Sunday, March 26, 2017

I Bought It on eBay

You may recall Weird Al's song of this title a few years back.  As much as it sometimes seems to be an online garage sale, there are some surprises.  ScopeRoller has historically used Jergens Quick-Release locking pins for the Toe Saver product.  These are a clever product; unless you press the button on the handle you need 9200 pounds of force to slide that pin through a 1/4" hole.  Of late these locking pins have climbed above $30 new.

On eBay I have found them for as little as $4.80, and comparably priced copies by Gibraltar.  These are new, and seem to be coming from companies that sell off remnants from larger firms.  There's no long-term supply at these prices, but these make the toe saver profitable again.  I don't sell more than 20 a year, so no problem.

1 comment:

James Gibson said...

Interesting. When I worked Boeing M&PE we had regular supplies of ball-lok pins. Some were per the Mil-spec, some to the NAS spec (which wasn't as tough). Our suppliers were usually the actual makers; your most likely getting them from a company who buys them wholesale and then resells in smaller quantities. Put simply, the people I used to work with made these in the 100,000s and many times would only make the next lot when they sensed enough demand. And as you noted, the resellers would many times take left overs from another companies shipment, repackage them, and put them out at clearance prices. And that is because, thanks to just-In-Time manufacturing, companies are taxed for their end of year inventory. The company clearing its parts bins then gets to work the following year on what ever it will now be making, filling its parts bins with something else.

Thus, the big maker will either make a large volume soon to handle demand over the next few years, or they will decide to stop making that particular style of ball-lok pin (which happens). So you might have to consider using a different handle style (same length and diameter of course).