Sources for Robots, Robot Parts, Electronics, and Assorted Goodies.

Here are selected lists of online sources for robots and robot building parts. I haven’t listed everyone, just a handful of the best, and those that have been around for a while.

Table of Contents

Main Online Shops

Specialty Stores

How to Find Electronic Parts in a Big Catalog

Robotics

Robot kits, sensors, servos, wheels, parts.

Acronamewww.acroname.com
Active Robotswww.active-robots.com
Arrick Roboticswww.robotics.com
Budget Roboticswww.budgetrobotics.com
CrustCrawlerwww.crustcrawler.com
Lynxmotionwww.lynxmotion.com
Machine Science – www.machinescience.com
Mark III Robot Storewww.junun.org/MarkIII/
Mr. Robotwww.mrrobot.com
OWI Robotswww.robotikitsdirect.com
Parallaxwww.parallax.com
Pitscowww.pitsco.com
Pololuwww.pololu.com
Robot MarketPlace www.robotmarketplace.com
Robotiswww.robotis.com
Robot Store (HK)www.robotstorehk.com
RobotShopwww.robotshop.com
Solarboticswww.solarbotics.com
TrossenRoboticswww.trossenrobotics.com
Vex Roboticswww.vexrobotics.com
Zagros Roboticswww.zagrosrobotics.com
Fingertech Roboticsfingertechrobotics.com

Electronics

Components, modules, microcontrollers. May include both new and surplus.

Allied Electronics – www.alliedelec.com
Arrow Electronics – www.arrow.com
Avnet (Avnet Electronics) – www.avnet.com
Circuit Specialistswww.web-tronics.com
Devantech Ltd.www.robot-electronics.co.uk
Dick Smith Electronics – dicksmith.com.au
Digi-Key www.digikey.com
Electronix Expresswww.elexp.com
Farnell – www.farnell.com
Future Electronics – www.futureelectronics.com
Hobby Engineeringwww.hobbyengineering.com
HVW Techwww.hvwtech.com
Images SI www.imagesco.com
Jameco Electronicswww.jameco.com
JDR Microdevices – www.jdr.com
Maplin Electronics – www.maplin.co.uk
Marlin P. Jones & Assoc– www.mpja.com
MCM Electronics – www.mcmelectronics.com
Mouser Electronicswww.mouser.com
Newark Electronics – www.newark.com
Nu Horizons Electronics Corp. – www.nuhorizons.com
Parts Express – www.partsexpress.com
RadioShackwww.radioshack.com
SparkFun Electronicswww.sparkfun.com
Tri-State Electronics – www.tselectronic.com

Hobby

Servo motors and accessories, radio control sets, parts for model airplanes and cars. Many of the sources listed under Robotics and Electronics also carry these parts.

BP Hobbieswww.bphobbies.com
Central Hobbieswww.centralhobbies.com
Hobby Lobbywww.hobbylobby.com
Hobby Peoplewww.hobbypeople.net
Horizon Hobbywww.horizonhobby.com
Servo Citywww.servocity.com
Tower Hobbieswww.towerhobbies.com

Specialty Sources

The following sources provide unique products that are useful in the design and construction of amateur robots.

Batteries & Battery Holders

Batteries America – www.mrnicd-ehyostco.com
Battery City – www.batterycity.com
Battery Mart – www.batterymart.com
Battery Store – www.batterystore.com
eBatts.com – www.ebatts.com
Only Batteries – www.onlybatteries.com
Mega Batteries – www.megabatteries.com
NiCd Lady Company – www.nicdlady.com
Planet Battery – www.planetbattery.com
Robotic Power Solutions – www.battlepack.com

Brackets, Metal and Plastic

Aubuchon Hardware – www.hardwarestore.com
Budget Robotics – www.budgetrobotics.com
CornerHardware.com – www.cornerhardware.com
Small Parts – www.smallparts.com
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware – www.rockler.com

CAD Software

AutoDesk – www.autocad.com
CADKey – www.cadkey.com
Cadopia IntelliCAD – www.cadopia.com
CAD Standard – www.cadstd.com
freeCAD – www.askoh.com
IntelliCAD – www.intellicad.org
TurboCAD – www.turbocad.com
Rhino – www.rhino3d.com
SketchUp – sketchup.google.com
Solidworks – www.solidworks.com
vDraft (demo) – www.softsource.com

