Storage for small objects
September 6, 2006 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Where to get plastic tubing for storage?

I'm looking for plastic tubing and caps for storage of small items (small screws, nails, hooks, etc.). Size would vary between 3/8 to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, and 1-3 inches long. I thought maybe hardware stores and craft stores, but no luck. Googling has turned up nothing (I'd do a category search, but not even sure how to categorize this). This place has exactly what I want (including all kinds of caps), but you have to buy large quantities (i.e. several feet per size). I'm counting on you, since you helped me out before - in fact, this place has something close but in glass. Thanks!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan to Shopping (18 answers total)
My favorite place for "stuff", American Science and surplus has glass and plastic bottles and jars that look like they could fit the bill. Most of the stuff they have is cheap and available in small quantities. If nothing else, their website and paper catalog are fun to peruse.
posted by SteveInMaine at 10:48 AM on September 6, 2006

I heartily second American Science and Surplus. They must have those plastic tubing with lids things. They have nearly everything. If you are ever in Chicago or Milwaukee the actually store is definitely worth a visit. It is hard to imagine that they really list everything they have in the catalog or website. I have found the employees very helpful, so you might just call and see what they can do. And to top it all off, the are very cheap.
posted by sulaine at 10:57 AM on September 6, 2006

I needed someting like that a while back, and after searching fruitlessly, I found a reasonable substitute at Home Depot--a polycarbonate tube for protecting fluorescent lights. I can't find it on their site now, but it's something they normally stock, I think.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:07 AM on September 6, 2006

Try US Plastics
posted by exogenous at 11:08 AM on September 6, 2006

I've seen these hanging in a few old barns - take a small, sturdy length of wood that has faces wide enough to accomodate small canning or baby food jar lids. Nail four or so lids to each face from the inside, fill your jars, screw them back onto the lids and hang the object by the ends so it can spin freely. Off the counter, visible, cheap.
posted by prostyle at 12:09 PM on September 6, 2006

Try looking for a drafting supply store or a builder's bookstore type place.
posted by gally99 at 12:12 PM on September 6, 2006

I checked out American Science & Surplus. Close but no cigar. And American Plastics is also good, but orders are a minimum of a case (20-40 units per). And I saw those tubes at Home Depot, but they only had one size - 2"x4". Too big. I need tiny!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 12:24 PM on September 6, 2006

Maybe you should buy the large quantity that Visipak has and then try to sell the remainder off to other people who have the same hobby or use for them as you.

Alternatively, did you actually call Visipak and ask if you could order less? Might they have remnants or excess they'd be willing to sell cheaply?
posted by sulaine at 12:32 PM on September 6, 2006

sulaine - No, I haven't contacted them. I thought of asking them for samples, and hope they send me what I need. But that feels... wrong. But I think you're right - it couldn't hurt to ask!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 12:39 PM on September 6, 2006

Go to a camera store that has in house film developing and ask for a pile of used 35mm film cans. Fuji makes clear ones.
posted by Gungho at 12:39 PM on September 6, 2006

McMaster Carr
posted by Raybun at 12:40 PM on September 6, 2006

Gungho - I have a bunch. But I need some flexibility - longer, thinner.

Raybun - ???

I think sulaine wins.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 1:18 PM on September 6, 2006

posted by prostyle at 1:30 PM on September 6, 2006

In an attempt to elucidate Raybun's answer: McMaster-Carr. They have nearly everything, and what they don't have can be gathered from more specialist providers like Small Parts

Seriously, check out McMaster-Carr.
posted by aramaic at 1:32 PM on September 6, 2006

What about empy prescription bottles. They come in all sizes. Am I missing the size?
posted by JohnnyGunn at 1:37 PM on September 6, 2006

I was about to Google McMaster Carr, but thanks! There's some looking I have to do...
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 1:43 PM on September 6, 2006

I saw those small tubes with caps for sale in Home Depot or Lowes in the aisle where they sell nuts and bolts. Of course, their websites are less than forthcoming with said items.
posted by coevals at 2:34 PM on September 6, 2006

Shop Storage Tubes and Watmaker's Cases at Lee Valley Tools.
posted by Chuckles at 6:42 PM on September 6, 2006

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