I’m always surprised when fellow crafters and hobbiests haven’t heard of McMaster Carr. Although there is a lot to be said for the immediacy of a trip to the local hardware store. It provides rows upon rows of improvisation that scream take me home and jury rig something, NOW!
On the other side is McMaster. Everything a hardware store does, McMaster does better. It has the best online store interface I’ve ever seen. More than once I’ve been in a nerd huddle discussing the merrits of the website.
At first, it seems plain, almost like a well groomed index. Clicking on any topic will generate a parametric orgasm of searching. You click on wire? Be greeted with 6 pictures of different categories of wire. Select a catgegory and be greeted by another sub-catgegory, where the process is repeated until you find exactly what you are looking for. Then, the best part of all. It’s about 5 times cheaper than what you find at the hardware store.
I bought a turntable (for a home made spinner rack store display) for $8. It’s capable of holding 1000 pounds and the spinning action is aided by an entire row of ball bearings. The one I could find at a hardware store was $30, made of plastic and had a measly 5 bearings held in place with plastic grommets. Not even close.
The pictures are superb, like all the scientific illustrators in the world had finished cataloging the natural world and have moved on to the manmade.
Finally, the search is insane. Start typing in the search bar and watch the righthand frame cycle through possible searches, narrowing your efforts before you are even conscious of the changes.
Whether you’re builing a store display, hacking together electronics, or some other infernal machine, I entreat you to go to this store.
If you’re not the sort of person who enjoys staring at industrial supply catalogs, get off my website!