Dear Chris: I need some small hardware for my project. What’s a reliable source?

Thanks again, Bruce in Pennsylvania

 

Dear Bruce in Pennsylvania:

Every Phase Dock WorkBench comes with a good selection of hardware you need to assemble the Click/Slides, plus some other items for cable management and build a two-board tower.  The purpose of every item is described in the WorkBench User Guide.

You can also get a package of Direct Mount Hardware from us. It will have enough standoffs and screws (20 each) to direct-mount about five boards or other electronics.

But I think you are looking for other or additional items.  My “go to” sources are my local Ace Hardware and BoltDepot.com.

When I’m prototyping something, or building one-of-a-kind items, such as manufacturing fixtures, I go straight to Ace.  I don’t know if all Ace stores are the same, but mine has an amazing selection of hardware. And the arrangement makes everything easy to find.  I have a lot better luck at Ace than I typically do at the big box home stores.

I’m also a big fan of BoltDepot.com.  You can buy small quantities from them, or thousands at a time.  They ship very quickly. The product quality is consistently high.  That’s a big deal as far as I’m concerned.  I don’t know if you have encountered poor quality hardware before, but it can pretty much ruin your day (and maybe your project!) by breaking or refusing to thread.  I put too much work into these things to be stumped by a cheesy five-cent component!

The thing to watch out for with Bolt Depot is shipping.  Their charges are fair, but you want to be sure you order everything at once to make it count.

Plastic components are a separate challenge entirely.  I look to Amazon, Digi-Key Electronics, and a couple of less familiar companies.

I get hex stand-offs mostly from Amazon.  I favor nylon because…well…electricity.  I’m also looking for quantity of a certain dimension, rather than a kit with a selection of different sizes.

I get cable tie mounts from Digi-Key.  Hex spacers from FastenerComponents.com.

If you want to attach something directly to the WorkBench base, I recommend that you use the secondary matrix (the small holes).  The holes are about 0.175″, and they are designed to accept an M4 or an Imperial #8 screw.

I like to use a machine screw and a knurled thumb nut so I can attach and detach the item quickly and tool-free.  That’s kind of the point of WorkBench — easy, quick and tool free. Don’t want to mess that up, right?

I favor brass for both.  I’m currently getting the machine screws from Bolt Depot, but the knurled thumb nuts come from AlbanyCountyFasteners.com.  Again, Phase Dock deals in volume.  When you factor shipping into the cost, you might find it better to get both the screws and nuts from the one source.

And finally, here is a LINK to a table on this website that provides the sources, product numbers, and purpose of the components we include in most WorkBench PDK.

Hope that helps! Let me know how it’s going.  C