Hardware Resources

Guides and Handbooks

As experimental physics graduate students, we’re often responsible for a huge array of knowledge for which we never receive formal training! Like, how do you choose between LMR 100 or RG316 for RF transmission cabling? Or should you coat a D38999 connector in Nickel or Cadmium, what is a D38999 connector anyway, and should it be die-cast or mil-spec machined? Though few of us have ever taken mechanical engineering courses, we might need to figure out what is the tap clearance for a 4-40 screw, or what kind of Loctite we should use.

And we need answers fast. So, below I’ve compiled a list of documents that I’ve found helpful in my graduate school journey to quickly answer such hardware related questions. It’s in part here for me, so I don’t lose my little library, but I hope others will find it useful too!

Which Loctite to Use

Screw Tap Sizes and Clearances

EMI Shielding and Gasket Design Theory and a second one

Linear Regulator Basics

Optical Fiber Termination Styles

D38999 Connectors

Mil-Spec for Wires and Cable

Resources for Purchasing Hardware

There’s also the question of where to buy all of these things from. I’ve included some of my favorite go-to vendors and suppliers below, both for raw materials (sheet metal, fasteners, etc.) as well as circuit board elements (IC, passives, etc.)

Generic Parts Lookup: Octopart.com

For circuit board elements: Digikey.com, Arrow.com, Mouser.com

For raw materials: MSC Industrial Supply, McMaster Carr, Fastenal

For cheap RF supplies: