In the 5 years of doing InventGeek I have dealt with many online vendors. Some I have had good experiences with, others I have had bad experiences with. Those that stand above the rest I felt could be great resources for our audience to have compiled all in one place. The reviews here are from my experiences and should not make your decision for you. Use caution and commonsense with online sites and communities.
Blogs and Websites we support
One of our favorite sites! Hackaday offers at least one hack a day. This can be just about anything being hacked, so there is always a great verity on the site. Definitely a geek dream site.
The make magazine site offers a blog on there homepage that features a lot of interesting and diverse content. Make is all about making and hacking things and its audience / fan base is very involved making it a very vibrant site for creative minds.
Great blog with a very involved group of authors that promote community and user base involvement with frequent contests. They are a very creative group!
A little more corporate, a little more stuffy, a little more formal… but damn good info for the general geek tech audience.
The thing I love most about lifehacker is that they are constantly changing… the thing hate most is they are constantly changing. But experimentation for growth of there blog has to be commended. Though it makes it super hard to identify what they do… hack life in a broad and general use of the term?
So am I the only one that thinks they stole the half-life / valve logo? Anyway great site! They are a little behind the times with current geekery but they provide great content on popular projects you should know about!
More or less life hacker with a focus on gizmos? Looks like they are now the same group with the same content… so maby a little redundant in some ways but a great focus on new content for gadgets…
Vendors and Inventors we support
Adafruit offers a great selection of kits and parts for microcontroller oriented projects. The prices are very comfortable and there shipping methods are fast and predictable.
Sparkfun offers a extremely broad range of regular and highly innovative parts that are regularly used in prototyping microcontroller projects. The prices are very comfortable and there shipping methods are fast and predictable and there site feels well constructed, easy to use and secure..
From the make magazine comes the maker shed. Basically an outlet for maker fan bait. They offer many kits and projects as well as back issues of there magazine and faire tickets. One thing to note is do not order during or near the time of the maker fair, otherwise there shipping methods are fast and predictable.
Robot market place
This site is like robotic geek porn. From carbon fiber to motors and speed controllers this site has everything you could need to make that super fierce combat robot you have dreamed of for years or that robotic girlfriend… the site is well constructed and organized, however they deal with multiple third party vendors for drop shipping and save your CC info for offline processing with each vendor. So shipping is often slow on large orders and the site security makes this security minded geek shutter.
United States plastics
It should be no mystery that I love working with plastics. The best place I found for acrylic and other plastics is definitely this site. They offer fast shipping and can handle very large orders. There pricing is fair and the site is while a little confusing very detailed.
These guys offer some very very interesting stuff. We used there negative ion generator for our cooling experiments with a lot of success. The site feels very old and outdated for ecommerce, but it hasn’t changed in so many years its possible it works for them. Use caution with some of the information on there site.
Every so often you come across a site that stands above the rest, and this definitely fits that mould. If robotics is the thing you love these guys will have it. The site is modern and easy to use and there selection of goods is very nice.
Again another site that is very cool! While not the most modern for ecommerce the products they offer for RC control and specialty interfaces and switches are amazing. There design proven from years of robotic combat now for the public to get our grubby hands on. I have personally purchased a lot from them and enjoyed each experience.
So if your looking for bearings this is the place to go. For both normal bearings and Linear bearings for things like that CNC system you have wanted to build. There prices are absolutely stellar with a well organized if not dated looking site and shipping has been very predictable and fast.
American Science and Surplus
This has been one of my favorite sites to checkout for years now. Honestly I hate there illustrations of each part in place of a photograph of each actual item… but maybe the owners son is a illustrator… anyway they offer a wide array of interesting surplus parts well organized in there site. They ship your order fast and in most cases they ask a fair price for there offerings.
have you ever needed a disposable tool… you know the one that does the job once and costs almost nothing compared to a nice version of the same tool? Well harbor freight is for you! They import tons and tons of crap from china and then dump it at rock bottom prices! So that steel cutting band saw is a fraction of the cost of the real nice ones(and you get a fraction of uses out of it comparatively also). From personal experience I would recommend buying in store as there site is archaic and maintained by a group of equally archaically skilled developers in house as slowly as possible. They have locations in every state it seem like and often more than one.