Author Topic: Research: an ideal parts supplier  (Read 732 times)

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Offline J G HunterTopic starter

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Research: an ideal parts supplier
« on: February 19, 2013, 04:37:33 AM »
Hello!

I'm a new member but I'm also new to robotics and to electronics. I have a proposition that involves me supplying parts as a part time business whilst learning about what all the parts are, which ones are good for what job and what should be avoided or is inappropriate. I'm not here to advertise anything, rather to give you an opportunity to voice your opinions and concerns over the retailing of components. I intend to start by building robots with my Raspberry Pi and selling on my knowledge as I go along and I already have a starting point. What I need is some voices from the robot building community about buying parts and components, things like what parts are hard to come by, or if you feel prices around are too high and so forth. Personally I find, certainly on places like eBay where it's cheaper, retailers sell all sorts of things without any real understanding of whether it's any good, which is unfair to beginners (for example I see preloaded SD cards at 32gb but only class 4 speed!). I am only looking to do this as a side, as a way to open up a stream of parts so I am not looking to cream a profit out of it, I'm doing it for the joy of electronics and increasing the opportunities rather than find another way to tear you all from your hard earned cash. Particularly if it's to build things that may well never make money for yourself, such as competitions! I would like to point out that I am British, so non-UK shipping is out of my depth.

So please feel free to help me help you get building for less money and less time!

Offline newInRobotics

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Re: Research: an ideal parts supplier
« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2013, 06:49:17 AM »
I have a proposition that involves me supplying parts as a part time business whilst learning about what all the parts are, which ones are good for what job and what should be avoided or is inappropriate.
If You want to sell parts for better prices than current outlets do - most likely You'll have to order those parts in higher quantities. So, if someone wants to buy 100 resistors from You, are You going to buy from supplier 1000000000 of them in order to offer better price than eBay? As for learning, You can actually learn what's suitable what's not only by analysing component in regards to it's use and context, and there any many different uses for same component and even more contexts. Wiser thing to do is simply build things for own pleasure/use, do a lot of reading to find out what is suitable for that particular case and learn that way.

Personally I find, certainly on places like eBay where it's cheaper, retailers sell all sorts of things without any real understanding of whether it's any good, which is unfair to beginners (for example I see preloaded SD cards at 32gb but only class 4 speed!).
eBay is not the cheapest place to order components, often it can even be considered expensive in cases where one want's to buy parts in 100s or 1000s, also, free part samples are available from places like Atmel, Maxim, etc and for hobbyists it is the best way to go (when possible). Retailers do not have to know all ins and outs of what they sell as that is not possible for before mentioned reasons, the buyer has to do homework and know what is needed for the specific project. As for your example - class 4 SD can be more than enough if one considers non-professional photography only, although the same class 4 SD would not be fast enough to record HD video - it all depends on what certain component is used for (and there might be million uses and reasons).
"Computer games don't affect kids; I mean if Pac-Man affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching magic pills and listening to repetitive electronic music." - Kristian W

Offline Azraels

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Re: Research: an ideal parts supplier
« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2013, 07:53:04 PM »
.  I intend to start by building robots with my Raspberry Pi and selling on my knowledge as I go along and I already have a starting point.

 :-\ Don't really think that's going to work to well as the knowledge that goes along with these boards is usually viewed as being open source. And if you figure out something new someone else can to and make it free knowledge. Your better off with your parts idea or maybe inventing a useful device or shield that uses the rasberry pi.
If your first post is, "I want to build a super complex robot with object recognition, etc..but I have never done programming or electronics...etc." 
Your doing it wrong. Start Simple and Work Up.

Offline jwatte

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Re: Research: an ideal parts supplier
« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2013, 11:27:14 AM »
The ideal parts supplier:
- ships very quickly with low overhead
- has everything in stock
- knows about all the parts so they can answer questions
- has low prices

It does not exist in general, but these come close:
www.digikey.com (main issue: in a different time zone from me)
www.mcmaster.com (main issue: not the cheapest)
www.pololu.com (main issue: only a specialized set of parts)
www.trossenrobotics.com (main issue: only a specialized set of parts, in a different time zone from me)

Someone who doesn't know the industry at all, and doesn't know the various suppliers and the needs of customers, is unlikely to build a successful business that could compete with those companies.

Offline Aaron Robotboy

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Re: Research: an ideal parts supplier
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2013, 12:00:11 PM »
I started a little company like you and its hard work! like there are hundreds of companies bigger them me and you have to get your name out and stuff.... then buying and selling and shipping.... its hard work, im trying to grow mine right now and im growing out of just robot parts cuz there is just to many like solarbotics and parallax  and adafruit and so many more! if you do, good luck and btw ebay gets a little expensive but its working out for me for a little bit but everything has to come from china and every penny counts on how low you can get it.

Aaronsrobotics.com

Offline Corad

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Re: Research: an ideal parts supplier
« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2013, 12:11:40 AM »
I started a little company like you and its hard work! like there are hundreds of companies bigger them me and you have to get your name out and stuff.... then buying and selling and shipping.... its hard work, im trying to grow mine right now and im growing out of just robot parts cuz there is aftermarket parts just to many like solarbotics and parallax  and adafruit and so many more! if you do, good luck and btw ebay gets a little expensive but its working out for me for a little bit but everything has to come from china and every penny counts on how low you can get it.

Aaronsrobotics.com


Nice man. It is all about doing hardwork and your company will eventually grow.
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 01:36:06 AM by Corad »

Offline J G HunterTopic starter

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Re: Research: an ideal parts supplier
« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2013, 10:04:46 AM »
Sorry I wasn't clear, I wasn't meaning to say selling knowledge as a service, as you say it's frequently open source and if I don't say it, someone else will. What I mean is advice to go alongside products to make them more useful.

Re: the ebay comment I don't mean components as such, like individual PCB parts, but cables, memory and peripherals.

Yeah, looks like I'm way out of my depth on this one. Well, it was a nice idea for independence whilst it was there.

Offline jwatte

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Re: Research: an ideal parts supplier
« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2013, 12:50:12 PM »
We're not saying you cannot do it, we're saying what you have to do to do it, and estimating the level of difficulty, effort, and risk involved. There is no 'easy' path to real success (in anything,) because then that path would be clogged by everybody else already doing it.

 


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