Suppliers

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Purpose of this page

List of suppliers for various materials and items and user reviews.

Please add new suppliers and user comment lines (with attribution / date) Suppliers can be rated by in the user comment lines. Convention is [1] = worst, [5] = best

Electronics, Robotics, CNC...

  • Mouser Electronics
    • [4] Very complete line of electronics parts. Good searchability, fast service, decent prices on parts. Tools and some other items are expensive (alden 10/02/09)
  • DigiKey
    • [3] Very complete line of electronics parts. I find it harder to navigate than Mouser, and more expensive. I generally don't use them unless I can't find something elsewhere (alden 10/02/09)
  • Avnet Electronics Marketing
    • [4] US electronics parts distributor, like Mouser or DigiKey. Good searchability. Avnet Inc. also offers consulting, design, and FAE services (will 10/02/09).
  • Jameco
    • [3] Well known supplier - reasonably complete line (not as complete as Mouser, Digi-key, Avnet), some prices are very good. (alden 10/04/09)
  • Hebei (China) LEDs only
    • [5] Best prices on LEDs I've found - but does have a $199 minimum (see Buy LEDs Online for smaller orders). Ship fast. Worked through a problem with them and they handled me fairly. (alden 10/02/09)
  • Buy LEDs Online LEDs only
    • [4] US distributor for Hebei. Same stuff. Prices are more expensive but no minimum. (alden 10/02/09)
  • Modern Device
    • These guys have pretty good arduino clones, the Bare-Bones-Board and the Really-Bare-Bones-Board, kits from about $10. Fast & cheap shipping, good customer service. (jackson 10/02/09 -- did a bulk order from them.)
  • Semiconductor Store
    • Esoteric electronics, like Nordic ANT radios, some robotics parts. Some parts can have high minimums (alden 10/04/09)
  • All Electronics Surplus
    • [4] Nice bargain bin to hunt around in. Not very complete line of parts, but some very good buys. (alden 10/04/09)
  • Surplus Traders Surplus
    • [4] Great prices, particularly in the Extreme Specials section. Run by Ted Duskes, who's a square dealer, and willing to negotiate. Bad news: something like a $100 minimum, and the website is horrible. (alden 10/04/09)
  • Electronics Goldmine
    • Discounts on SMT components, and often has cool weird stuff like IC masks and wafers. Special robot section. (dan 05/03/09 via gareth's article via alden)
  • Circuit Specialists
    • Lots of good stuff for making PCBs, motion control, and other related stuff (alden 10/06/09)
  • Arcade Electronics LOCAL DISTRIBUTOR
    • [3] Local full-line distributor. Prices vary, but good experiences with them (alden w/hat tip to Mark Fearer - 10/16/09)
  • Sparkfun
    • Assortment of electronics, assemblies, mechanical components for robotics, motion control and other applications (alden 12/08/09)
  • Polulu
    • Assortment of electronics, assemblies, mechanical components for robotics, motion control and other applications (alden 12/08/09)
  • Hobby CNC
    • David Powell from Harford Hackerspace is trying to kick-ass on Riley's CNC with stepper motors from this site. Beware (alden 12/08/09)
  • The Computer Place LOCAL
    • [5] Clone boutique on steroids. Good prices and wide selection of PC components. Wall of cables. Gaithersburg, MD and Fairfax, VA (martin 12/31/09)
  • Digilent
    • [5] Xilinx FPGA and Atmel/Microchip microcontroller development boards and accessories. Makers of the fine boards used in our FPGA class. (martin 12/31/09)
  • Monoprice
    • [5] Wide variety of audio/visual/networking cables and accessories - low prices (martin 1/7/10)
  • Alltronics
    • Nice broad selection of surplus stepper motors, other CNC and robotics parts, and electronics (alden 01/20/10)

G33k Out Shop Sites

  • Think Geek
    • Name says it all - weird and wonderful stuff of every variety! (martin 12/31/09)
  • DealExtreme
    • Incredibly random selection of electronics and other stuff. The Cubic Configurable Storage Toolboxes (sku 4580) are great for holding surface mount parts (alden 10/06/09)
    • From Fredrik Nyman: Bottom line: check your order status. (Back ordered items can delay your order if you don't check on it)
  • Woot.com
    • What can you say about Woot? (alden 12/08/09 - thx Daniel Ternes)
  • Sci-supply
    • Accoutrement for the mad scientist (martin 12/29/09)
  • Archie McPhee
    • Lowbrow, hilarious junk. Check out the cocktail napkin notebook. (martin 1/21/10)

Mechanical Parts & Fabrication

  • McMaster-Carr
    • Very complete line of mechanical parts. Good service. Pricing can often be beat if you hunt around. (alden 10/4/09)
  • Small Parts
    • [4] Wild selection of esoteric parts. Stockouts common, but otherwise good services (alden 10/04/09]
  • Enco
    • [3] Very complete source for machine tooling, can be expensive. Online specials (Hot Deals) can be good deals, however. (alden 10/02/09)
  • Harbor Freight LOCAL STORES
    • [3] Some things are really cheap. Others are just "cheap". Not good for precision equipment such as lathes, rotary tables, etc. Still useful, however (alden 10/02/09)
    • There is a retail store in Laurel, MD, Gaithersburg, MD and another in Woodbridge, VA.
  • Grizzly Industrial
    • [4] Good source for machine tools themselves and some limited parts. See Enco for more complete parts and supplies (alden 10/04/09)
    • [4] I really like my 14" Grizzly bandsaw. The PA retail location is claimed to be the largest tool showroom in the world. (martin 12/21/09)
  • eMachineshop
    • [4] Will machine parts from proprietary CAD drawing package. I had a very satisfactory experience with them on a 200-part run. Can be expensive for very short runs (alden 10/03/09)
  • Little Machine Shop
    • Well known source for small CNC parts, machinging tools and parts (alden 10/04/09)
  • Shapeways
    • Cool 3d printing service. I have not ordered from them (alden 10/06/09)
  • McFeeleys
    • More wood screws and fasteners than you knew existed. Should be called Screw Depot but that would attract the wrong clientèle (martin 12/21/09)
  • Ponoko
    • Laser cutting. Call Riley Porter first! (alden 12/08/09)

Plastics

  • eStreet Plastics
    • [4] Acrylics, etc. Very good prices and good for small quantities (e.g. 1 foot lengths of tuning, etc. (alden 10/02/09)
  • Delvies Plastics
    • [4] Acrylics, casting supplies. Good prices, shipping is OK, but not lightning fast. (alden 10/02/09)
  • TAP Plastics
    • [3] Acrylics, casting supplies. Good selection, services; somewhat more expensive than some other suppliers (alden 10/02/09)
  • Piedmont Plastics LOCAL
    • Sells a variety of plastics. Has a sales counter with knowledgeable & helpful sales person. Sells scrap at discount - call to see what they have. Can fabricate and special order stuff. Sells limited selection of plastic working supplies: glue, bottles, etc. Beltsville, MD (Was Reid Plastics in Rockville, MD) Another shop in Richmond, VA. (martin 12/29/09)

Metals

  • Metals Depot
    • [5] This has been a great find. Small quantities of steel, aluminum, etc; cheap prices, reasonable shipping, good service. (alden 10/02/09)
  • Speedy Metals
    • [4] Good second choice to Metals Depot. Somewhat larger selection, somewhat higher prices. (alden 10/02/09)

Printed Circuit Boards; Fab, Supplies, Assembly

  • Advanced Circuits
    • [4] Reliable, quality fabrication, prices vary. Very good prices on bare-bones prototypes. Other volumes may or may not be competitive. I've ordered many times (alden 10/03/09)
  • Custom PCB, aka Silvtronics
    • [3] Very cheap offshore (Malaysia). Not as good quality as others - hole alignment, plating finish..., but may be OK for simpler applications. (alden 10/03/09)
  • Express PCB
    • [3] Prototyping shop with good prices. Has an easy-to-use, proprietary drawing package. At some point you'll want Gerber files and outgrow these guys (alden 10/03/09)
  • Gold Phoenix
    • A lot of people use this company. I have no experience with them to comment (alden 10/03/09)
  • Sunstone
    • [2] I never used them as they always price out higher than the alternatives. (alden 10/03/09)
  • PCB Cart
    • Chinese maker. Have not personally tried but a reliable source uses them regularly. (Osman 10/24/09)
  • BatchPCB
    • Haven't tried. Recommended by R M Adams. (Osman 10/24/09)
  • Stencils Unlimited
    • Very good prices on solder paste and other circuit supplies. Boards can be had cheaper from other suppliers in this list (alden 12/08/09)
  • Mettrix
    • [4] Board fab and assembly in NY State. Prices are good but not rock bottom, They are very helpful, especially for less experienced customers - such as I was (alden 12/08/09)
  • Advanced Assembly
    • Short run assembly. Recommended by Sepideh Miller on list (Dec 2, 2009) (alden 12/08/09)
  • eP Board Design
    • adapters supplier and pcb manufacturer. based in cal. (Osman 12/11/09)

Other

  • Uline Shipping Supplies
    • [4] Every kind of box, bag, tube, pallet, etc. imaginable. Highly reliable. Prices reasonable in quantity, somewhat more expensive in small Q's (alden 10/04/08)
  • Global Industrial Equipment
    • [4] Really rangy catalog of industrial equipment. They have some great shelves, benches, bins. Watch out, shipping adds up for heavier items (alden 10/04/09)
  • Gempler's
    • [4] Complete catalog of farm and outdoor equipment. See powdered Gatorade gallon bags. (alden 10/04/09)
  • Battery Junction
    • [4] Hard to find batteries, including Lithium Thionyl Chloride 3.6v batteries (alden 10/06/09)
  • Terrapin Trader LOCAL
    • [4] University of MD Surplus Property - From physics to food service they got it. Lots of furniture, good but not great deals. (martin 12/21/09)
  • T W Perry LOCAL
    • [4] Building/construction supplies. Quality lumber, sheet goods, millwork, fasteners, tools... Helpful, knowledgeable staff - great alternative to big orange borg. Delivers. Baltimore, Chevy Chase, and Gaithersburg, MD, Leesburg and Springfield, VA (martin 12/29/09)
  • Vienna Hardwoods LOCAL
    • [4] There are many really great hardwood outlets in the area. This shop is closest to me and usually has what I need at a reasonable price so I don't have a reason to go further. Exotic lumber, veneer, flooring. (martin 12/29/09)