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Re: Cross-country shipping of large network/computer gear?
From: JC Dill <nanog () vo cnchost com>
Date: Wed, 27 Aug 2003 22:00:27 -0700

At 08:32 PM 8/27/2003, Eric Kuhnke wrote:

Although this is a small item, I believe it wins the contest for "Most thoroughly damaged shipment".

Oh dear!  Yes, I do think you are the winner (so far).

just me <matt () snark net> wrote:

The first damaged shipment at this URL was not correctly packed. You can't expect styrofoam peanuts *alone* to properly cushion and center a router in a box, even when you wrap the router itself in bubble wrap. The peanuts will shift, your router will end up abutting the box at one point or another, especially if the box is dropped (even if it's only dropped a short distance, such as can happen when it's being loaded and dropped/slid into place on a stack of boxes). That's why it's important to use the packing cases that the router came in from the manufacture (with the special styrofoam inserts) whenever possible, to properly center your router in the box. If you can't get the correct inserts, use inserts from some other shipment and cut them to fit. Create a ~3 inch layer below the router, add peanuts to fill in that layer between the makeshift inserts, set the router in the box, put more inserts next to the router (~3 inches on all sides) and fill the gaps with peanuts, put more inserts on top (~3 inches) and fill the gaps with peanuts. The inserts will hold the router in the *center* of the box and will prevent the peanuts from shifting enough to allow the inserts to shift and let the router move towards one of the box sides. And as you can see, the box itself should be large enough that you can put ~3+ inches of padding on all sides around the computer. That's why a 1u server typically comes in a box that's 8 to 10 inches thick.

When you are shipping something heavy and fragile (in that it can be damaged if the box is dropped or if something is dropped on the box), you have a responsibility to properly pack the box to minimize damage. Don't count on insurance or the shipper to reimburse you if the item is damaged due to inadequate packing. Wrapping an item in bubble wrap and then placing it in the middle of styrofoam peanuts may work for some items, but a critical and expensive piece of computer hardware NEEDS more protection.

Ebay vendors who specialize in selling fragile items use a process called "double boxing". You wrap the item in bubble wrap, put it in a box with at *least* 1 inch of space all around the bubble wrap, with styrofoam peanuts filling that 1 inch gap. Then you place this box in a larger box with another 1 inch of space all around. Put 1 inch of peanuts in the larger box, place the smaller box on this layer and fill all around and on top with more peanuts, filling them in tightly enough to help prevent the box from shifting. So if you are packing an item that's 6 inches across, the smaller box is at least 8 inches, the larger box is at least 10 inches. For something heavy like a router, you need more than 2 inches of padding.

Just some food for thought the next time you pack something for shipment.


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