Competitions and Robot Camps

Atlanta Hobby Robot Club – www.botlanta.org
Battlebots – www.battlebots.com
Botball – www.botball.org
Carnegie Mellon Robotics Club – www.roboticsclub.org
Central Illinois Robotics Club – circ.mtco.com
Chicago Area Robotics Group – www.chibots.org
Dallas Personal Robotics Group (DPRG) – www.dprg.org
Portland Area Robotics Society – www.portlandrobotics.org
Robocup – www.robocup.org
Robotics Society of Southern California – www.rssc.org
Seattle Robotics Society – www.seattlerobotics.org
Titan Robotics Club – www.titanrobotics.net
Triangle Amateur Robotics – triangleamateurrobotics.org
Trinity Firefighting Content – www.trincoll.edu/events/robot
US FIRST – www.usfirst.org

Crafts

Armorcast – www.armorcast.com
Art Supply.Com – www.artsupply.com
Art Supply Warehouse – www.aswexpress.com
ArtSuppliesOnline.com – www.artsuppliesonline.com
Dick Blick Art Materials – www.dickblick.com
FLAX Art & Design – www.flaxart.com
MisterArt – www.misterart.com

Electronic Kits

Carls Electronics – www.electronickits.com
Quasar Electronics – www.quasarelectronics.com
Ramsey Electronics – www.ramseyelectronics.com

Fasteners

(See also Crafts, Industrial Components and Supplies, Gears and Mechanical)

Barnhill Bolt Co. – www.barnhillbolt.com
Bolt Depot – www.boltdepot.com
Fastenal Company – www.fastenal.com
Fastenation – www.fastenation.com
Fastener‑Express – www.fastener-express.com
Fuller Metric Parts – www.fullermetric.com
McFeely's Square Drive Screws – www.mcfeelys.com

Forums (non-product specific)

Google Groups – groups.google.com
Lets Make Robots – www.letsmakerobots.com
Lugnet – news.lugnet.com/robotics
Nuts & Volts/SERVO Bulletin Board – www.servomagazine.com/forum
Robotics Club of Yahoo (TRCY) – groups.yahoo.com/group/theroboticsclub

Gears and Mechanical

Berg – www.wmberg.com
Boca Bearing – www.bocabearings.com
Serv-o-Link – www.servolink.com
Small Parts – www.smallparts.com
Stock Drive Products – www.sdp-si.com
Wholesale Bearing & Drive Supply – www.wbds.com

High Current Motor Controllers

Devantech Ltd. – www.robot-electronics.co.uk
Robot Power – www.robot-power.com
RoboteQ – www.roboteq.com
Solutions Cubed – www.solutions-cubed.com

Industrial Components and Supplies

McMaster‑Carr – www.mcmaster.com
Grainger – www.grainger.com
Manufacturer's Supply – www.mfgsupply.com
Reid Tool and Supply – www.reidsupply.com

Information, Search Engines

Find Chips – www.findchips.com
Octopart – octopart.com
Robot Books – www.robotbooks.com

Lasers and Optics

Anchor Optics – www.anchoroptics.com
Edmund Optics – www.edmundoptics.com
Information Unlimited – www.amazing1.com
Laser Glow – www.laserglow.com
Laser Surplus Sales – www.lasersurplus.com
Meredith Instruments – www.mi-lasers.com
Midwest Laser Products – www.midwest-laser.com

Machine Framing

80/20 – www.8020.net
Frame World/Barrington Automation – www.frame-world.com
T-Slot Parts – www.tslotparts.com
Techmaster – www.techmasterinc.com

Metal, Sheet and Formed

ASAP Source  – www.asapsource.com
Basic Copper – www.basiccopper.com
Create for Less – www.createforless.com
Custom Cut Aluminum – www.customcut.com
Metals Depot – www.metalsdepot.com
Metric Metal – www.metricmetal.com
Online Metals – www.onlinemetals.com
Rigidized Store – www.rigidizedstore.com
Titanium Joe – www.titaniumjoe.com

Omnidirectional and Mecanum Wheels

Kornylak Wheel Division – www.kornylak.com
North American Roller Products – www.narp-trapo.com
RobotShop – www.robotshop.com

