Gracious Professionalism at your local hardware store

I don’t know if any other teams are experiencing this problem but our team has searched through 9 hardware stores looking for PVC end-caps but can’t find any. This is no coincidence IMHO. If your team is buying end caps and find some, DON’T buy ALL of them, especially if there is more than one team in your area. We want to get some planning and design idea’s down, but don’t have enough end caps to make tangible field elements and visualize what needs to get done.

We had some trouble getting them and ended up getting 13 at our local hardware store (who we also ordered 100 more through for $.40 ea.) and we got 40 at Home Depot and 20 more at a hardware store near where one of our mentors works. We went to a few other hardware stores and another Home Depot which had none.

Your best bet is to order them if you cannot find them. Most people will probably be using all the ones that they buy, you should be able to order them and have them delievered relatively quickly (within a few days).

Yeah, we had to order the ones we needed and there aren’t a lot of team competing against us. We are getting 300 for 30 cents a piece and having 100 clovers made.

In a separate thread, I suggested that teams think “outside the box” as follows:

  1. Do the practice field “goals” need to have the “proper” corners or can they use drilled-holes and nylon tie-wraps as connectors. I’ll admit that the practice tetras should be as close to competition-spec as possible.

  2. In our town (Rochester NY USA) all of the Home Depot, Lowes, and other big-box retailers were sold out. We considered using 1" PVC instead.

  3. I happened to pass a bathroom showroom called “Ferguson”…then I got onthe web to find out that is one of the nation’s LARGEST plumbing wholesalers and found out that they had over 500 1-1/4" endcaps in their regional warehouse; two days away from Rochester.

So…YES, gracious professionalism should exist at the store, but here’s another way to extend that spirit.

ps: If only I had bought stock in PVC endcap-makers, I’d be rich…

In a situation like this, it might make sense for you to contact some local teams and collaborate with them. We have 3 teams in RI, but only 1 practice field. Get into contact with some local teams and work out a way to share some resources. Sharing resources will not only save some headaches when it comes to parts running out, but can also save you lots of money.

Good Luck,


My team had to go to a couple different hardware stores. We found one and they said go ahead and take as many as we needed which was really cool that they were wiling to let us clean them, but we didn’t, we left them enough to keep stock for other customers. We only have one other team locally and they are like a half hour drive away.

Also for the clover my team just cut them out of .032 aluminum sheeting. They worked just like the real thing. And we didnt spend any money for because we had the material in our shop.

I 2 had the same problem at HOME DEPOT
However it was solved with 30 min of useless walking
When looking get the Pipes from electrical
Then go to plumbing to get the endcaps

Hope this helps some :cool:

Were the only team in the area and we still cleared out our Home Depot… i bet many place will easily run out of PVC

Well considering that there is 13 teams in the immediate area there is a good chance that the part is just plain out.
It does happen. I don’t think anyone in Rochester is out to sabotage Blue Lightning’s efforts.

This is why I’m glad my teams to only team in Virginia Beach

There are 4 home depots in my area, and they all sold out.


We had to order online. Many people will.


it would be prety funny if corprate knowtesed and uped the number all stores have in stock then all the sudden noone needs them. heh

Could be worse, remember the fiasco with the balls last year.

We found our in the plumbing section. We are going to look at an electrical supply house to see if we can find the flat end caps similar to what is going to be used at the competition.

If your local home depot doesn’t have them, try an electrical or plumbing supply place. They are sure to have a lot more in stock than a hardware store.

There is really only 1 other team in eastern connecticut and they are 30 minutes west of us ( our sister team) and it took us going to I think 6 different hardware stores before we could get enough end caps to put just 1 smaller tetra together so we have had to order some which we hope to have by tuesday.

As discussed elsewhere in this forum, if you’re still struggling to find PVC endcaps for the practice field tetras or goals, here’s a couple of hints…especially for the goal units.

  1. Use plastic tie-wraps to hold together the corners of the goals. Just drill holes through both ends of all six (6) goal pieces and “thread” the tie-wrap through three poles at each corner. leave the tie wraps loose until the goal is assembled, then “cinch” them up.

  2. If you have the PVC end caps but not enough “clovers” to hold the corners together, go look for “pipe strap” in the plumbing section. It is soft metal, comes in a roll and is perforated every 1/2" or so. Just cut into short segments and bolt through three pieces of the pipe strap, connecting each corner of the goal. Bend down the sharp ends too.

If (like us) you are in a rural area, try irrigation supply places, home depot was nearly out, the local irrigation place had like 300 in stock.

Yeah, Richmond’s got like a thousand teams to compete with. And one of them has managed to swipe a bunch of the materials because there are only so many Lowes’ in the area!

Dudes you dont go to a hardware store for plumbing supplies DUH… :ahh:

We went to home depot for supplies to build vision targets yesterday. We ended up getting the last can of flourecent green paint. I suspect that other teams paid them a visit before us - who else would use it? And to any teams planning to visit the Cupertino, CA Home Depot some time soon…sorry.