San Francisco Surplus Stores
November 14, 2007 10:28 AM   Subscribe

What are the great surplus stores around San Francisco

My wife and I are planning on honeymooning in the San Francisco-area (probably the city itself) in early January. Mythbusters has convinced me that the city is filled with stores equal to American Science and Surplus. While my wife isn't looking, which ones should I check out, with an emphasis placed on cool electronics, or the bizarre?
posted by drezdn to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
If you're up for a 45 minute drive from the city, Triangle Machinery is great - check out the photos on their site.
posted by pombe at 11:07 AM on November 14, 2007

List of Surplus Stores in California.
posted by mlis at 11:17 AM on November 14, 2007

Seconding Weird Stuff.

Also, check out HSC Electronics in Santa Clara.
posted by phoebus at 12:02 PM on November 14, 2007

Not a surplus nor electronic shop but reasonable (e.g. cheaper than online, more expensive than buying in bulk) prices for chemical and biological supply as well as the local go-to place for preserved sheeps' hearts: San Jose Scientific.
posted by jamaro at 12:42 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

There are two primary kinds of "surplus" out here. There's large industrial surplus, including storage tanks, pipes, machine tools, scrap, etc. that's often shown on Mythbusters.

And then there's electronics surplus, which includes electronic components, old oscilloscopes, computers, and castoffs from last year's failed startup.

There is some crossover. Halted (a.k.a. HSC Electronics), in addition to stocking the Valley's best selection of surplus electronics, also has a good selection of small- to medium-sized motors as well as some pneumatic equipment. But you wouldn't go there for a large pipe with the diameter of a frozen chicken.

Same with Weird Stuff Warehouse. They specialize mostly in computers (want a Sparc 5?) but also have a large as-is area with old electronics and components.

Most of the other surplus electronics places in the area have closed. The one other one I can think of is Excess Solutions in Milpitas. Also make sure to visit a Fry's Electronics if you haven't been.

A while ago the show did a program where they visited their favorite vendors. This link has a summary:

Machinery and Equipment Co. (listed above) is in Brisbane, which is just south of SF. They will have a lot of large industrial things.

I'd also recommend Alan Steel & Supply Co. in Redwood City.
posted by lalas at 12:55 PM on November 14, 2007

Well, you missed the all time great.

Jim Heagy was kicked out of his many tens of thousands of square feet warehouse at Hunter's Point - full of everything from hundreds of geiger counters to warhead nosecones to giant tesla coils and a thousand chinese typewriters (not to mention his main stock in trade - he bought all the surplus metal and wood type and presses from Bay Area newspapers and publishers when they converted from letterpress to phototype). The Navy kicked all the artists and him out a year ago, unfortunately. I loved that place.

Check out Urban Ore in Berkeley as recommended above. I always find neat things there.
posted by luriete at 2:02 PM on November 14, 2007

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