Sunday, January 8, 2012

List of mechanical parts suppliers

This is a list of industrial suppliers that I have found which service Canada and preferrably have online stores with pricing.  I've relaxed my online-store only policy because it seems it was unrealistic. So I'm now including suppliers in the Vancouver BC area which are reasonably accessible.

I'm frankly very tired of requesting quotes from suppliers and having to call everyone under the sun to simply see what's available in my budget. As far as I'm concerned, if you have a price it should be the same for everyone and it should be on your website and up-to-date. If not, I'll spend my money elsewhere.  However, restricting myself to this appears to guarantee that I will be ripped off on shipping or customs, while not supporting local industry. 

I'll be updating this list as time goes on:

Amazon, mediocre:
Update: Placed an order for linear shafting, linear pillow-block bearings and shaft supports.  Order totaled 156$, but was shipped direct from VXB, who charged 99$ in shipping. Order arrived with 29.50$ owing for customs brokerage. So a bit better proportionally than SDP/SI, but still quite expensive.  Prices for the parts were comparably much better than I'd been able to find locally though, so the ultimate cost of the parts was still fairly low.  Shipping was fairly quick too, well under a week.

To my surprise, (not .ca) stocks many linear motion & hardware products, including some with very good pricing. Kind of hard to see products in a given category, e.g. matching ball-nuts for a given ball-screw.  Have ordered books from them in the past with good success, no industrial parts yet.

Automation Technologies Inc.:
Haven't ordered anything from these guys, but they appear to have good prices on ballscrews, linear shafting, stepper motors and CNC drivers.  Offer shipping through USPS which sounds as if it's about the cheapest option for importing mechanical parts.

Fastenal, good experience:
Local distributors all over the place, one near Kitsilano in Vancouver
Sell all manner of fasteners, seem to have reasonable prices on many things, including fasteners, T-Slot extrusions/hardware, linear shafting.  Seem pretty easy to deal with, gave me a 10% discount and waived shipping on a 40$ order of linear shafting.

Metal Supermarkets,
Metal supplier, stocks aluminum, steel, brass and bronze.  Pretty decent online store, with a location in Burnaby BC.  Will cut to size.  Bought numerous offcuts in aluminum, as of writing these were priced at $3.50/lb, they have a bin of a large number of sections which generally means I have found what I was looking for.  Pretty friendly and helpful, seem to service more small jobs than Rustan.

Also bought some cut pieces. They charged $1.00/cut plus cost of materials and have a CNC saw that cuts square and to .01".  Unfortunately there was a mixup with at least half of my cuts that I discovered after getting home. Be sure to have a drawing or cut-list for them to refer to so it is clear if mixups are your fault or theirs.

Suppliers of bearings and linear motion parts (e.g. ballscrews and leadscrews) located in Burnaby. Useless website, but apparently stock many parts so you can actually go in and see it.  Have not ordered from them, but recommended by another member of VHS. Will check them out when I need leadscrews for ongoing CNC project.

Rustan Metals,
Metal supplier, stocks aluminum and steel.  Located between Main St. and Commercial Drive near East Hastings St. in Vancouver.  Pretty sparse website, but apparently good for off-cuts.  Included in this list because they're very accessible from Vancouver.

Bought some .250"x11"x14" plate stock from them in person at a reasonable price, good price, friendly service.  They do not provide offcuts however, so it is a more costly option than Metal Supermarkets.

SDP/SI, terrible experience:
Update: Placed an order for 56$, with no quoted price for shipping and handling. Order was placed promptly, but took two weeks to arrive, whereupon I was charged 21$ in shipping and 40$ for brokerage via UPS ground. Contacted their sales department to find out how to reduce these costs in the future and was told "it [was] out of [their] control", they don't know how much shipping will be for an order nor anything to do with the brokerage fees. Generally indifferent and rude on the phone. I recommend that people in Canada not deal with these clowns.

Good online store, slightly more ghetto than McMaster-Carr, but (apparently) ships to Canada. Some good prices can be found, but you have to hunt through scads of discontinued and out-of-stock items to find them. Lots of fasteners, gearing, timing belts/pulleys, linear motion and bearings.
Seems to have a good selection of small mechanical parts, e.g. gears, fasteners, end-mills etc. Have not ordered from them, but worth looking into.

Cheap collars, plastic racks, gearing etc.. Have not ordered from them yet. Worth looking into more.

Online store for many types of bearings, including some reasonably priced linear-motion bearings and shaft supports. Also stock V-groove bearings, which I'd like to try out.  Haven't ordered from them yet, don't know if they handle Canada particularly well.

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