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Re: [TCML] Primary Support Materials

There are a couple sources and they are all pricey in some way or another. For instance, I've been getting PVC squares from McMaster Carr. I also noticed their prices on acrylic tubes (which I used for the Van De Graaff Generator I built for the wife) is less than many sources, but that may be the only thing that's cheaper.

I found Small Parts to be more expensive than other on line stores in everything except the HDPE and UHMW. This may be a temporary aberration. But I just bought a slab of 1" thick 12x12" UHMW for my primary and it was about 3/4 the price that McMaster was quoting. Also, I tend to find that not every vendor has every geometry you want. Some sizes I found at Small Parts weren't available at McMaster, and visa versa. It was a lot of trial and error.

I go to Tap Plastics for the polycarbonate because I can almost always find what I want either in their castoff bin or on their showroom floor. All the polycarbonate disks I get I just buy "off the rack" at Tap. Their ends and odds bin usually doesn't have anything larger than 12"x12", but sometimes you can find a slab of 1/2" clear polycarbonate in a weird form factor, like 6" x 24", and you can take it home and cut it into something yourself. A piece of 12x12" polycarbonate sheet costs about $1 in their cast off bin.

But heavens forbid you ask them to custom cut something for you. Then you pay through the proverbial nose. Last week I bought a rectangle 12"x24" of 1/2" polycarbonate for my wife's VDG project and it ran me $38.

And if anyone knows any other sources of raw materials, do let us all know. There's always a situation where you need a certain geometry or material and one or more of the on-line guys won't have it.

Oh - one more thing. You can't get Garolite at TAP. I"ve been getting all my G10 from either McMaster, or I just found that On Line Metals also carries it. Though On Line Metals may be most costy of all.


On 8/24/2010 7:03 PM, Brandon Hendershot wrote:
Thanks for all your input guys, I really appreciate it, and it always helps a LOT! :-) This'll be my last question on this topic, hopefully; Where do you guys get your plastics?
I'm only really concerned with getting some HDPE right now. I know all of you don't get it just from home depot/lowes etc.
I've heard of TAP Plastics, but I'm looking for someone in Arizona (preferably).
It's always really expensive wherever I find it, and I know we've got a few seasoned bargain shoppers here. ;-P
Thanks a bunch,
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