Plastics and Substrates

Budget Robotics – www.budgetrobotics.com
Fiber-Brite – www.fiberbrite.com
GoldenWest Manufacturing – www.goldenwestmfg.com
Harbor Sales – www.harborsales.net
R & J Sign Supply  – www.rjsign.com
Regal Plastics – www.regal-plastics.com
Ridout Plastics – www.ecomplastics.com
TAP Plastics – www.tapplastics.com

Shape Memory Alloy

Dynalloy – www.dynalloy.com
Images Co – www.imagesco.com
Memry Corp – www.memry.com
Miga Motor – www.migamotors.com
Mondo-tronics – www.musclewires.com
Stiquito – www.stiquito.com

Sound Generation

FlexiMusic Generator – www.fleximusic.com
The Recordist – www.therecordist.com
SpeakJet – www.speakjet.com
SpeechChips – www.speechchips.com
Windows Games – www.windowsgames.co.uk

Surplus

(Products may include new, used, and surplus, both mechanical and electronic.)

A-2-Z Solutions – www.a2z-solutions.com
All Electronics – www.allelectronics.com
Alltronics – www.alltronics.com
American Science & Surplus – www.sciplus.com
Apex Jr. – www.apexjr.com
B.G. Micro – www.bgmicro.com
Burden Surplus Sales – www.surpluscenter.com
C & H Surplus – candhsurplus.com
CTR Surplus – www.ctrsurplus.com
EIO.com – www.eio.com
Electro Mavin – www.mavin.com
Electronic Goldmine – www.goldmine-elec.com
Electronic Surplus – www.electronicsurplus.com
Excess Solutions – www.excess-solutions.com
Fair Radio Sales – www.fairradio.com
Future-Bot Components – www.futurebots.com
HSC Electronic Supply (Halted) – www.halted.com
Hosfelt Electronics – www.hosfelt.com
Marlin P. Jones & Assoc – www.mpja.com
Mendelson Electronics Company – www.meci.com
Skycraft Parts & Surplus – www.skycraftsurplus.com
Surplus Sales of Nebraska – www.surplussales.com
Timeline – www.timeline-inc.com
Unicorn Electronics – www.unicornelectronics.com
Weird Stuff Warehouse – www.weirdstuff.com

Tools

Elenco Electronics – www.elenco.com
Harbor Freight Tools – www.harborfreight.com
Sherline Products – www.sherline.com
TAIG Tools – www.taigtools.com
Zona Tool Company – www.zonatool.com

Wood (ply and panel)

Constantines Wood Center – www.constantines.com
Rockler Woodworking and Hardware – www.rockler.com
Woodcraft – www.woodcraft.com

How to Find Electronic Parts in a Big Catalog

So you want to locate that 10 μF non-polarized aluminum electrolytic capacitor you need for your latest project. You’ve got a couple of Websites for electronic parts, or maybe even the printed catalogs of electronic component distributors like Mouser. How do you start? Here’s the way I do it:

  1. If it’s an integrated circuit or some other component where you have a part number, go to www.findchips.com or octopart.com, and enter the part number into the search box. The more unique the part number the better chance you’ll have of finding what you want. For example, search for NE555 or LM555 will likely find that 555 timer IC you want; entering just 555 is apt to put you on a wild goose chase.
  2. If you get a match, go to the results page for any and all of the suppliers that have it. Double check it’s what you want. Compare prices.
  3. if the search comes up empty, try your favorite online electronics retailer. All of them have a search box. Try entering the name and value of the part. Start with the specific part you want—10 microfarad non-polarized capacitor. If that doesn’t work, simplify the search to just non-polarized capacitor, and then simply capacitor. The more generic the search, the more results you’ll have to slog through.
  4. If the search feature of the site doesn’t provide answers, or you’re using a printed catalog, browse by category. For a Web site, locate the navigation links and click on them to narrow the search. For instance, you might start with Capacitors, then Aluminum Electrolytic, and finally Non-polarized. Review the value of the components that are listed. For a printed catalog, start with the index or table of contents, the browse the relevant pages.
  5. Some electronics suppliers don’t have printed catalogs, and their online search feature yields poor results. In that case you can use Google or another Web page search engine, as detailed in the next section.
  6. When all else fails, find the Contact page for the Web site, and ask directly if they have the part(s) you need.