Where to buy x????

I’m build a robot part of a personal project and I need to know where people buy a couple different parts. I need to know where to get cheap parts also.

I need places to get:

  1. Gears / Sprockets&Chain
  2. Bearings and Hubs
  3. Axel
  4. Motors
  5. Wheels
  6. Keys and Set screws

remember I need to go cheap. I also can make some parts, if u have suggestions on how to do it.

You may find some stuff in CD-Swap.

I’d also suggest posting requests for specific parts you want in there – someone may be able to give you a good deal (trade, free, cheap, etc.).

mcmaster car has roller chain, key stock, and some bearings.
IFI and Andy mark have sprockets.
andy mark also has a universal hub.

also check the suppliers master list

sites like www.robotmarketplace.com and www.banebots.com offer different motors that are typically used on our FIRST robots. Some of these motors may be better suited and easier to integrate for you needs.

What kind of robot are you thinking about?

I just want to make a very simple base. I’m trying to test things on it.


Some places to check for cheaper mechanical items on your list:

www.surpluscenter.com – They have DC motors, bearings (flanged & pillow blocks), keyed shafting (axles), various other shafting that you may or may not be able to make use of if you can do some additional machining, wheels of all types, gearboxes, chain and sprockets, couplers, u-joints, pulleys, leadscrews, pneumatics, and other odd bits of possibly useful stuff.

www.northerntool.com – decent prices on chain and pillow block bearings.

www.skatebearings.com, www.vxb.com, and Ebay – are good places for cheap import bearings like R series and 1614’s etc. VXB also sells on Ebay cheaper than their online store.

Of course, www.mcmaster.com and www.mscdirect.com will have just about anything you want but may not be the cheapest. If you find what you are looking for at MSC then check their sister company Enco (www.use-enco.com) before you buy it at MSC. Enco has a lot (but not all) of the same stuff that MSC sells but cheaper (if they have it). Also don’t forget about Grainger (www.grainger.com).

So, what 'cha mak’n?

you can get the standard FIRST base from innovation first … www.ifirobotics.com .

For a simple base to test things on, the kitbot’s not actually a bad idea. You could shave a few bucks off by going small–a 19"(ish) square robot could be made with two rails, four end caps, and a front bumper. Add in nuts and bolts, and the frame would cost around $100 plus shipping if you bought from IFI. Bug some teams that you know didn’t use the Kitbot in any year since 2005, and I’m sure you could get it for less. Maybe even less than rigging your own up from aluminum stock of various shapes.

MBS has really sweet, light, grippy wheels usually used for mountain boards (but great for robots!): http://www.mbs.com/


If you’re not planning on sustaining particularly heavy loads, you might be able to get away with nylon sprockets and #25 chain. Electronics Goldmine sells nylon sprockets in various sizes for $1.50 or less, and 23" pieces of #25 chain with master link for $2.49 (which sure beats McMaster’s $3+ per foot).


As far as motors, surplus sites are the way to go. Electronics Goldmine has some, as does All Electronics (including a Denso window motor not dissimilar to those in the KOP).


I’ve had pretty good luck with both of these companies, but whether these parts will work for you really depends on your application.

The cheapest wheels I’ve found with keyed hubs are the Colsons from our friends at Banebots. They should work for you, unless you need something bigger than 5".