Its time to tap sugar maples to make maple syrup in our area, and I went out with my neighbors to help them tap with buckets and spouts. This is the traditional method of tapping trees, many people now use plastic taps and tubing. See the links below for our videos on tapping using tubing. My neighbor Bill puts out about 150 buckets, mainly along the roadsides in our town.
If you are thinking of what method you'd like to use to tap sugar maples, I have no strong opinion between buckets and tubing. The buckets are better for smaller operations, and for tapping on other people's property. Most tubing stays up year round, and not everyone likes how it looks in summer.
I use tubing and plastic taps, and I take down the tubing every spring. I tap the same trees each year, and I can put back up the tubing. Its work, but so is hauling sap buckets.
I've also seen people use plastic bags and milk jugs to tap trees. I have no experience with these, but at least with the milk jugs, i can see how they would overflow easily when the sap is running. That wastes a lot of sap.
Ask around your town or check on craigslist for buckets to tap sugar maples, I'm sure there are some in a garage. You can also buy them new, though I believe the new buckets are made of aluminum.
We have a bunch of how to make maple syrup videos, check them out below: