Additional Useful Parts and Tools

Originally written on August 22, 2014 by Tom Igoe
Last modified on August 22, 2014 by Tom Igoe

If you want more than the basics listed on the Basic parts page, here are some suggestions. You don’t have to buy these, but if you get more serious about physical computing after the intro class, some of these may be useful.

Some of these are things you’ll use so often, they’re worth having all the time. Others are not recommended unless you’re setting up a home shop, or planning to continue with physical computing on your own. These are our recommended parts, which we usually buy through Jameco. Feel free to replace with your own as you see fit. These item numbers are provides as a reference, so you can look them up on Jameco and get a useful range for each tool.

Useful tools for Intro users

Item Vendor Part No. Cost Notes
miniature Philips/flathead screwdriver Jameco 127271 $1.49 This one is handy, with tips on both ends.
5″ Diagonal Wire Cutter Jameco 161411 $6.95
Wire stripper, 22-30 AWG Jameco 159290 $8.95
Flat needlenose pliers Jameco 35473 $4.95
Drillbits, 7/64″, 1/8″, 5/16″, 1/4″ These sizes are the ones you’ll need most often for wood, plastic, and thin metal. Most hardware stores will carry them for less than a dollar each.

Optional tools, useful for more dedicated users

Item Vendor Part No. Cost Notes
IC Extractor Jameco 16766 $3.95
Alligator Leads Jameco 10444 $3.29
Digital Multimeter Jameco 136590 $69.95 This is a top-of-the-line meter, but much cheaper digital multimeters will do fine for most applications.
Third Hand Soldering Aid Jameco 26690 $5.95 You need something like this when soldering, because you have three things to hold.
Wire 22AWG solid core hookup wire is best for breadboards. I keep a roll of black, red, and one or two other colors on hand.
21AWG lead-free solder Digikey KE1351-ND $15.90 Get the lead-free solder, even though it’s more expensive; it’s better for your lungs. This size roll can last an individual years.
xacto kit Jameco 72768 $9.95
glue gun Jameco 72696 $9.95
Toolbox K-Mart, etc. You don’t need a big heavy metal toolbox. Fishing tackle boxes because the tiny compartments work great for resistors and things but a Tupperware container or shoe box would work fine

Below is a list of commonly used parts not already mentioned in the intro parts:

Project Box (to fit prototyping board)
This is a box to protect your project. It fits your prototyping board, and you knock holes in it for your cables to come out of. There are many options, best to pick one that your breadboard fits inside of comfortably, with room for electronic components to stick out. Tupperware with holes in it works quite well (called a “milmoe box” at ITP, in honor or Andrew Milmoe, who perfected the technique following a horrible sandwich disaster).

  • Radio Shack RSU11907656
  • Multiple Jameco options such as Jameco 18905
  • Staples pencil boxes

DC power supply (5-9V DC and 700-1500mA)

  • Radio Shack 273-1758 (6V 800mA)
  • Radio Shack 273-1667 (3-12V, 800mA)
  • Multiple Jameco options such as:
    • Jameco 170245 (12V, 1000mA) Available at the NYU computer store.

5V DC Voltage Regulator (7805 regulator)
You can get this at Radio Shack, or Jameco (51262). There are also some available for use in the lab.

Power supply connector
This is a connector to connect your power supply to your breadboard. You should get the one that mates with whatever power supply you buy. You won’t need it for the Arduino alone.

  • Radio Shack Cat. no. 910-0908 mates with 2.1mm x 5.5mm female connectors
  • Jameco 159610 mates with 2.1mm x 5.5mm female connectors. Available at the NYU Computer store

The Hobbico cs-61 servomotor is available at the NYU computer store.

Cable Ties available in the lab

1K Ohm Resistors, 1/4 watt available in the lab
10K Ohm Resistors, 1/4 watt available in the lab
220 Ohm Resistors, 1/4 watt available in the lab
22K Ohm resistors, 1/4 watt available in the lab
LED’s available in the lab
Switch find a store-bought one, or better yet, make your own
Variable resistor find a store-bought one. The NYU computer store carries Flex sensors, which are good fun, and other sensors as well.