< Surplus / Hobbyist >

These places are usually cheaper if they have what you want, and often have weird things. Another surplus list.

All Electronics

Order Turnaround Time: 1 day
Shipping Time to Bay Area: 3-4 days via UPS ground
Shipping Costs: high ($6 flat rate for ground, $13 for 2-day air)
Shipping detail (ground): ordered on 8/7 at 10:19pm PST, orgin scan at 8/8 6:47pm PST, delivery to Cupertino at 8/12 9:12am. UPS ground flat rate: $6.
Charges CA tax: yes
Comments: Good if you are looking for junky surplus parts to stock your lab…

American Science and Surplus

Comments: Science type surplus equipment and stuff. http://www.sciplus.com

B.G. Micro

Comments: Good place to get cheap LCD displays. Also sometimes have GPS units (check their Last Minute Additions) http://www.bgmicro.com/

Electronics Goldmine

Comments: Tons of nifty doodads! Lots of good basic parts (switches, etc) and more exotic things. Even have some SMT stuff. They throw in some freebies (look on their site for the codes) if you put in a decent-sized order.

Electronix Express


Electronics Swap Meet



Comments: Has a limited selection of basic parts and microcontroller boards. Decent source for basic switches.

Spark Fun Electronics

Comments:Lots of neat stuff, including breakout boards for the ADXL accelerometers (get yerself a sample) and inexpensive RF modules. I think these guys say they’re students running the site in their spare time. Geared directly towards hackers. They keep adding lots of neat dev boards.

< Larger Distributors >

Sometimes you really need that latest SMD part or that 25 jiggawatt LED.

Arrow Electronics

Shipping Costs: Highest. ($8 for UPS ground, 2-day air insanely expensive)
Comments: Largest inventory, and decent prices. And insane shipping costs. $12 for UPS 3-day air plus $5 per item!


Order Turnaround Time: fastest (2 hours, same day before 8pm CST)
Shipping Time to Bay Area: slow (1 week via UPS ground, use 2-day air)
Shipping Costs: low to normal
Shipping detail (ground): ordered on 7/31 at 4:15pm PST/6:15pm CST, left warehouse on 7/31 8:21pm CST , origin scan at UPS on 7/31 8:47pm CST, delivery to Cupertino on 8/7 8:56am PST, total shipping costs for 1lb on UPS ground: $4.13
Shipping detail (air): ordered on 8/10 at 2:54am PST (Sunday), origin scan at UPS on 8/11 3:37pm CST, delivery to Cupertino on 8/13 9:16am PST. Total shipping costs for 1lb on UPS 2-day air: $10.33
Charges CA tax: no
Comments: Fast shipping turnaround impressive, even for “value add” ship in 2hrs. Use 2-day air.

Future Electronics

Order Turnaround Time: ok (a few days)
Shipping Time: Good (use UPS). They split one of my orders and charged my $17 on shipping for the second pacakage.
Comments:These guys carry Luxeon. Their interface sucks. I recommend them only for Luxeons.

For Luxeon ordering, try http://lumileds.com/products/line.cfm?lineId=1


3500 Ryder Street, Santa Clara
Comments:: A large warehouse full of surplus stuff, including some good finds. If time is getting tight on your project, HSC is generally more useful than RatShack.


Order Turnaround Time: fast (same day before 6pm PST)
Shipping Time to Bay Area: fast (2 days via UPS ground)
Shipping Costs: low to normal
Charges CA tax: yes
Comments: Good prices but any items such as mircoprocessors not available. If in a hurry, can pick up order at their warehouse in the south bay (in Belmont, CA on Hwy 101, 20 miles south of SF).

Parts Express

Comments: The cheapest place to buy automotive relays.


Comments: Haven’t tried these guys, but they offer some neat parts for use in robotics.

< More on the mechanical side of things >

Alan Steel & SupPly Co

505 E Bayshore Rd
Redwood City, CA 94063
(650) 369-2526
Comments:: Good Source for steel, aluminum, copper, and brass, also lots of surplus do hickies

Surplus Center

Comments:: Sell mechanical surplus stuff, motors, hydrualics, wheel, etc

Bay Area Iron Works

1440 Egbert Ave San Francisco, CA 94124 (415) 822-7561


Comments All about machine tools, parts and ascessories. Cheaper than mcmaster carr.
Order Turnaround Time: Day.

JC Whitney

Comments Auto Parts and Ascessories.
Order Turnaround Time: Bastards! Could take a week, or maybe two months. If they have it in stock they’ll ship it out in a fews days. If they don’t well they’ll ship it out a few days after they get a new batch in. Could be a week, could be a month, no way to tell.

== McMasterCarr === Order Turnaround Time: Hours to a day
Shipping Time to Bay Area: 1 day via UPS ground out of Los Angles, 3-4 days out of Chicago
Comments: Carries everything that a mad industrial engineer could want and then some. Note the website is a bit odd by some standards but actually works very well. You can do key word searches and also poke around the online catalog page by page.

Msc Direct

Comments Similar to Mcmaster Carr but with a heavy emphasis on machine tools rather than process equipment.
Order Turnaround Time: Day.

KBC Tools and Machinery

Comments Everything a Mad Machinst would want.
Order Turnaround Time: Day.

Duniway Stockroom

Comments Sells lots of high vac supplies and stuff.
Order Turnaround Time: Day to a week

Online Metals

Comments Internit Based metal supplier.

Theater FX Supplies





Info from Jeff H on getting carpet bits:

J & M Carpets
1076 40th St  emeryville, ca

The big truck outside is full of carpet and padding remnants.  They fill it
all week, and every Saturday they drive to the dump.  Sign on the door
says:  "Don't Knock, Just Take What You Need".   Very cool.

Hill adds:

you can get carpets reminants at Floorcraft on Bayshore and Cortland in SF.
There is an area on Cortland where they put all their reminants before sending
them to the dump.  I have gotten some great stuff there.