Sometimes I forget to mention the sites I use to find all the treasures I hoard. There are a couple that I check almost religiously, because you never know what they might pop out next. Others are just fantastic businesses because, in addition to providing novel products, are also a great help to the home hacker. Others are just good sources of great stuff… that you might not know about.
It goes without saying you should always check the usual criminals, like Amazon and Ebay – but these are a little further off the beaten path, but are used heavily by the home hacker.
First up Adafruit and Sparkfun. These two are special…
They are founded by extremely creative electrical engineers. They both create new and novel boards that young creatives and grizzled long-timers both appreciate, but also provide tutorials, training and a wealth of other resources that are indispensable to the home hobbiest.
Next up Tindie:
Tindie is a little different. This is a listing board of things individuals have created that they have surpluses of.
Typically when you want to make something with a new PCB or new part, you have to order 100 at a time. Which is a pain if you don’t have a store front to sell them in. Tindie is that store front.
Sometimes I just pop over here, and start from newest and walk back in time… there are so many novel things people come up with!
A little background…
I’ve now worked at two positions in which my job was to find creative hardware solutions to odd real-world problems. To do that, I’m often scouring the parts from various manufacturers to find the exact thing I need. Once found, I need a breakout for that thing. 9 times out of ten – someone has made that breakout, and one of the above sites has it. Its incredible.
These two specialize in supplying things that move.
Pololu… DC/Stepper motors
Pololu is renowned for their motor-driver boards. They’ve got every size and shape you could need to safely and easily make motors spin.
ServoCity… Servos… and hardware.
ServoCity is, as the name suggests, the number one source for all things servos. They have every servo you could need, as well as linkages and hardware for hooking up these puppies. One time, I had no idea which servo to purchase, I called these guys up, and, after they asked a couple of questions, gave me the exact set of things. It was awesome.
These guys are all part of my regular routine when hunting out new devices.
If you have one you like – let me know in the comments below!