Resources: What to Buy & Where to Find It
Buyer’s guides, vendors, places to purchase supplies, and shopping lists
- Sparkfun Electronics – Specializes in hobbyist electronic components, tools, and kits. The website features a project blog, buying guides, and tutorials from soldering to using a breadboard. Ask for educator discounts.
- Adafruit – Unique and Fun DIY Electronics and Kits. Check the Young Engineers section for selections that are whimsical and fun. Ask for educator discounts.
- Maker Shed – Make Magazine online store. Kits, maker hobby items, and books.
- Robotshop – All your robot needs in one place. Robots for home, school, and professional use, plus drones, wearable technology, kits, toys, parts, and apps.
- Digikey – Extensive collection of electronic components. If you can’t find it here, it might not exist!
- PiMoroni – “Tech Treasures” abound from this UK based vendor for Raspberry Pi, micro:bit, and other microcontrollers, plus kits, accessories, and tools. The name? It stands for Pirate-Monkey-Robot-Ninja, of course.
- Kitronik – Makes and sells electronic project kits for micro:bit, e-textiles, robotics, and other maker needs. UK-based.
- Lectrify – Easy to use electronic parts and micro:bit add-ons that make all connections easier – sewing, soldering, or clips. Lessons and projects introduce circuits to any grade level.
- Electronics Goldmine – Extensive supply of cheap electronic parts. Look for deals and bulk purchases, for example, a container of 200 LEDs for $5.00.
- Jaycar – Australian supplier of electronic components.
- Jameco Electronics – A popular source of electronics parts and kits.
- Backyard Brains – Unique products that connect neuroscience to physical computing.
- Solarbotics – Robotics kits and components with a wide assortment of parts, gears, and motors. Worldwide resellers.
- Lynx Motion – Robots, kits, wheeled and walking robots.
- Parallax – Robotics, components, kits, projects and more.
- Spikenzie Labs – Electronics kits, parts, and Arduinos. Offers a unique acrylic laser cutting service for small size jobs.
- Amazon – Always check to see if the item you are looking for has a better price. It is helpful that many school districts are signing up for Amazon purchasing contracts.
- eBay – There are often good deals to be found when looking for bulk components like LEDs or batteries, but be cautious and read the fine print.
- Donor’s Choose – DonorsChoose.org is an online charity. US public school teachers post classroom project requests and people can fund them.
3D Printers & Scanners
- Make Magazine 3D Printer Buyer’s Guide – Annual comparison and recommendations for 3D printers of various types and price ranges.
- Make Magazine 3D Printer Comparison Rubric – Make Magazine offers a rubric of over 60 questions used in their annual roundup that can be a guide to evaluating your own printer purchase.
- All 3DP – All 3DP has news, reviews, and guides for 3D printers, software, and other fabrication devices.
- Tom’s Guide – Reviews for consumer electronics, but also 3D printers, filament, drones, computers, and more.
- 3D Scanners Buyer Guide – Low cost 3D scanners can enhance the ability of students to create models for 3D printing.
Fabrication (3D printers, laser cutters, CNC machines, vinyl cutters)
- Make Magazine Annual Guide to Digital Fabrication – Make Magazine publishes an annual issue with reviews and recommendations of the latest fabrication tools. Some of this is not online, so if you are not a subscriber to the magazine, it is worth buying the PDF online or finding this issue at a bookstore near you.
- All About Laser Cutters – A comprehensive guide for laser cutters: buying, maintenance, setup, and more from Adafruit.
- All 3DP – All 3DP has news, reviews, and guides for lasercutters and other fabrication devices and software.
- Die Cutter Comparison Guide – Die cutter machines, including vinyl and craft cutters, advice, reviews, and hardware comparisons.
- Digital Fabrication Comparison – Comparison chart: CNC router, laser cutter, vinyl/cardboard cutter, 3D printer.
Microcomputers & Microcontrollers