I seems like I often have the problem where there is some part like a proportional control valve or something that I’m thinking of, and it must be available, but either I don’t know the right term, or just can’t seem to be able to find someone that actually sells it (rather than news reports and industrial websites etc.) What would be really nice is a sort of parts warehouse that had all kinds of goodies, valves and sensors and servos and plcs and stuff. Sure you can try to solder up your own sensor or something, but that effort when it comes time to build adds up, and it doesn’t make it any easier to allow someone else who might want to try to do what you’re doing to do it.
So I’ve been keeping a sort of “aquiring parts” file, where I put notes on various suppliers and potential parts sources when I come across them, here’s the one related to tinyhouses, however much or little use it might be to you (I know it’s filled with typos, sometimes I’m not very good about hitting the right keys, often typing on a subsize keyboard on my netbook or whatever and not bothering to correct it, and sometimes I hit the caps lock key):
I haven’t found Google Products search to be very useful, though it is a good idea and I wish they made it so it crawled the web (which judging by the small fraction of stuff it seems to index, it doesn’t seem to) but might be worth a try. Also including “view cart” “checkout” “View Shopping Cart” “add to cart” “view basket” in the search can help.
If anyone knows of something else like google product search, do comment. Most of the shopping search things are only for consumer products.
EDIT: I just remembered, I should mention that I think spare parts of all sorts should be considered a valuable resource. Automotive parts can be purchased new at reasonable prices, no need to go digging in the junkyard if you don’t want to.