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Topic: Ideas for finding parts for robotics (Read 1 time) previous topic - next topic

Leebranch921

Hello, I intend on building a mini gantry crane using wood and metal. Can anyone offer any ideas of where I can find free parts like wood, metal and electronic components. Apparently alot of people salvage old parts from appliances. Is there any things I need to look out for when doing this because I have an old PC where I can take out the disc tray motors.

zoomkat

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Can anyone offer any ideas of where I can find free parts like wood, metal and electronic components.


You can hang out at a garbage/recycling center and get stuff from people before they toss it into the dumpster (getting stuff out of a dumpster once it goes in is usually forbidden).
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Leebranch921

Is this in the UK? because I was going to go down the skip and have a look about.

Far-seeker


Quote
Can anyone offer any ideas of where I can find free parts like wood, metal and electronic components.


You can hang out at a garbage/recycling center and get stuff from people before they toss it into the dumpster (getting stuff out of a dumpster once it goes in is usually forbidden).


To expand on that...  In the USA when something is trash, even in a dumpster, the person or organization that threw it away relenquishes their personal property rights to that particular item.  The potential additional problems that dumpsters impose (vs. picking something off the curb) is they can be on private property which unless it's someplace normally open to the public (e.g. store, restaurant, gas station, etc...) or you have specific permission to be there would involve trespassing and most places with dumpsters don't want to be sued if someone hurts themselves while digging through the dumpster(s).  That's why even if the private property is normally open to the public, "dumpster divering" is often forbidden by the owners (a property owner or their agent can revoke access privileges at any time and for almost any reason), in some cities there also might be laws specifically against it as well.  So in all cases it's best to try and talk with someone in charge of the property, either before the item gets in the dumpsters or to get permission if you really intended to retrive it from a dumpster.

Since a lot of common law in the US is based on the British common law the same probably holds true in the UK...

ckiick

Besides dumpster diving, ask friends and relatives to save old electronics and appliances for you.  Anything that "does something" could have potential robot parts in it.  An old fax machine, for example, moves paper around, so it will have gears, motors and driver circuits in it.

Another source I've found is spending a few bucks at goodwill. (or whatever your local equivalent is.) Garage sales are good too.

Scrap wood can be found at building sites - they throw away an amazing amount of stuff including fairly large pieces of 2x4 and plywood.  Look for a dumpster on the building site.  Be careful. Another source is broken furniture although these days a lot of the wood is particle board which is hard to work with.

Components can come from a lot of things.  VCRs, copy machines, flatbed scanners, and multifunction printers have lots of good gears, small metal parts, motors and electronics in them - and people toss these out all the time.  Toys are another good source of parts.

Things to watch out for: surface mount parts are hard to salvage and hard to use.  Paradoxically, the older the salvage, the better parts you can find, because the newer stuff is all surface mount with really tiny pins.  Sometimes keeping sub-assemblies intact is better than tearing them completely apart.  A motor might have a driver chip near it, for example, with a connector to the main board.

A dremel tool and a soldering iron are musts for salvaging.  Some people have used a heat gun to rapidly remove components from large boards.  You'll need lots of solder wick to desolder components.

One last thing: when taking something apart, keep the useful stuff, and recycle the rest.

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