Let's Make Robots!

Parts Prices (In US Dollars)

Here is the analysis I have done so far. I didn't look everywhere, but I did learn 2 things.

  1. You can't buy everything from 1 place
  2. It is cheaper if you buy from outside of the US on some parts

Here goes my summary: (For all intents and purposes, when priced in £ double it for US dollars. It is a bit less than double, but after your credit card company charges a fee to convert the purchase it will be close to double given the current rate of exchange on 5/7/2008)

Starter Pack (Picaxe 28 with USB cable)

  •  TechSupplies £25.61 $51.22
  • SparkFun $63.90 (USB cable purchased seperately does not come with a cable. Is cheaper if you buy the serial.)

Motor Driver (won't need right away, but get it anyway) 

  • TechSupplies £3 $6
  • SparkFun $2.35 (Note: This chp is different than th eone above, but is a pin for pin replacement meaning the usage is basically the same.)
  • Pololu $2.95 (Note: Same as above)

Servo Upgrade


  • HobbyEngineering $29.99 (can get cheaper models, but given how people like this one in terms of distance the slightly extra cost is worth it)

Gear Motors (Motors and wheels)

  • HobbyEngineering $11.69 (if you buy 2-9, but why would you only buy 1?)
  • Pololu $9.45 (note: The link is for the motor ONLY ($5.95), the wheel is $3.50 additional)
  • Solarbotics $7.98

Gear Motors (Motors and tracks set of 2 to make 1 robot)

28x Picaxe Chip (I got an extra for my breadboard. The kit DOES come with 1.)

LEDs (You can buy these at RadioShack but for a dime each (after conversion to dollars), buy them here since RadioShack is 2 for $1. Besides you will burn these.)

Voltage Regulator (if you will use a battery pack of 4AAs you probably won't need this, but if you want to use a 9volt get one or two)

You can also order resistors from these places, but 5 for $1 I got them from RadioShack. I knew I would need 330OHM (for LEDs) and 4K7Ohm (for the processors if using a larger battery) so I bought those cheaper at the above websites. Others buy when you need them.


  • I got my breadboard from RadioShack because I forgot to look on the websites for one.
  • WATCH THE SHIPPING ON TECHSUPPLIES! One pack of resistors can make shipping jump FAST!
  • On TecSupplies website less than £10 of items cost £4.50 to ship. As weight increases it jumps from £12.50 to £19.00. If you shipping is £19.00 see if you can cut your order down a bit to get cheaper shipping. It may be worthwhile to buy an item elsewhere for more $$$ to save on shipping.
  • All BOLD text is cost in dollars.

If I made any mistakes or if people find the same stuff cheaper let me know. My goal was to cut this down to ordering from 1 or 2 places.

 P.S. For those worried about paying sales tax here is the country and state of origin for the companies:

TechSupplies - UK

SparkFun - USA, Colorado

HobbyEngineering - USA, California

Pololu - USA, Nevada

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Anyone seen a good list (maybe 50 or less) of basic popular robot parts?? I am adding a Robot specific section soon to YourDuino.com and we're in the process of finding the best prices on specific items. This will all be sourced as shipped out of Shenzhen China. The Arduino and sensor stuff is no problem, I'm already doing that. I'm looking at Bases, Servos-motors-wheels, power systems, Sensors, Communications, Umm. Other suggestions??  

Hope to be announcing this in Advertizing section in about a week. 

Any suggestions on stuff you'd like to see stocked are appreciated!

Regards, Terry King ...On the Mediterranean in Italy


Well roving networks has  some great modules but Sparkfun keeps the price too high so bluetooth or wifi and xbee modules cheaper than they used be in big companies like sparkfun , etc would be cool(there is nothing wrong with sparkfun except their prices,just for th record).

Hi, Can you point to the Roving Networks stuff??

I'm trying to get some good software together to make it easy for newbies to use nRF24L01 parts like these:


These are great radios but complex to use. Need a library that hides the complexity.

Anyone done things with these radios??

Regards, Terry King ...On the Mediterranean in Italy



Also looks to be very cheap - not used them before, so i guess caveat emptor probably applies.

I ordered from them before, the selection of products is a bit limited, but they have a few real nice chassis they sell and I ordered one of those.  the shipping was pretty prompt and everything works,  I have no complaints! 


Budget Robotics is owned by the author of Robot Builders Bonanza, and the Sourcebook and some others, Gordon McComb!

I'm not sure about TechSupplies, but I know SparkFun and Pololu accept PayPal.  HobbyEngineering says that they are going to be adding PayPal back into their site in the future.  I get money from my website through PayPal, so it makes it a convenient way to pay for parts.

Nice, Thanks a lot. My parents go crazy when the $$$ goes really high.

This will help me save $$$.( Hopefully make my parents relax too :P)