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The BEAM Links Collection is a BEAM Reference Library site.

BEAM Reference Library Links: Vendors

Disclaimer: I live in the US (Colorado, to be specific), so the following list of vendors will be pretty US-centric. It's not that I'm parochial, I just don't have much feedback from folks that live elsewhere. Consider yourself warned.


Electronic Components

All Electronics -- Lots of odds and ends -- not a very complete selection, but worth a look for what they (temporarily) have in stock.

Digi-Key -- Huge supplier (US / Canada); they stock just about any electronic part you could want

Future Active -- Electronics components and tools

Jameco - Good prices on some things (particularly "grab bags"); oriented more toward service parts rather than chips & such.

Mouser -- Another big supplier; very pokey website

Solarbotics -- The best all-around BEAM supplier there is. They have lots of components at good prices, but they're located in Canada, so US buyers have to (for the time being) deal with the US Customs Dept. "aging bins"


Solar Cells

Conrad Electronics -- Good prices but only ships in Europe

Jameco -- misc. solar cells

Plastecs -- solar cells, including flexible ones!

Scientifics -- what's left of the former Edmund Scientific; good selection of solar cells

Solarbotics -- a really good source for BEAM-sized (i.e., small) solar cells

SolarElectric -- primarily oriented toward folks that want to live "off the grid," they still sell individual cells too


Motors and gears and such

Balsa Products -- good prices on servos.

BG Micro -- the good news: they carry really great, affordable gear motors; the bad news: they hardly ever have them in stock

Budget Robotics -- Tamiya gearmotors

Hobby People -- Servos (not as extensive a selection as Tower, but generally cheaper)

Jameco -- Various sets of gears (but they're not too cheap)

Micro Precision Systems -- really incredibly tiny motors

Mondo-tronics Inc. -- anything and everything involving "muscle wire" (a.k.a., Nitinol)

Servo City -- very good servo prices

Solarbotics -- very low-current pager motors

TechMax -- some interesting motors here

Tower Hobbies -- good selection of servos, replacement gear sets

Major Hobby -- broad selection of servos, gears, etc.


Misc. robotics parts, kits, and such

Acroname -- they carry really neat Sharp IR proximity sensors, plus other assorted goodies (books, PIC boards, even piezoelectric gyros if you're feeling rich). -- Canada-based reseller of other folks' robot kits

Budget Robotics -- they sell a number of basic robot kits (just add "brains"), plus a decent variety of 'bot parts (wheels, gear trains, motor bases, sensors, etc.). Most parts (and some kits) are straight from Tamiya -- at very competitive prices.

Carl's Electronics, Inc. ( -- MOVIT and OWI robot kits; good basis for further "robohacking"

Cybug Central -- Craig Maynard's site on his interesting little bugs; available in kit form.

Didel -- a Swiss company with some really, incredibly, small robot kits and parts (sad to say, many of them are not cheap). Site in English and French.

Electric Pets -- Bill Bigge's line of really artistic and interesting BEAM "critters"

Electronics Goldmine -- they live up to their name, they have all sorts of goodies (tho' not always well-described) -- a good on-line fastener store, good selection of metric stuff too.

FirstBOT Robot Store -- primarily geared toward selling (processor-driven) robot kits, they also sell a few components separately.

GlobalSpec -- if you need some oddball thing, and have absolutely no idea where to find it...

Hobbytron -- a hobby supplier with a very broad selection of robot kits -- Solarbotics, MOVIT / OWI, Cybug, Mindstorms...

HVW Technologies -- a few kits, mostly CPU-based (but all hackable)

Jameco -- section dedicated to robotics

Lynxmotion -- they have some pretty pricey robot kits, but some very interesting (and affordable) robot parts

Micro Fasteners, Inc. -- dedicated to selling small nuts and screws and such. If you live in the U.S., and need / want to buy metric fasteners, this is definitely the place to go.

Middlesex University Teaching Resources -- teaching materials vendor, lots of goodies useable by BEAMers -- gears, gearmotors, electronic components, building material... Based in the UK, but ships all over.

Mondo-tronics Inc. -- has lots of odds & ends

MPJA -- a surplus house, often have good motors, tools, etc.

Andy Pang -- just an average guy, but he's got robot parts and part kits for sale.

Robotikits Direct -- OWI kit robots; good basis for further "robohacking"

Robot Store -- kits, books and various parts

Robot Store (HK) -- a Hong Kong based outfit that ships world-wide; motors, solar cells, sensors, CPU-based goodies

Rogue Robotics -- makers of the "Rogue Blue" series of robots

Scientifics -- what's left of the former Edmund Scientific

Solarbotics -- just about everything you could want for a BEAM bot, including kits

Sozbots -- kits and parts for small fighting robots; lots of Tamiya stuff

Tamiya -- a number of interesting robotic parts, available through distributors (try Budget Robotics or Sozbots if none of your local hobby stores carry Tamiya gear)

Vikon Technologies -- lots of CPU-based stuff

Jaycar Electronics -- they're in Australia, so I have zero experience with them

Oatley Electronics -- Ditto


Supplies & tools

DynaArt Designs -- makers of "Toner Transfer Paper" sheets for making PCBs; also some interesting tools for PCB creation and "stuffing"

Micro-Mark -- they bill themselves as "The Small Tool Specialists", and they live up to it! They're really oriented toward modelers (model railroad, model ships, etc.), but have lots of tools useful for detail work on small things (like BEAMbots!).

Ramsey Electronics -- tools, kits, etc.

Techniks -- makers of "Press-N-Peel" transfer film (the blue stuff) for making PCBs


CPU-based stuff

Dontronics (in Australia) has some very cost-competitive (and very small) BASIC StampTM-based hardware.

The OOPic is a bit bigger, but has a higher-level programming interface, and is available from a number of vendors, including Acroname.

Acroname also has their own budding line of CPU-based boards, called the BrainStemTM.

Fred Martin (formerly) at MIT came up with a small CPU board, called the Handy Board, which is also available from a whole slew of vendors.

Mini BoardFred Martin also came up with the Mini Board, a tiny, business card-sized robot controller, great for connecting motors and sensors to desktop machines. The design is distributed publicly and you can buy blank boards from Douglas Electronics. More information on parts for the boards and schematics is in Fred's paper at MIT Mini Board Info; complete documentation is on the MIT FTP server.



Douglas Electronics will make PCBs to your specs; they use proprietary software for board layout, but it's pretty cheap ($25 US).

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