Note: We use a lot of standard hobby RC electronics from RC cars, drones, and planes. Amazon and Ebay are often great places to get common hobby RC parts like chargers, radios/receivers, ESCs, batteries, and more. However, there are a million specialized stores for these things that many in RC hobbies swear by. This list is NOT all-inclusive, it is a collection of ones I personally have used or been recommended to use.
I sell some parts you won’t find anywhere else on my own web store like my PCB products and DartBox gearmotors, and much more recently started offering my very own Beelteweight Robot Kit! But if you want to custom build a bot, you’ll definitely need to shop elsewhere too!
Amazon: Pretty great selection of all the parts you can find ‘anywhere’ and generally good prices. I use Amazon extremely often due to the fast turnaround and free no-questions-asked returns. My videos will often include Amazon Affiliate links to products in descriptions. I love Amazon for their return policy - sometimes you need to experiment with a few different parts before deciding on one, and the no-questions-asked returns let you get your money back without any hassle. Plus it hurts less to buy a $100+ transmitter knowing if anything is wrong you can just return it!
Hobbyking: China (with US warehouse for some items) Hobbyking has some of the best item search filtering of any store. It is extremely useful for narrowing down your options to a very specific motor or ESC or battery. You might find it then on Amazon or another state-side source for faster shipping. [warning: parts often get discontinued without warning. If it’s only sold here, be warned when looking for spares months and years down the line!]
Ebay: Many of the parts on Ebay will ship direct from China, often cheaper and with bulk discounts not offered on other sites, but not always. Usually if I find something on Ebay or a Chinese site that sounds too good to be true for the price, I’ll google it to see if there is another store carrying it, and cross reference specifications with the manufacturer’s site to ensure it isn’t total BS. I have gotten great deals buying from legitimate hobby stores Ebay seller accounts, often bulk discounts making the order cheaper than buying direct from their site (HeliDirect and RobotMatter for example)
Banggood: China (with US warehouse for some items) Warning: this is a lot like Wish or AliExpress or Ebay, sellers can write whatever specs they want in a description field and you never know how legitimate these are! Also expect loooong shipping times for items not in a US warehouse. I have wanted 58 days for an order before. However, the prices here often can’t be beat!
AliExpress: Basically the same as Banggood, though with a wider selection of parts both useful and… well… questionable. Often you can find great deals on brushless ESCs and motors here and even some that may be out of stock elsewhere if you are willing to wait a long time for shipping. You can also find oddball (mainly metric) hardware here for cheap - just don’t expect alloy steel or high-quality materials.
McMaster Carr: Mechanical parts, US only. Best source for screws, metal and plastic stock, specialized bearings, and hardware bar none. They have an insane selection of gears, pulleys, belts, basically all the things. Practically every serious US bot building competitor and engineering firm uses them. McMaster is also a good place to get CAD models of off-the-shelf components. They have CAD files of nearly every part in their catalog. It should be noted that they are not the cheapest source for anything they sell, but they offer overnight shipping to most places and are unbelievably reliable, with fantastic customer service.
Robotics Stores - Kits, Mechanical and Electrical Parts, Wheels, and more
Fingertech: They have a huge selection and are probably the most well known name in Combat Robot retail. Wheels, hubs, pulleys, belts, Viper antweight kits, Beater Bar kits, ant and beetle weapon blades, batteries, chargers, raw titanium, steel or plastic sheets…. Also home to the most popular insect weight switch option. You name it! This is a Canadian company so expect shipping to be $8 or more USD and take a while. Run by Kurtis Wanner, a fellow bot builder. Many of their parts come with CAD models which is great for designing a bot.
Repeat Robotics: A newer store run by Peter Garnache, builder of many competitive insect robots and team member for the Battlebots WCVII bot Horizon. Repeat Robotics specializes in drive motors for antweights and beetles with their Repeat Mini antweight motors, and Repeat Max beetle drive motors, one of the best options on the market (as of March 2023). If you want to build a 1lb bot, the Repeat Mini Brushed motors are a much better replacement for FT Silver Sparks for the same money! Peter is also working on a beetle kit based on his 3lb drisk robot Ablation.
Turnabot: This family owned and run business is pretty heavily specialized on 150g robot kits and parts, and they even sell a 150g arena to fight them in! They have some of the cheapest combat robot kits you'll find anywhere with durable quality components.
