Has anyone run across a decently priced kits for nut and bolt assortments? I’m thinking like M2-M8 (plus or minus a few sizes) and equivalent ranges for stuff. I can find some small ranges of stuff on amazon or aliexpress, but not really sure if there are other more reliable options qualitywise without dropping many hundreds of dollars.
My strategy has been just to overbuy them when needed from a local (online) source. Say I need some M3 machine screws, I buy packs of all kinds of lengths plus nuts, washers, and lock washers. These aren’t crazy expensive and usually are sold by the hundreds. After a few such purchases, you’ve got a decent kit (stored in a plastic parts bin drawer unit). Someday I’ll get around to better labeling, but for now I just make handwritten labels on cut-up pieces of index cards, and sometimes mass-label a bunch of drawers by printing out a sheet of labels from a word processor. For really small stuff, that I use much less often, like M2 and M2.5, I have bought a few small kits (those are so small that a whole kit fits in one parts drawer).
Now I’m only interested in sizes normally used in small electronics and other hobbyist projects, so the span of sizes I need is manageable. I’ll get a handful of lengths according to what’s available in a particular type — say 4,5,6,8,10,12,15 mm lengths. I also don’t go crazy about head styles or materials, pretty much using only stainless steel and pan-head / Philips or socket head cap screw / hex drive, with a few flat heads or button head cap screws as randomly needed.
I’ve also discovered quite by accident a well-stocked bolt store, even way out in the boondocks of South Korea where I live. It’s part of a nationwide chain, kind of a “Bolts R Us” place, which is great for those emergencies when you need a certain bolt right now.
My system isn’t perfect, and if I were more focused on things mechanical, I’d need to do a better job. But for my small electronics lab needs, it suffices well. I suppose if one was in a real hurry and needed a complete inventory tomorrow, maybe there are places that sell such super-kits? Even then, I would probably just expand what I’ve been doing to a larger scale and build by own kit. YMMV.
I haven’t found any reasonably priced assortments of fasteners that I can trust. I’ve been burned by some too-cheap-to-be-true assortments from Aliexpress suppliers. Nothing stings more than realizing every fifth screw has mangled or cheesy threads when you’re trying to slap something together. I’ll second @TheStumbler when it comes to intentionally overbuying fasteners for personal projects. I’ve done a few 3D printer scratch builds and intentionally overbought. Given the terrible optimization of those BoMs I’ve ended up with quite the stock over the years…
Same as everyone else, the cheap assortment kits feel like the fasteners are made of cheese. I have resorted to using storage boxes like these from HF.
And then overbuying from McMaster to fill them out. I then use a label maker to put the fastener description and the McMaster part number on the bin. I don’t put the label on the outside lid but on the bin itself. That way I can take the bin out and take it with me across the shop.
Doesn’t help if I don’t have the fastener on hand but after ~10 years of projects I have mostly what I need at this point.
Love those organizers. I have many of them just full of RFattenuators, filters, adapters. Don’t use them for fasteners though, got a bunch of crappy hobby organizers instead because I have too many diverse small fasteners. Locking lids are king, though. Dropped organizers full of fasteners by lazily grabbing them by the lids more than I’d like to admit…
I want starter stock so I don’t have to order or make a run outside. It all stemmed from frustration of going to the hardware store and getting the wrong size from the right bin.
For big imperial course thread stuff stuff, the hardware store or Tractor Supply about 3 minutes away has a nice assortment of by the pound fasteners, but their little drawers of m4, m5, m6 kind of stuff is ends up being like 50 cents a piece so just indiscriminately stocking up doesn’t make as much sense.
I think I might use this confusion to try to make a case to my employer that they should fill out a more robust stocking set of hardware. Employee discounts and potential upsides for others is probably enough incentive to do that.
Ironically, Mcmaster is actually very competitive on hardware kits. Nothing cheap, but looking at Fastenal, Granger, or even DigiKey they are mostly cheaper in the low hundreds range.
Oh, now that I think about it, I should see what Misumi’s options look like…
one of us. one of US!
Fastenal - Yeah I remember looking at there kits and being sticker shocked. They do offer a “refill” service though which can be good for large settings.
I just realized that if I were back in the US, this problem would be double the size. Here I can restrict my collection to only metric with no problems. But in the US, I’d probably want to keep both on hand.
I bought https://www.fastenal.com/product/details/99000 back in 2018 (when it was $928 instead of $$784 now). I have zero regrets. Yes, it’s a lot of cash but it has paid for itself so many times over by just walking out to the garage and grabbing the bolt or nut I need. I’d have no qualms about buying the metric version https://www.fastenal.com/product/details/99007.