Tindie Opens A Flea Market For Tools, Components, And Other Gear

We like to pop into electronics flea markets and swap meets at every chance we get. Last month [Brian] made it to the ham swap meet at Northrup Grumman held in Redondo Beach. I had a great time a couple of years back at the Electronics Flea Market held at De Anza College. Physical proximity to one of these nearly-mythical events is, unfortunately, required. If only the Internet offered a solution to this problem…

The fact that you’re reading Hackaday puts you into one of three categories: you wish you had a lot more tools, you’re on the way to a well-stocked workshop, or you’re trying to pass on your shop surplus to someone who will love it like you do. There’s now a perfect solution for the buy-upgrade-horde cycle we all inevitably fall into: the Tindie Flea Market. If you use something to make hardware, this is going to be the place to buy or sell it.

tindie-flea-market-thumbHas that starter scope been collecting dust since you picked up not one, but two better models? We know you can’t part with it unless you know it’s not going to be thrown out, and this is the chance to find not just a good home, but an owner that will use and cherish it. This goes for all kinds of great tools. After all, how do you find someone to take that pick and place off of your hands?

At launch, the Tindie Flea Market categories will include Adapters and Cables, Audio and Video, Batteries and Power, Bulk Components, Equipment, Fasteners, RC, and Small Tools. Maybe I’ll finally be able to find a home for that tube of power transistors I ordered years ago in the wrong package — and maybe even that long tape of EEPROM that I ordered in 1.8v instead of 3.3v. Time to start my listings and keep good stuff out of the landfill. Yet another great reason we were so happy to welcome Tindie to the Hackaday family.

20 thoughts on “Tindie Opens A Flea Market For Tools, Components, And Other Gear

  1. This could be interesting if the cost is low. I have a lot of quite modern surplus components like Bluetooth modules and older model RPIs I no longer plan to use. It would be great to find a good home for this sort of stuff.

    1. Agreed, I have the nasty habit of buying a little too much from Chinese wholesale sites. This would be a great way to offload the pile of breakout boards, surplus uC’s, etc that I’ve got lying about. I kinda doubt we’ll see many tools though.

  2. Sadly virtual is not the place for the good stuff. you have to travel to places like the Dayton Hamvention with a truck to get the good stuff at scrap prices and not have to pay the retail price in shipping to get it to you.

    Lots of goodies on ebay, that end up costing as much as a new device after shipping. That nice 200mhz tektronix scope for $10.00 and $350 in freight shipping for example.

  3. I have been attending the BirmingHAMfest (Alabama) every year since before I can remember – over 30 years – and still do, along with a couple of other Alabama Fests – Huntsville and Montgomery. I have watched the decline in attendance and the over inflated prices all due to eBay. Same goes for yard sales and flea markets. Our local weekly flea market is a ghost town now, with only a handful of vendors each weekend still hanging on. I constantly see signs saying “goes for $xxx on eBay” next to items at local sales. As much as I enjoy computers and electronics, the internet has destroyed “society” where people once gathered physically for community activities, only to be replaced by “social media” where the world is brought “closer together” instead. I guess an internet alternative is a lesser-of-two-evils scenario – online sales versus no sales – but what with eBay and Amazon’s hold on the online marketplace…. this is sadly probably more of a passing novelty.

    1. Ebay is a double edged sword, and has not done a whole lot of good for the surplus market in my opinion. While it has expanded the availability of some things, it has unfortunately resulted in a weird hoarding Im-gonna-sell-it-on-ebay-and-make-millions kind of mentality that has hurt the surplus market more than it has helped.

      I used to be able to go to my local thrift store or university or state surplus sale and find cool, useful stuff for a fair price. Now, people are waiting with bated breath at the door to the back room at the thrift store with overflowing carts, hoarding anything of value so they can sell it… It almost comes to blows at the University surplus if you tell the guy who just bought every single piece of a particular type of equipment to sell on ebay, and you only wanted one to experiment with, that he might be inconsiderate or rude.

      Frankly, you are lucky if anything useful really ever shows up, because they have ‘exclusive’ deals with some ‘-e-waste-‘ outfit, that does non other than re-sell most of the stuff on ebay anyway, and the public never even gets a chance to see the stuff or purchase it!

      I see this becoming EBAY like, or fizzling away pretty quickly… Half the stuff you will see on there wont be others surplus, but actual product, being hocked by an opportunist trying to make a buck.

      1. Tindie requires you to use paypal to get paid. Nice site and concept, but no thanks.

        ebay cracks me up with the degree that it’s been taken over with clueless estate-sale flippers who think everything in their possession is VINTAGE RARE!!!, with listing after listing of such items languishing at outrageous BIN prices. The estate sales themselves have turned into ordeals requiring you to line up hours in advance, then rush about frantically grabbing things. I no longer bother.

        My state (NC) has a surplus warehouse open M-F, which is mostly blind-bid, huge palettized lots of broken-looking lab gear, though occasionally good items make it to the otherwise meager cash-and-carry shelves. I think honestly they don’t realize that individuals might actually want a broken gas chromatograph or Tek curve tracer, because on things which are more consumer-item-like, eg. LCD projectors, those DO make it to cash-and-carry.

        Nearby, NCSU surplus does a bi-weekly sale of university items, but it’s only one day and for a short time window, so it’s huge line before opening and then a mad bum-rush to grab things like Apple G5 towers and P4 Windows computers. Where is there even a market for these?? They start out with high prices, and knock it down each week it doesn’t sell. So it’s sometimes possible to go home with something really full of nice parts for just $1.

        There are still good deals to be had at hamfests, if you’re willing to wait until the individual sellers are tired of sitting there. Often times, it’s a case of “don’t make me drag this stuff back home, please make an offer”.

        I personally like just giving things away for free, if I know the recipient can actually use it. It’d be nice if the hamfests could offer cheap (or free) tables if you’re willing to make it all free.

        1. lol… When we used to set up at the HamFests to sell, we did just that… every Sunday whatever didn’t sell that weekend was put out with a “Free To Good Home” sign. Even at that, we would always bring back home more things than we went with… ahhh, the good ol’ days :)

    2. EBay isn’t really to blame. It’s your own government allowing the trade of goods from vendors in China, selling rip-off clones of real products. They sell them cheap, fast, and use flashy pictures. Less suspecting consumers see these products as convincingly real, and when the Chinese garbage shows up in the mail, the quality hurts the reputation of the real products. Most people walk away assuming that once you have bought one, you have bought them all. They tell all their friends and family (like everyone absolutely had to hear about it) how shitty “the Internet tablets” are and to stay away from “the ebay.”

      Listen, if you want to keep buying stuff locally, go right ahead. I do. I support my local sprintshack on occasion, even knowing how bloated their prices are. Thry aren’t selling cheap Chinese junk though. Most of it is higher priced junk. Do you see where I’m going with this? You don’t really know what you are buying; it usually ends up coming from overseas anyways. It just comes from the warehouse next door that actually has running water.

  4. I remember when eBay started the same way. People using it as a way to get bids on their old stuff. then it became a marketplace for dropshippers to sell stuff and make money of the S&H.

    What’s to keep this new system from being flooded with cheap Chinese stuff directly from “manufacturers” where everything has to be shipped from the Mainland over a month, and may be “counterfeit”?

  5. As others have said – It looks like something with promise. It’s really hard to determine sometimes where the order is coming from on places like e-bay, and waiting a month or more for an order which may be just crap anyways, is a pain. So, I’m all for anything that might help that. I miss the old ham fest days – I haven’t seen one in may years.

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