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Hardware Science

Scrounging for Fun and Profit 145

Guinnessy writes: "According to Toni Feder on Physics Today, scrounging used equipment is worthwhile if you can avoid the pitfalls of wasting time and compromising scientific goals. Feder interviews experimenters who have dug up everything from dewars to nuclear reactors."
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Scrounging for Fun and Profit

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  • Re:look smart (Score:2, Informative)

    by nmos ( 25822 ) on Saturday August 04, 2001 @02:22AM (#2156016)
    A few other places worth looking:

    Local universities. Ours sells everything from office furnature to autoclaves(sp) and there's plenty of power cubes and misc cables for free or cheap.

    Self storage companies: Many of the local ones have auctions on a regular basis to sell off the stuff from the storage lockers that wern't paid up. With both a jail and University near by there's lots of interesting unclaimed stuff:)

    The local thrift store is pretty worthless though since wife of another local geek works there and grabs all the good stuff right away.

  • by Prof_Dagoski ( 142697 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @02:31PM (#2159129) Homepage

    Little tip to junk lovers everywhere: Every physics department has a room or two that they don't use for anything. What happens is that equipment that no one needs gets stashed there and forgotten. I've dug up everything from high precision mirrors to fiber optic by the yard, and bits of machined metal I couldn't identify but thought looked cool. It helps if your department hasn't redecorated and refurbished its digs in a long, long time.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 03, 2001 @02:33PM (#2159159)
    Found on Yahoo! under "Recreation->Hobbies" Dumpster Diving []
    guarenteed goatse free : iving/

  • by lavaforge ( 245529 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @03:40PM (#2159558)
    Be careful what you scrounge, it can be dangerous sometimes.

    When I was in high school me and a buddy of mine helped the chemistry department head "inventory" the stock during a big move. We got everything under the sun. Unfortunately, we found out that some of the containers were mislabelled, and nearly blew our heads off opening a can of ether.

    Just a warning that scrounging isn't risk-free.

  • by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @06:00PM (#2160247) Homepage
    Oh yeah, one more - but they mostly are through a website and catalog ads (in Nuts and Volts, mostly), but they are based in Scottsdale:

    Electronic Goldmine []
  • Re:Trashing? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Chris Y Taylor ( 455585 ) on Friday August 03, 2001 @06:17PM (#2160312) Homepage
    Dumpster diving (or whatever you call it) is a subset of scrounging. Scrounging covers a wide range of activities for aquiring items from non-standard sources including getting it from the trash, cannibalizing old equipment, calling in favors from old friends, "horse trading", etc. Great scroungers seem to be able to get unique or rare items from nowhere; like locating a Chevy small-block engine in the middle of the Siberian tundra. For a great example of scrounging, check out James Garner's character in The Great Escape.

    "Don't ask." -The best response when asked how you scrounged a particularly difficult to find part.

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray