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I myself use ULine, pay about a buck per box, but they are new, fit perfectly, and take about 10 seconds to use.
That isn't to say I don't reuse boxes, I love the Lego [email protected] boxes, they work well, I get other boxes here and there that work, but the bulk of what I ship are brand new ULine boxes.
Another benefit? I get almost no damage claims. The very, very few that I get, would have been damaged no matter how you ship them (think run over by a truck). :)
Of course, these boxes are too tall to use, since shipping would cost too much. To circumvent this, simply slit the box corners to the size you need with a box cutter, re-fold the flaps using something straight, and then you have a flatter box that will work perfectly with most Lego sets. I leave the top flaps extra long for added strength, though you could trim these if you wanted.
For padding, I use crumpled up newspaper. It is free, lightweight, and very effective. I normally wrap the Lego box in brown paper so the newspaper ink doesn't rub off on the box.
So there you go. Cheap, easy and effective.
Home Depot moving boxes
EDIT: Based on your use of mm as a metric, it looks like you live outside of the US. However, the same approach will probably work for you.
I have to say the success rate of using "cut down moving boxes" is terrible, perhaps 1 in 10 has arrived crushed or damaged.
You ruin the entire box by doing it, unless you're really good and know what you're doing. Just cutting the sides and folding over doesn't work, the box has no vertical strength left, it is very easy to crush what is inside.
You have to score the four sides almost perfecly to provide for even folds, it is a learned skill, that's for sure. There is proably a special tool somewhere for this, but I've never seen one.
Just keep in mind that for every bit of "savings" you try and make on a box, is it worth it if the item is damaged in shipment?
I should note that I also re-use boxes quite a bit, since I buy a fair amount of Lego online. I probably ship less than 20 percent or so with the re-folded boxes.
Regarding savings, it's not just that I'm trying to save money. It's that new boxes just aren't readily available in the ideal sizes in small quantities. If I bought in bulk from u-line, I would have extra boxes lying around that would never be used. I agree entirely with your general assertion that shoddy shipping is not worth it; I think we just disagree a bit regarding whether or not a "properly" resized box constitutes shoddy shipping:) I've compared a few boxes I've resized to a typical box from Amazon, and I really wasn't able to discern much of a difference with respect to rigidity/general strength.
But then I'm a bit anal when it comes to shipping, I've seen so much damage, I just don't care to deal with it.
But that might be a volume thing as well. At some point, the cost of customer service, having to answer e-mails, replace items, deal with a refund, exceeds the cost of boxes, at least for me. If I could hire overseas customer service like Amazon does, perhaps I'd feel otherwise.
If you can't find shipping boxes big enough, you can consider carefully crafting your own outer covering out of scraps of stiff cardboard cannabalised from other boxes and pad the inside with bubblewrap - I've seen some pretty epic efforts from sellers in my time ! It's an effort, but it's the price of entry if you want to sell boxed LEGO sets of any value.
If that is your mindset, I hope this thread (and the shipment damage thread) will assist you, if not many, who will try shipping a set.
Depending on the item, either bubble wrap or those polystyrene packing "noodles" are good for protection. The noodles are my favourite, as they are very light weight and pack odd shaped items better. For a standard big box, the "big bubble" wrap works really well though.
I really need to look into getting new boxes if I can find them cheap enough, price is a big part of the problem in Austrailia.
Uline is the cheapest for boxes, yes, BUT you have to buy a truckload of them! Or wait, maybe I'm thinking of bubble wrap. Anyhow I got mine from Paper Mart, they'll send a nice bundle of 20 for $40-50, so like $2 a box.
I just looked, I paid $1.47 per box for my last batch of 24x20x4" boxes, it is the 24x16x4" boxes that are closer to $1 each.
But there is something to be said when you're paying someone $12/hr to package stuff for shipment, in having all the right box sizes. You have a roll of 12" wide bubble wrap to go the short way, a roll of 24" bubble wrap to go the long way, in about a minute you have wrapped and taped shut a modular neat and protected in a quality box.
Needless to say, you have to do volume to make that work of course.
My favorite boxes from them are the 32x24x12" boxes, I get these double-wall, 275lb test, for shipping the big expensive sets like 10030 and 10179.
You can just about stand on the boxes and they won't crush, while I don't want to test that with such a set inside them, knock on wood... I've never had a single damage complaint of any expensive set shipped in such a box. For $6 a box, that is the cheapest insurance you can buy.