Slightly Meta: Travel tips for people traveling internationally with vintage equipment?

Tony Aiuto tony.aiuto at
Sun Dec 31 11:41:34 CST 2017

On Thu, Nov 30, 2017 at 6:10 AM, Michael Brutman via cctalk <
cctalk at> wrote:

> I'm actively working on show planning for VCF PNW and I'm noticing that we
> have a few international travelers planning to attend and exhibit their
> machines/projects.  I'd like to put together a FAQ for the logistics of
> traveling with vintage equipment across the US border.  If you have ideas
> please let me know.
> For example: Should I plan on providing letters in advance stating that a
> person is a registered exhibitor at our show, including details like the
> show location, dates, times, and contact information in case there is a
> question about why somebody is carrying strange looking equipment into the
> US?  Is there any sort of paperwork or customs form needed even if nothing
> is being sold or left in the US?  Any other gotchas to look for?

All the documentation you can provide can only help.

I don't have much experience with computing equipment, but I have seen
horrible things
happen to other unusual electronics.
Specifically, I used to go to a lot of fencing meets when my daughter was
The armorers (the staff who check the weapons for safety and electrical
soundness) generally
make their own test rigs - a few sockets, some LEDs, an meter or two. Their
construction is
a point of pride. Several times they had packed them in checked luggage and
arrived to find
their equipment opened up, with wires to batteries snipped. It's been 10
years since then,
so maybe the TSA has realized that randomly snipping wires in a device you
don't undertand
is a brain-dead idea, but you never know.

I would pack anything going on a plane, domestic or international, with all
or any of
- letters about exhibition
- a copy of a manual
- bill of sale
- schematics
- owners contact information

> Thanks,
> Mike

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