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How I Ship Packages of 50 Working Hard Drives

| Scrap Shipping and Logistics
  1. #1
    ryanw started this thread.
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    How I Ship Packages of 50 Working Hard Drives

    I thought I would write this to maybe help people that are sending in hard drives for testing. I get A LOT of drives that were damaged in shipping. Just packing everything into a flat rate will usually get you a bunch of broken drives. I ship out a lot of hard drives in large lots, and this is what I do. I have had very few damaged drives reported.

    The problem with hard drives is that more than a few get very heavy. The weight adds up fast, and is very expensive to ship. So, you need to make sure these drives all arrive safely to get top dollar. An even bigger problem is that a lot of hard drives are very dense. These heavy, small boxes create a lot of force when even dropped or tossed a few feet. The hard drives are shocked/shaken and damaged.

    I wanted to ship drives in a way that isn't terribly expensive, increases the size of the box so it will be handled more carefully, and also thoroughly protect the drives.

    Supplies needed for 50 drives (Everything costs me $10 to $15):
    100 feet of bubble wrap
    1 Heavy Duty Small Box from Home Depot
    1 Heavy Duty Medium Box from Home Depot
    Filler/Padding Such as foam or packing peanuts.
    Packing Tape

    1. Tape the bottom of each box. You should tape in an H pattern; not only going down the middle, but also each edge. Also reinforce the seam on the side of the box with tape. This seam will be the weak point most of the time.
    2. Individually wrap each hard drive with 2 sheets of small bubble wrap.
    3. 50 drives fit snugly into the small box. If there is any space left, fill it in with what you have for filler. Tape the top of the box the same as you did the bottom.
    4. Put a layer of padding in the bottom of the medium box.
    5. Place the small box inside of the medium box. Make sure there is space on each side and also on the top.
    6. Fill in the spaces making sure to compact the padding. This needs to be packed tight to ensure the integrity of the box during shippping.
    7. Double check that the seam on the side of the medium box is well reinforced. Don't skimp on using tape.
    8. All set and ready to ship. This package will be under the 70lb Fedex limit almost all of the time.

    I hope everyone found this useful. If anyone wants to know how I put together pallets of scrap circuit boards, I can do that some time as well. I'll have to wait until I get one together for pictures.
    Last edited by ryanw; 12-02-2016 at 09:53 PM.

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  3. #2
    TheDude80's Avatar
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    Great advice, I ship a lot with eBay and have never had a problem with something arriving broken, or damaged (Mostly computer/electronic components, vintage tech, etc). Packaging is key, obviously, and I make sure to use plenty of bubble wrap and packing peanuts when needed. It saves on the headache of returns, most of the time, and adds to your bottom line in the long run.

  4. #3
    mikeinreco's Avatar
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    I agree bubble wrap and tape (especially tape) is one of my biggest expenses when buying shipping supplies

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    It's not really cost effective for me to ship the 3.5" desktop drives. Most of the towers that i take in don't have a hard drive installed. The ones that i do see are generally 80 - 320 gb. Figure the time to wipe & test them along with shipping and there isn't much return (if any ) after expenses.

    I've had better luck with the 2.5" laptop drives. They don't weigh much so the cost to ship per unit is pretty reasonable. There's more demand for them in the used market so they pay better per unit as well.

    The local transfer station is a pretty good source for packing material. Some of the cardboard boxes you find on the burn pile are filled with packing materials like popcorn, bubble wrap, and air pillows. There's plenty enough available for re-use that i don't need to buy packing materials.

    The big pieces of cardboard are nice as well. I just pass them through the table saw and make a box to fit whatever it is that needs to be shipped. It's not hard and the drives don't rattle around as long as it's a snug fit. I also like to put a small piece of cardboard between each hard drive so that they don't come in contact with one another.

    Another good thing is the rigid styrofoam building insulation. It's not hard to find smaller pieces 1" or 2" styro laying around that have never been used. Just pass them through the saw and size them to fit. If you do the box within a box thing the styro cushion between the inner and the outer is pretty impact resistant.

    There's tons of newspaper around too. Just crumple individual sheets into a ball and they make an okay packing material for cushioning.

    Different strokes for different folks i guess. It's not hard for me to customize the packing material but it might be more trouble than it's worth for someone else.

    The way i see it: If you can keep your operating costs low, and ship only the higher value items ..... your net profit on the transaction will be higher.

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    So great advise but the small quote I stole below is a favorite of mine. This bit applies to many of the treads we get and how I learn from the forum. I take what works for me and am thankful.

    I do ship often and this changes how I have to deal with shipping individual items. In the past I got bubble wrap and boxes from dumpsters behind retail stores. It was worth it for me but since all the dumpsters got locks put on them I've been buying new packing materials. This new material includes boxes with extra creases so the depth is changeable.

    "it might be more trouble than it's worth for someone else."
    "Profit begins when you buy NOT when you sell." {quote passed down to me from a wise man}

    Now go beat the copper out of something, Miked

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  9. #6
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    Yep .... definitely true. Something that's quick and easy for one might be a problem for another.

    One ready made thing that i found that works well for the 2.5" laptop drives are the 3 1/8" x 5 1/2" manila coin envelopes from Staples. The fit is just right. You could envelope them individually and then bind them together with plastic tape in groups of ten for a nice tight package.

    I would imagine you could get thin cardboard boxes intended for 3.5" drives as well. Seems like they have a box for every purpose if you search on line.

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