McMaster-Carr supplying to international teams

So we tried placing an order with McMaster-Carr today and got this in response

Thank you for considering McMaster-Carr for your purchase. However, we will not accept orders from your facility due to the cost of complying with US export regulations.

Is this common or is New Zealand just special? Any other non-US teams strike this issue lately?

Suggestions for alternatives to McMaster-Carr please!

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What exactly are you looking for?

While MCM won’t service customer outside the US unless you have pretty large and consistent orders (I’ve read online about them making exceptions), you can find other distributors who will.

try putting a team name under the “company name”

I know that in Canada at least they don’t ship to individuals, but they do ship to companies. I believe FRC teams are also an exception, give them a call if the company thing doesn’t work out.

I recently placed an order from McMaster (I’m Canadian) and got it no problem.

The order was via a company and although not large ($200 or so) we’d continue purchasing. Here I was thinking we’d found the DigiKey of mechanical parts but alas no…

Some #6-32 screws, nylocks, spacers, M6 T slot nuts, M6 studs and a few other bits. Nothing really special in this order.

Try Amazon. While the user interface isn’t nearly as tailored for industrial products, they will likely have most of what you’re looking for when it comes to basic hardware. Amazon purchased Small Parts Inc. a few years back, and their catalogs entires can now be found in the Industrial & Scientific section.

I have been buying from McMaster for more than 40 years and I seem to remember a time when they had offices all over the world. All the outlets were listed in the catalog. They prided themselves in their ability to deliver in a very short time. However, I seem to remember that international politics and unrest (likely shipping, tariffs and taxes) caused them to pull back to US only. Does anyone else remember that?


According to my interactions with McMaster, they don’t ship to Israel for anyone except a few select companies who regularly place large orders with them. I don’t know anything about their policies for NZ, but I imagine it could be the similar.

Luckily for us, we were able to reach out to one of the companies and piggy-back onto one of their orders for some products that are harder to find here*. Maybe you can try to do the same if there are Kiwi companies with ordering privileges.

  • a.k.a. imperial-sized stuff

We are in Adelaide Australia and we have the same problem not only with McMaster-Carr but with a other US based companies who don’t ship overseas.


Open an account with a trans-shipping company. We use Shipito and we are happy with their service but there are other companies in the same business.
There are different levels of an account from free to paid.
This gives you a number of advantages: a couple of mailboxes in the US where you can send stuff from companies which don’t deal with overseas customers, packages consolidations/repacking etc, usually much cheaper shipping cost than what you get when buying direct.

We use this method to ship our parts from US vendors and KOP items.

McMaster sold goods without promptly disclosing so to the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and Kuwait which does not comply with US export law (selling things to countries boycotting Israel). They were fined and chose to stop exporting outside of the US and Canada.

I remember seeing some old threads on CD about how they weren’t even accepting new customers in Canada.

Yes this is the case, working for a company that purchases tens of millions of dollars worth from McMaster every year, we were notified about this as we have international plants. The main issue was like you said tarrifs and unrest, in addition to shipping, the big thing that sets mcmaster apart is their website ease of use and the crazy fast shipping, since many of their products can either only ship ground for safety reasons, or some cannot be exported due to international safety conserns from the government, it made since for them to focus on the US market (and parts of Canada) as they couldn’t really deliver on one of their biggest company principles to international customers, in addition to the relatively small foreign market they had at the time. They do make exceptions for certain international companies if they have long standing history and large orders that can justify the increased trouble, but on the whole you are out of luck unless you work for one of said companies, and can possibly route your order through them.

McMaster has changed it’s policy at least twice since I’ve been in FIRST.

2006-2009: No minimum order size to Canada
2010-2013: No small customers. We could only get our usual orders fulfilled through a sponsor’s account.
2017: No minimum order size to Canada

It doesn’t cover the full breadth of the McMaster catalog but 6364 orders as much as we can from Fastenal. From what I understand the non-US Fastenal franchises have a lot of flexibility when setting prices for their local market.

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With the exception of a few large companies who have special contracts with them, McMaster still doesn’t ship to Israel. If teams want to order stuff from them, they have two options. If they have contacts in one of those few companies, they can try to get the companies to add the stuff they need to the company’s next order. Or in the majority of cases, they need to contract a middle-man company to order the parts to a US address then ship them overseas. This process is generally slow, expensive, or often both. Neither of these options are really feasible for the majority of international teams.

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