building equipment.. When I begin to get numbers up, start making queens, Nuc's etc.. It may keep me on my toes.. until then.. I build, and have sold quite a number of hives and spare boxes, tele covers, new bottom boards etc... My frames are no media firestorm, but are stronger than anything you can buy. They work a lot nicer than flipping the wedge to go foundationless... They in fact look very similar to what Mr. Bush has pictures of in his website, though cutting them from raw stock I have slightly thicker side plates and top bars. I like to use the extractor with my foundationless. They have impressed enough people that I am beginning to fill in the spare time I have adequately.. Finding it hard to understand why anyone with lots of beehives wouldnt do the same.. it IS a substantial savings.
You can get set up, and run.. say the side plates for the frames.. in half a day you have 2000 of them.. Takes longer to do the top bars.. shaving them down to fit snugly, cutting the 45's etc... but in the second half of the day you can have 500 of them,, the bottom bars are the trim left over from cutting the top bars down to size.. When I shave down the 1x8 stock for boxes I save those pieces and use them for more bottom bars.
Then I can sit down and build frames. Gluing and nailing for hours.. friends stop in and have a beer with me, we shoot the bull while I nail and glue. Often I put them to work rubbing the beeswax on the frames while we gab.. I have a rack built on the wall for the finished frames to go into. Holds 60 frames... usually it fills up before I realize it. I guess its all a matter of time available and what you consider enjoyable, and or worthwhile