View Full Version : newbie frustrations

02-10-2004, 12:41 PM
in a community of 250.000 we have several shops with "mill", "tools", "precision" in their name, but NONE carries cutting , boring, or milling tools, calipers are made from plastic, and the salespeople dont know what a DTI is.
is everything mail order nowadays?

02-10-2004, 01:11 PM
Well Around here I have to mail order things. Upstate NY at my parents cabin, It is a short drive to Syracuse and they have one or 2 supply houses. I find it is cheap to buy my steel there, save on shipping costs. However their tooling prices cant compete with any of the mail order houses. I find though that the tools they do carry are usually of the higher quality American made stuff.
I'm very thankful that they exist, I'd go crazy if I had to mail order all my metal too. Well in CT, I am friends with a machine shop foreman down in Norwalk, he lets me go into the scrap bins and take all the scrap metal I want. Next time I go, Im going to bring some Donuts for everyone. last time I went, I got a nice hunk of some Stainless Steel that dulled my chinese end mill right away, some drill rod, and lots of aluminum. Some thin walled stainless steel pipe sections too. I got one hunk that is just wating to turn into a nice smoke box for a guage 1 live steam locomotive.

G.A. Ewen
02-10-2004, 01:12 PM
Up this way everything is mail order including things like socket head bolts, any set screw other than 1/4 and 5/16 NC,thread cutting oil and power hacksaw blades. So your not alone.

02-10-2004, 06:27 PM
I haven't seen a real hardware store for years.

02-10-2004, 06:31 PM
I just had to order in 100 2-56 X 1/2" socket head cap screws and a tap to match. Total bill $50 CDN. Ouch.

02-10-2004, 06:41 PM
I have one well stocked machinery store in the area and outlets for a couple of companies like MSC.

Most of what I do is order from KBC, Grizzly Travers. I do have a HF 5 minutes away, but I never expect quality materials from them, more like it will do.


02-10-2004, 06:41 PM
Same here! There is a scrap metal dump in my area and over the years I have been able to through GM, Ford, and others to identify every piece of steel in there cars. I can order steel but it usually comes from the mainland and is costly. There is one salvation however, and that is I have almost unlimited supply of cheap scrap stainless in both shaft and plate due to the largest dragger fleets in the world outside my shop window. A fair bit of brass and bronze shaft as well. You wouldn't believe the price either. I don't care if I do have to order my cutters through Ebay or mail order. When I did deal with your regular retail outlet I was only dealing with a clerk that didn't want to be there and thought he was doing you a favor if he served you. I'll take this beautiful isolation here on the Great Northern Peninsula any day. Here's to mail order . http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif

02-10-2004, 06:47 PM
About 2 years ago they put in an ACE hardware store just down the road. They have a nice assortment of nuts, bolts, and screws. Now I don't have to do like Evan did when I need 4 SHCS. I've bought many things there that I didn't think they would have, but they did. Now if they would start stocking metals, I wouldn't have to mail order them.


02-10-2004, 08:53 PM
I've also found my local ACE store to be great for fasteners. 8mm x 1.25 mm nuts and bolts? No problem; several lengths avaialable. Tiny screws down to 0-80, set screws...they do a good job.

02-10-2004, 09:30 PM
Shop around on the mail order outfits,I was looking for a new pair of Digital calipers the other day,the model I wanted was running about $185.00 in Msc,Enco etc but I checked McMaster-Carr and found the same for $156.00 also theye were cheaper on a few pieces of tooling I needed too.

For metals ebay can't be beat,I got 90 lbs of virgin brass for $60.00 including shipping.

02-10-2004, 10:17 PM
I am spoiled. We have fastenall, and a local independent hardware store that carries Starrett and Brown and Sharpe mics, calipers, and basic tools in inventory.

The sign on the front says (in very small letters) for your hardware needs (and in big letters) If we don't have it, you don't need it.

Someday, try to find a 4-40 tap at a common hardware store, or a #43 drill, or even a 2 series thread...but only if you want to drive around and see all your hardware stores. Had to do this in Manchester NH, and finally called home to my city in Claremont (I was doing a yearly off site job machining for a big student competition)and the next day had four 4-40's, screws, and drills to beat everything delivered by my wife to me from that store (and she does know machining, ans these were good taps).

02-11-2004, 12:03 AM
Here in Silver City, NM, we have one hardware store and in a town about 10 miles away is another. But do they stock small set screws? Nope, and the nearest actual supplier of such things is El Paso, TX, 3 hours drive or Tucson about the same distance. ALL my taps and dies come from KBC, Enco, Travers, MSC, Harbor Freight and the like. Harbor Freight has some digital calipers, 6 inch has been going for 13+ bucks and a 12" for 49+. So far they have been accurate and work very well. I have 6 feet of shelf space filled with catalogs of stuff from soup to nuts, Carr-Lane, Hardinge, Danly, AERO, Royal, Albrecht, PIC, Lyndex, Boston Gear, SKF, Torrington, New Departure and so on. Then there is another 3 feet of manufacturer's brochures on just about anything you can name of use in a machine shop.

02-11-2004, 02:40 AM
You should buy all your stuff from me so I can get filthy rich and you can get your stuff cheaper! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//biggrin.gif you got hosed man! http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net//frown.gif

That's why its nice to live in a semi-civilized city - I can buy nearly anything here.

02-11-2004, 11:28 AM
I order most of my hardware from Travers/Enco/MSC/KBC, but I'm fortunate to have a couple of real hardware stores close by. The woman behind the counter doesn't even blink when you go in and ask for a 'C' size drill.

I went in looking for a small compression spring once and she directed me to an aisle that held shelves of different sized die springs. Imagine going into your local True Value and asking for those! (Oh yeah, she also had the small springs that I was looking for)


02-11-2004, 11:44 AM

I'm not going to fiddle around with cheap or even good taps at that size. Dormer taps are the best but you do pay for the quality.

02-11-2004, 02:09 PM
MSC store is at
8120 Scott Hamilton Dr.
Little Rock, AK 72209
Fax: 501-569-9922


02-11-2004, 03:36 PM
Being in the metro Chicago area I have quite a few within driving distance(less than an hour)Even the McMaster Carr will call counter is 45 min away. That said It's usually more convenient just to have the stuff mailed.

02-12-2004, 11:39 AM
MSC store is at
8120 Scott Hamilton Dr.
Little Rock, AK 72209
Fax: 501-569-9922

That area code is wrong for Alaska, is correct for Little Rock, Arkansas. Of course, anyone interested would have known that.