Obtaining non commercially available parts?

For a lot of projects I find myself needing parts that can't really be bought in a store. My latest project requires transparent conductive ink (http://www.conductivecompounds.com/sitemap/clear-conductive-inks.html). Has anyone had success obtaining parts directly from companies like this? I was thinking emailing the sales rep, saying I'm working on a prototype, and requesting a sample. Do you think that would work? Could someone point me toward a template for an email that would sound "professional"? Also what type of payment do you think they would expect, would just a credit card number be fine?

Thank you.

keebie811 month ago

Does it have to be the ink or can you use a sheet of this? https://www.adafruit.com/product/1309

grayhairguy1 month ago

This is a common problem for DIY, tinkers and makers. McMaster - Carr has many, many industrial items that anyone with a credit card can buy. Fastenal is another company like this. Both have websites.

For really hard core industrial items, you may find a sympathetic salesperson who will send a no cost sample that will be enough for your project.

Don't be intimidated by industrial suppliers. They are human and will likely listen to your needs. The problems they may have a minimum order quantities and minimum sales invoice dollars. Another barrier may be creating a new billing/sales account for your transaction. These businesses generally operate where a sales person works out the details of quantity and delivery and then gives the order to others for payment arrangements.

Just try to be accurate and concise in your request. Respect their time. Be understanding if they say they can't help. Be polite.

Written communication should always contain Who, What, When, Where, How and Why.

I hope this can help others, since it is likely to late for the original posting.

I found that in alot of cases where no local could help Ebay is often able to provide the things even cheaper.
Sure not always in the right time for a project, so a bit of planning is required but still...
For other things you can often substitude with other things, sometimes you even good tips on the things troubling you in the comment section.

You can just ask when the rep gets back to you from filling out the contact form on the website.

Depending on what you are trying to get, it may be subject to non-disclosure agreements, required training/certifications and applicable laws and regulations regarding transport, handling and storage of such materials. Some places may only deal with wholesaler, real business entities, or affiliated with some trade group or institution.