Makers, what to do with extra parts/never completed projects?
July 29, 2016 11:17 AM   Subscribe

After completing some projects and aborting others, I've got some extra materials that would make someone very happy. Problem is, how do I find that someone? Is there an online forum or donation group or something?

I'm talking about a micro controller, Bluetooth chip, real component stuff. I've posted things to Craigslist and looked into the local maker spaces but there's no place to make exchanges/swap/donate. It would be a shame to recycle these but I need the space for current projects/not getting overwhelmed by too much stuff.
posted by mrcrow to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I've found great stuff sold as a "lot" on eBay. When I end up with too much of X, I'll put it in a "to be sold " bag at the top of my closet, set the Ebay/Amazon/Craigslist listing, and forget about it until it sells.
posted by onecircleaday at 11:25 AM on July 29, 2016

Check out Freecycle for your city if selling it isn't your thing.

Also, depending on where you live there might be craft donation places. San Francisco has Scrap, Berkeley has Urban Ore and Oakland has East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse.

Failing that, maybe create a Meetup for supply swapping?
posted by ananci at 11:31 AM on July 29, 2016 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Have you tried Nextdoor, if it's active in your town? It's pretty active in my area and people are always giving away stuff or asking for stuff.
posted by cabingirl at 11:39 AM on July 29, 2016

I work for a university that gladly takes these types of donations for its makerspace and/or specific programs (CIS, art, etc).
posted by vegartanipla at 11:46 AM on July 29, 2016

Best answer: University makerspaces will usually happily take them, and public libraries often have makerspaces, too. You could try contacting your state's commission for libraries, or look at this MakerMap for locations near you.
posted by stellaluna at 11:56 AM on July 29, 2016

Best answer: If you are in the mood for random discovery yourself, you could look into The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronics Junk.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:29 PM on July 29, 2016

Best answer: Maybe there's an Electronics Flea Market type thing near you? Maybe go as a 'buyer' once, and see if anybody vendors, or other buyers, would want to take the stuff off of your hands. Of course, you might accidentally go home with some 'new' stuff, too...
posted by destructive cactus at 2:23 PM on July 29, 2016

Best answer: If the micro-controller is kid-friendly (arduino etc) rather than a bare IC, and/or there a broadly useful discreet components like caps and transistors, then perhaps put the word out on facebook to ask if people know any kids who are into electronics.

(Obtaining parts and filling the junkbox can be difficult for children because of limited income, and I think they generally have more time and inclination to build around whatever parts they have while more advanced builders tend to design first and are only interested in parts that the design needs. So... your parts might deliver much greater value to a child than to an adult)
posted by anonymisc at 2:42 PM on July 29, 2016

If you have stuff that you want to give away, you can always post it in the Craigslist "Free" section. No matter what it is, as long as it's remotely usable to someone, you will get an incredible number of responses within a few hours. Just remember that if it's metal and it's more than a couple pounds, the scrappers will descend...
posted by Slinga at 4:32 PM on July 29, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you have stuff you want to offload I could take off your hands, but have no money to spare for such things and am hobbying on the cheap, so seriously, I should be your last resort.
posted by JHarris at 8:30 PM on July 29, 2016

In Providence, RI, a block away from the Rhode Island School of Design, is a store front where people can donate materials -- and I mean damn near anything -- which are then sold very cheaply. It has fabric and wood and paint and paper and tools -- but it also get some components and electronics from time to time.

It's intended to save from the dumpster all the partially-used to not-even-opened stuff that RISD students have left. But it also gets stuff when their store decide not to sell things any more (e.g., a few brand new pull saws, or a bundle of quarter-inch wooden square dowels). In the past, every May there were dumpsters outside all the dorms that collected this stuff, which was a shame; now, other students (or locals like me!) can buy this stuff for a few bucks.

Annnnyway, is there an art & design school near you?

Alternatively, a lot of middle schools & high schools now offer courses in robotics, electronics, programming, and the like. Could you call the local school department and ask for the email address of their technology teacher (or search the town's web site)?
posted by wenestvedt at 10:16 AM on August 1, 2016

Response by poster: Excellent suggestions! I don't want to sell, and oddly Craigslist hasn't drawn any interest. These are the kinds of leads I was hoping to find.
posted by mrcrow at 11:06 PM on August 4, 2016

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