Re-purposing things from's less-traveled corners
September 10, 2013 11:39 AM   Subscribe

I just bought some stuff from and needed a little bit more to get free shipping. I ended up buying some glass rods from Amazon's "industrial and scientific" store that I will use for stirring cocktails. Can you recommend other cool doodads from Amazon's dark corners that might be useful around the house? Bonus points for less-expensive items to round out your shopping cart, not $1000 pieces of lab equipment.

Put another way, I'm looking for interesting lab/scientific/industrial (or whatever) items that I would not otherwise encounter and that can be repurposed for home use AND are available on Amazon (preferably with free shipping).

So, glass rods from the labware page-->cocktail stirrers. In the past, I had a set of welding gauntlets that I used instead of oven mitts.

MeFites in labs, machine shops, marinas, garages, etc.--what other items from your respective areas of expertise have come in handy at home that I, as an office drone, wouldn't know about, and are they available at
posted by Admiral Haddock to Shopping (16 answers total) 117 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Another example is the propane torch I use in the kitchen, straight from the plumbing aisle of the Home Depot. But that's maybe a little more commonplace than I'm hoping for--you see those torches frequently on cooking shows. I'm hoping more for products used in industry/labs or whatever that 1) I didn't know existed/would never have occurred to a layperson to own and 2) either present a perfect solution to a household problem or do it particularly cheaply (like the glass rods, which were a steal).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:46 AM on September 10, 2013

Don't know if this is your style, but I was at a party the other day with an absolutely gorgeous array of colorful shots served in clear test tubes all set up in a test tube rack (basically like this, in rainbow colored rows.) So pretty!
posted by fingersandtoes at 11:51 AM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

Someone I know bought some metal blocks from Amazon (I think steel?) and uses them as paper-weights and book-ends.
posted by dfriedman at 11:58 AM on September 10, 2013

There are also digital scales available, which are probably more accurate than whatever you can buy @ BEd Bath & Beyond. Potentially useful for food prep.
posted by dfriedman at 12:03 PM on September 10, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you want to get a huge list of things that are above a certain price point, Shipping Filler displays images of the products along with the description and price, AND you can select filters for categories, but I think the classifications are a bit off. For example, I limited my search to "Industrial" and got back "beverage nakpkins" along with O Rings and patch cables.

If you just want a huge list of product descriptions without a filter, Filler Item does that.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:06 PM on September 10, 2013 [15 favorites]

I don't know if graduated beakers are better than measuring cups (especially if you aren't good with metric/oz conversions), but they sure are cool. I have a 4oz beaker that I keep with bartending stuff, but I suspect it was actually a novelty item not lab gear, because it's ounce measures.
posted by aimedwander at 12:09 PM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Serious Eats recommends these commercial deli takeout containers to use instead of tupperware-type food-storage containers at home, because they're sturdy, cheap, and easily stackable. I'm planning on buying some, though I haven't yet, so I can't personally vouch for their quality.
posted by lunasol at 12:16 PM on September 10, 2013 [7 favorites]

Similar to aimedwander's suggestion, I love using 50ml beakers as shot glasses. (45ml = 1.5 ounce = 1 standard shot).
posted by vegetableagony at 12:25 PM on September 10, 2013

I bought a ton of mini neodymium magnets to get to the free shipping threshold a few weeks ago. I've found so many more uses for them than I ever imagined possible.
posted by JannaK at 1:47 PM on September 10, 2013 [4 favorites]

I have, uh, a friend who likes this veterinary product for its extracurricular uses.
posted by a halcyon day at 1:51 PM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Similar to lunasol's reccomendation: Squared containers. Some friends at work joined a food subscription service and save these containers for me. Very sturdy and good meal-sized containers.
posted by tilde at 1:58 PM on September 10, 2013 [3 favorites]

Slick Fillers is another tool along the lines of Shipping Filler and Filler Item.
posted by box at 2:29 PM on September 10, 2013 [2 favorites]

Disposable pipettes -- endless kitchen/refill-this-weird-container/empty-this-weird-container uses.

I use a lidded Wheaton staining dish for butter -- it is not great in the "cheap" category, but it does have a nice heft to it.

The miniature beakers are also good for bobby pin, tweezer, cotton swab etc storage.
posted by kmennie at 5:46 PM on September 10, 2013

If you live in a cold clime, you have to get this Fantastic Ice Scraper for your car's windshield.
posted by storybored at 1:14 PM on September 16, 2013

Those eye droppers kmennie linked are also useful for making cocktails.
posted by maryr at 10:02 PM on September 16, 2013

I use a infrared thermometer for precise kitchen tasks like making candy or tempering chocolate.
posted by saeculorum at 12:26 PM on January 14, 2014

« Older Teach me how haggling works   |   Looking for a 5-7 day meditation retreat close to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.