If you enjoy lateral thinking solutions to car
modification, you're sure to be interested in browsing catalogs of mechanical
and electrical parts. Parts found in catalogs designed for other industries will
often trigger thoughts along the lines of "Hmmm, I'm sure I can use that as part
of a boost control.... or that as an intake duct.... or that as an intercooler
cooling fan... or that to move my front spoiler...".
Here's a selection of catalogs that I've found
over the years to contain lots of good bits. The pictured catalogs aren't always
the latest, but by using the details provided you should be able to get the
current catalog without too many problems. Where I have written that the catalog
is available "free to companies" it makes sense to request it on behalf of the
company where you work, or some similar subterfuge....
I haven't included CD-ROM catalogs because when
you just want to browse (as opposed to go straight to a specific part) they tend
to be pretty painful to work with.
Hare and Forbes Machinery House
Hare and Forbes have outlets in Sydney, Brisbane.
Melbourne and Perth. The company is probably Australia’s largest seller of
metalworking and woodworking machinery, and much of it is priced at a level
that’s suitable for the serious car modifier.
If you are after a lathe, mill, bandsaw, measuring
tools, sheet metal folder, sheet metal roller, tube bender or the like, this is
the catalog to consult. Importantly, the company also sells the tooling and
accessories to suit lathes and mills - indexing heads, tool holders, tool bits
and so on.
Prices are included in the catalog. The current
metalworking catalog is in full colour, is 123 pages long and is free. A similar
sized woodworking catalog is also available.
A 452 page, full colour catalog, the Jaycar
Electronics publication contains a wide range of electronics components, kits
With many stores around Australia, and outlets in
New Zealand, the US and the UK, they're also conveniently at hand - and if you
don't live near to a Jaycar store or authorised dealer, you can order on-line.
Stuff of interest to car nuts includes a very wide
range of automotive electronic kits (eg digital tacho, mixture meter, rev
limiter, fuel adjuster, boost control); electronic pre-built modules (light
flashers, battery chargers); multimeters; hand tools, a very wide range of
speakers; central locking kits; alarms; and LCD remote thermometers.
It's a catalog definitely worth having, especially
since prices are generally very good.
local store or 1800 022 888
The RS Component’s catalog is the ‘bible’ when it
comes to finding electronic and mechanical bits and pieces. The catalog I have
(April 2007 – March 2008) has well over 2000 pages. The company has probably the
best local range of electronic components, and a huge number of fasteners,
pneumatics and hydraulics, bearings, adhesives, tools and materials.
However, prices are way high – you can be
absolutely sure that if you go to another vender, you can always find a lower
price for the same part! To be fair, one reason that RS prices are so high is
that the company generally has the item in stock – at worst, they can get it
I tend to use the catalog as a source book,
perhaps buying a single part from RS and then if I need more, getting them from
Prices are listed in the catalog.
cost: free to companies
1300 656 636
Minitech is a Brisbane-based modelling and
engineering supply company. Their catalog is a B&W design of about 70 pages.
The company has an excellent range of machinery
and tooling in smaller sizes. Drill bits (and countersinks and counterbores and
broaches!), lathe tools, milling cutters, taps and dies, and hand tools –
they’re all there. Also available are specialist materials like silver steels
for turning, and square and hexagonal section brass.
Pricing is not listed in the catalog but is shown
on the website.
cost: $5 including postage
07 3889 7689
Narva Automotive Lighting and
Of the catalogs listed here, this one’s the only
automotive example! As its name suggests, it covers automotive lighting and
electrical components. At nearly 400 pages and in full colour, the catalog has
an enormous range of well depicted and specified parts.
Driving lights, foglights, flashing lights, fuses
(including hard to find fusible links and circuit breakers), switches (including
high current ones), flashers, relays and horns – they’re all there. There’s also
a wide range of LED lights suitable for custom applications. Charts show the
most common applications of globes and other replacement components.
Unfortunately, product pricing is not listed.
frequency: 3 yearly
cost: free to companies
1800 113 443
This one’s a very unusual catalog – it contains
numerous items designed for small industrial transmission of power.
You’ll find gears (spur, bevel, worm), rack and
pinion assemblies, bearings and bushings, rose joints, small gearboxes and
right-angle drives, linear actuators and shaft couplers. In addition, the
company also sells handles and knobs, and linear slide systems.
Note that these items are not ‘car sized’ - you
won’t find gearbox capable of taking car engine torque! Instead, this is the
catalog to consult if you want to build a moving spoiler, a variable airflow
testing bench, or an ultra lightweight vehicle.
The catalog includes full dimension drawings, is
B&W and runs to over 300 pages.
07 4129 2533
And if you know of any other catalogs that
contain weird and wonderful stuff of relevance to car modifiers, let me know and
we'll include them in another article.