The Robot Marketplace: This is another site that has some Fingertech products based in the US, but they also have a big selection of other mechanical and electrical goodies of all stripes. Run by fellow Battlebots competitor Jim Smentowski of Nightmare and Breaker Box.
Robotshop: This is a US distributor for Fingertech products, often it will be cheaper to buy from them in the US. They also have tons of their own stuff. Massive selection of educational robotics stuff, though some of it can be pricey.
Rectified Robotics: yet another source of brushless drive kits, this store is run by former WPI students from Team Ribbot on Battlebots. They sell a popular dual brushed motor ESC called the DDC ESC. They also have some other things for sale.
OwObotics: Based in the UK, beetleweight brushless kit supplier, run by Gus Collier. A small selection of parts for combat robotics including drive motors, weapons, oddball parts and merchandise. OwObotics also offers design and manufacturing services, and regularly runs group buys of cut AR parts in the UK.
Botkits: Home of the extremely well-known D2 “Dozer 2” beetle wedge kit, and the Candy Wasp fairy kit. Their battle-hardened botkits gearmotors are often used stock or converted to brushless for other beetleweights.
Servocity: Huge name in the robotics world, this site was one of the first I ever used. They have a fantastic mechanical parts selection for pulleys, gears, chain sprockets, servos (duh), motors, etc. Not usually the cheapest source but they have an awesome selection. Offer educational discounts if you are a university team. Many of their parts come with CAD models which is great for designing a bot.
Vex Robotics: This is a site specializing in First Robotics parts and such, they have a great selection of mechanical parts with CAD models and amazing documentation. They have cheap brushed speed controllers that work for 3lb bots when modified following this guide by Sawblaze captain Jamison Go (MC29s). They also carry a large amount of hardware that can be useful for 3lb+ bots. Their Versaplanetary gearboxes powered the drive on my first two 30lb bots. The main thing I would look at here is the hardware, gearboxes, gears, hex shafting, and for huge brushed motors, ESCs like the Talon SRX.
Banebots: A go-to shop for gearboxes for larger bots (12lb +) and Colson wheels before many other stores cropped up. Their P6, P7 and P8 (formerly P60, P80, etc) power many a large robot, and the P80s are the gearboxes used for Bloodsport and Skorpios for drive. They offer a huge range of custom gear ratios for their gearboxes. Banebots also has a full complement of wheels for 1-30lb bots. The T40 and T81 wheels are heavy for insect bots, but are very sturdy and can take a beating. When run on a proper dead shaft, they can survive most anything.
Andymark: Yet another FRC/Vex robotics focussed store, but with another amazing selection of wheels and mechanical components, as well as 57 Sport planetary gearboxes for larger robots. Their ‘stealth wheels’ were the option I used for my second 30lb robot.
Rev Robotics: Run by builders of Battlebots Season 6 & 7 robot Switchback, this company is based entirely around First Robotics (FRC and FTC) so mainly useful for larger bots. They have a selection of mechanical components that may be useful for combat bots as well. They have stackable planetary gearboxes that may be useful for some in combat.
Bristol Bot Builders: UK store run by the roboteers behind BBB events and the Two-Headed Death Flamingo heavyweight. Stocks components for UK ants, beetles and feathers. They have excellent guides for wiring up your bot!
Absolute Chaos Robotics: A relatively new player in this space, run by Ryan Clingman who is known for building the vicious undercutter bot Portable Apocalypse, ACR sells 3lb, 1lb, and 150g robot kits based on that design - the Jolt, Spark, and Shock kits respectively. While they are known to be extremely hard to drive they have powerful spinners and lead to chaotic damaging fights. They also sell a variety of Beetleweight drive components and are working on more kits in the future.
AvidRC: A great supplier of insect weight bearings, they have high quality metric and imperial bearings in sizes smaller than 17mm for very cheap prices. Small bearings are ~$1 each and ceramic bearings are ~$5.
Rev Robotics sells the NEO 550 motor, one of the smallest sensored brushless motors on the market
RC Hobby and Drone Stores
Great source of radios, chargers, batteries, and other expensive electronics with good return policies and search filtering
Maytech - Bloodsport used these ESCs for Season 4 & 5
Trampa - Many Battlebots use the VESC ESCs from this company