MAKE:TNT Tools 'n' Tips

Government Liquidation

Looking for "Space Survival Equipment" or "Nuclear Reactors"? Government Liquidation is the place to go. Just be prepared for a bit of paperwork if you bid on anything from the "Combat Ships & Landing Vessels" category.

The selection is wide. Lathes, presses, steam turbines, saws, tractors, cranes, tents, clothing, boats, jeeps, bulk computers, solenoids, amplifiers, sirens, motors, teletypes, cameras, oscilloscopes, gauges… in short, everything a geek could dream of.

Beware of misleading picture sizes. I purchased a Hughes FACT PC (a giant DEC PDP-11 system used for testing aircraft circuitry) once that included a box of cables. The box turned out to be 6 foot square and 4 feet high. Some items are labeled "bring your own crane." Also, the government doesn't ship, so make certain the item you're bidding on isn't in Guam. Most of the equipment is stored at military bases. Be sure you bring ID and be prepared to have your vehicle searched.

It can be a hassle to deal with, but Government Liquidation is an incredible source. It's the sort of site that makes you wonder, "What would I do with 300 snowshoes, a Gould Instruments Thermal Array Recorder, and a 1970 AM General Cargo Truck?"