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Resources and Links

This is a representative list of resources. Inclusion of a link on this page is not intended to be an endorsement of any particular supplier. Links are listed in alphabetical order. All links on this page are set to open in a new window.

Caution: Many of these sites sell kits that could be used directly to create solutions to Destination ImagiNation® challenges. Teams should certainly consider purchasing kits to learn how things work but they then should use the kits only for parts. Solutions created directly from purchased kits will typically score little or no points.

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Stored Energy Devices (Balloon cars, mousetrap cars, etc.)

These sites offer kits that used stored energy.

  • Activity Based Supplies: - Balloon, rubber band, and mouse trap power car and boat kits.
  • Doc Fizzix: - Mouse trap racers, balloon racers, rubber band racers. Buy the kits to learn how stored energy is used to propel vehicles. They also sell wheels and other parts that could be used to construct your own vehicles.

Electronic Surplus Shops

If you look around you may find an electronics surplus store in your area. For instance, in my area there is a Surplus Electronics store called Tanner Electronics. They sell a wide variety of dc motors, stepper motors, electronic kits and electrical components like switches, diodes, resistors, leds, etc. Their prices for components are generally much cheaper than the chain electronics store. For instance, a package of 5 resistors cost $1 at Radio Shack. Tanner sells the same resistors from a bulk bin for $.03 each. The problem in dealing with a surplus store is that their inventory changes so something you find on one visit may not be available on the next visit.

Electronic Kits

These sites offer various electronic kits that may be useful to Destination ImagiNation teams. If you are considering purchasing electronic kits I suggest that you purchase a beginner "learn to solder" type kit to learn the basics of soldering before attempting to assemble the kits.

  • Cana*Kit: - Canadian based manufacturer of electronic kits
  • Carl's Electronics: - Web based retailer of electronic, robotic and other hobby kits. They sell some of the kits that are also sold directly by the manufacturers listed in this resource list.
  • DIY Electronics: Manufacturer of electronic kits and they do not sell direct to the public. If you find something you like on this site you can generally find the kit on some of the other retailers listed on this reference page. They also have a forum where users discuss problems they have had while assembling the kits.
  • Electronic Rainbow: Manufacturer of electronic kits.
  • HobbyTron:
  • QKits:
  • Radio Shack: While you can order on line you can generally find anything they offer at a local store
  • Rapid Electronics: Retailer of various Electronic Kits. Based in England.
  • Velleman Inc.: Manufacturer of electronic kits. The website has a dealer locator to find a retail outlet in your area. You can also find their kits at some of the other online retailers listed on this resource page.

Small DC Motors

  • All Electronics: - All Electronics sells a variety of DC Motors from smaller motors that run on 1.5V to more powerful motors that require 24V.
  • Edmund Scientific: They also sell various kits that explore different areas of science.
  • Radio Shack: Sell a limited number of small DC motors.
  • Tamiya: Manufacturer of radio control vehicles, small motors and gear boxes. They also sell wheels, wire control devices and other supplies that could be useful to Destination ImagiNation teams. You can order directly from their site but many local hobby shops also sell their products. The site has a dealer locator to help find a retailer in your area. Their gear and motor kits are nice because they generally contain a variety of cams and arms designed to fit the shafts of the gear boxes or motors.

Servos, Specialty Motors, Robotic Kits, Stepper Motors

Programmable ICs (PICS)

PICS are Programmable ICs. These devices take a while to master. However, once you master the programming and construct the correct interface PICs can perform a multitude of tasks. The Lego Mindstorm is a specific version of a programmable IC.

  • Arduino: Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform. This site is the main site for the Arduino community. There are links to companies that sell products based on the Arduino specifications.
  • DIY Electronics:: Manufacturer of kits (see above) but they also sell PIC programmers.
  • Lego Mindstorms: The Lego Mindstorm product is a specific version of a PIC with simplified interfaces for the younger user. Mindstorm products are available at most hobby and larger toy stores.
  • Parallax: (Makers of the the BASIC STAMP kit)
  • PIC Microcontrollers: - An online reference guide to PIC Microcontrollers.
  • Radio Shack: (They sell one of the BASIC STAMP kits made by Parallax.)


There are hundreds of websites dedicated to robotics. This is just a list of a couple that might be useful. Parallax, Lego Mindstorms and Tamiya also sell robot kits.

Other sites

  • Pitsco: This is a site primarily dedicated to technical equipment and teacher supplies. They have such a wide variety of things that the best thing for a team to do would be to browse the site and see the things that catch their eye. Keep in mind the advice at the top of this page about using unmodified packaged kits for your solution.
  • Teacher Geek: Teacher geek sells a variety of kits for learning (or teaching) electronics, hydraulics, etc.

"HOW TO" Websites

Electrical and General Reference Sites

Web Research Ideas

  • Search the web for haunted house sites. Many people who run haunted houses have details on how they constructed the devices in their haunted houses.
  • There are many hobbyist forums and sites they have information about assembling electronic kits, etc. 

Engineering Degrees

  •  Electrical Engineering Degrees -  A resource for new students listing in-depth information about electrical engineering careers in aerospace, oil and gas, and architecture.