Suggest some online stores for DIY electronic gadget making.
December 3, 2009 7:57 PM   Subscribe

Can you recommend some good stores like and I'm looking for little motors, gears, metal rods, rubber rollers/grommets as well as electrical components.
posted by Charlie Lesoine to Technology (20 answers total) 47 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: and also like this:
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 8:09 PM on December 3, 2009

Best answer: for mechanics, McMaster-Carr is useful.
posted by joshu at 8:22 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

I'm guessing lego / mechanics is out of the question. Cuz that stuff is crazy useful.
posted by pwnguin at 8:23 PM on December 3, 2009

Science projects and little motors/parts + lots more
Edmund Scientific

Industrial supply, similar to McMaster-Carr

posted by wigner3j at 8:36 PM on December 3, 2009 is cheap for electric components, but be aware, they are *slow* to ship. So long as you're aware of that, they otherwise seem pretty good.

This site might be of interest, or not:
posted by smcameron at 8:39 PM on December 3, 2009

BGMicro Hobby Electronics
Sure Electronics (may be dead now, always had pretty high shipping)
posted by spacewrench at 8:49 PM on December 3, 2009

American Science & Surplus

Just their catalog alone is a hoot to read, but in addition, many items are quite functional and cool and dirt cheap! I love this place! I've ordered things like mortars/pestles, mini pumps for indoor tabletop fountains, and small glass bottles to use as spice jars.

I had a cheap little wooden penguin clock that died. Nobody locally could fix it or replace the "motor" for less than about $60. You gotta be kidding! Sciplus had just what I needed.....for a whopping $2.75! Runs like a charm now.....
posted by ourroute at 8:51 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: God I love the internet.
posted by Charlie Lesoine at 8:59 PM on December 3, 2009 [2 favorites]

Solarbotics is fun, as is Pololu.
posted by Laen at 9:39 PM on December 3, 2009

For ball bearings, is cheaper than grainger or the like.
posted by smcameron at 9:57 PM on December 3, 2009

Herbach & Rademan
Marlin P Jones
and I've had good experiences with All Electronics and Goldmine Electronics as mentioned above. And Sparkfun, of course!
posted by moonmilk at 10:00 PM on December 3, 2009

Oh yeah, and Adafruit! Her boarduino is my favorite flavor of arduino.
posted by moonmilk at 10:03 PM on December 3, 2009

Some more:

MPJA (Marlin P. Jones & Associates)
Ocean State Electronics
Online Metals

For electronics, but not so much for mechanicals, Octopart is a handy search engine.
posted by hattifattener at 10:09 PM on December 3, 2009

Cascade Surplus has a limited surplus but often super bargains on a lot of components.
posted by tmcw at 6:51 AM on December 4, 2009

Another plug for McMaster-Carr. Their online catalog is _amazingly_ well designed. If you're trying to find fasteners or something, it takes almost no time at all to drill down by specs. They often don't sell things in small quantities, though. Oh, and since they've got supply warehouses literally all over the map, you'll usually get your order in 1-2 business days for normal UPS ground shipping rates.
posted by paanta at 6:55 AM on December 4, 2009

Futurlec -- way, way cheaper than anywhere else, occasionally "forgets" to ship. (Does not "forget" to charge credit card, has been responsive the half-dozen times this has happened to me.)

Harbor Freight -- cheap, occasionally crappy tools, but cheap. Did I mention cheap?
posted by range at 7:48 AM on December 4, 2009

I came in to say American Science and Surplus. Someone else already did so I'll just second that. The catalog is fun as hell. If you're ever in Chicago go in to the actual store. I used to go there every few months and just wander around. They have whole walls just filled with little drawers of stuff. A drawer full of tiny motors next to a drawer full of plastic dinosaurs. Ancient glassware next to bundles of glowsticks. Love that place.
posted by Babblesort at 7:51 AM on December 4, 2009

Seconding American Science & Surplus. As someone who lives in an area that has physical access to one of their stores I can confirm that it is one of the greatest places for finding weird little bits of electronics, magnets, lenses, lab equipment and other assorted weirdness.
posted by quin at 9:11 AM on December 4, 2009

Mendelson's, which is also just loads of fun any time I find myself in Dayton.
posted by leapfrog at 9:47 AM on December 4, 2009

If you need anything other than components or mechanical bits, All-Spec carries everything else (test equipment, solder stuff, etc.) at really good prices. They have a charge for orders under a certain amount ($25 IIRC).

Small Bear Electronics only really carries stuff for people doing audio electronics but they have good prices and are a decent source for wire and project boxes.
posted by drezdn at 10:54 AM on December 4, 2009

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