One of the hardest things for a robot builder is locating sources for
robot components. Here is a list of vendors. I have done business with most
of them, and I haven't included any companies that didn't treat me right.
Call them up and ask for a catalog. Some of them only send catalogs to
companies, so give your enterprise a name. I hope that you'll forgive me for
keeping some of my sources secret.
No need to search any further.
BattleKits.com has what you need!
We recommend our own
Check out the Robot Parts section of
for a link to a great source for small quantities of metals and plastics for building
GENERAL EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES
The first thing a robot builder should do is get a catalog from McMASTER CARR. They have
everything. You can build excellent robots using just parts from this catalog. 99% of
their products are in stock, and if you order today, you can expect the part to be at your
doorstep tomorrow. (562) 692-5911
MSC INDUSTRIAL SUPPLY is the largest catalog in my office (4075 pages). They carry many of
the items that McMaster Carr does, plus a large selection of cutting tools (potential
weapons), and machine shop equipment. (800) 645-7270
The GRAINGER catalog has 4106 pages but in a smaller format than the MSC catalog, so they
come in second, sizewise. They sell many of the same items as the above two companies, but
they also carry many items that you won't find in the other catalogs.
SMALL PARTS INC. Has a wide range of many hard to find parts. Ask for catalog #17. It has
a picture of our "STEALTH" robot which won the 1995 "FIRST"
competition at Disney World in Florida. (800) 220-4242
Power transmission equipment includes things like belts, chains, sprockets, pulleys,
bearings, and gears.
W.M. BERG should be your first phone call. (800) 232-2374
BOSTON GEAR carries some heavier-duty parts than Berg. (617) 328-3300
See the BioHazard Materials page for more info. Here are the sources listed on that page:
C AND B SALES (800) 926-2600 (Magnesium)
METAL SUPPLY (800) 638-2521 (Magnesium)
MARK METALS (800) 955-6404 (Magnesium)
TICO (800) 521-4392 (Titanium)
PRESIDENT (800) 225-0304 (Titanium)
CARPENTER (213) 587-9131 (AirMet 100)
INDUSTRIAL PLASTICS (800 362-1000
LAIRD PLASTICS (407) 689-2200
RYERSON PLASTICS (800) 242-2114
U.S. PLASTICS (800) 537-9724
CADILLAC PLASTICS (800) 274-1000
COMMERCIAL PLASTICS (800) 325-1262
POLYMER PLASTICS (650) 968-2212
RADIO CONTROL EQUIPMENT
This is where you will find items like radio transmitters, Small motors, electronic speed
controls, and tons of parts that could be used in feather or lightweight robots.
The largest is probably TOWER HOBBIES. (800) 637-4989
HOBBY LOBBY has a large selection of small motors and other items that Tower Hobbies
doesn't handle. (615) 373-1444
FMA Direct. R/C equipment. (800) 343-2934
VANTEC. Low voltage, high amperage, electronic speed controls. The choice of most of the
heavyweight competitors. (805) 929-5055
ASTROFLIGHT sells some powerful rare-earth magnet motors. They also carry Nicad battery
chargers and high amperage connectors. (310) 821-6242
AVEOX. Powerful and efficient small brushless motors. (818) 597-8915.
Bargain hunters might want to check some of the following sources. Their products are
similar to those of Tower Hobbies:
SIG MANUFACTURING CO. (515) 623-5154
AMERICA'S HOBBY CENTER. (800) 989-3989
SHELDON'S HOBBIES (408) 943-0220
NORTHERN has a wide range of products, including gas engines, electric motors, hydraulics,
and tools. (800) 533-5545
CUTTERS CHOICE. Chainsaw repair parts. (888) 288-8371
KART WORLD sells go-cart parts, including wheels with sprockets already attached,
variable ratio transmissions, high performance engines, and tons of hardware that could be
used in robots. (440) 357-5569
FLEX-LINK. Modular, extruded aluminum framing system. (800) 782-1399
DU-BRO. Lightweight hardware for lightweight robots. (847) 526-2136.
BALL SCREWS & ACTUATORS CO. (408) 629-1132
For a low-budget approach, try the following surplus suppliers:
SURPLUS CENTER. Wheels, motors, and hydraulics. (800) 488-3407
C AND H. Motors and electronics. (800) 325-9465
MARLIN P. JONES ASSOC. Mostly electronics. (800) 432-9937
SERVO SYSTEMS. Motors and industrial robots. (800) 922-1103
AMERICAN SCIENCE AND SURPLUS. Lots of gadgets, only a few of which would be useful in a
robot. (847) 982-0870
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