DIY Project Parts Lists; Web Services for “Instant Project Kits”

August 12, 2007

Over the last year, I’ve been reading a lot of DIY electronics sites: Make Magazine’s Blog, www.hackaday.com, www.uchobby.com, and quite a few others. I’ve read through many project descriptions, and through many, many project parts lists.

Something has been missing from nearly all of the parts lists I’ve read, however. Nearly none of the projects provide “kits” to build the project, and surprisingly few projects even provide links to links to individual part sources. Many provide only a simple plain text list of parts, perhaps including Jameco or Digikey parts numbers.

This startled me, simply because I’m so accustomed to the ubiquitous ‘Amazon’ links at the end of every book review, and nearly every CD and DVD review, I read.

I’ve looked around the web some, and there doesn’t seem to be a seem to be a way to create an “Instant Kit”, to add a shopping list of items to your cart, at any shopping site I’ve seen, even non-electronics sites such as Amazon. Such an “Instant Kit” creator seems like the perfect thing for Amazon or Google-Shopping to create, or for DIY sites like Instructables to integrate into their project instructions.

If this really doesn’t exist, then I think it’s time for someone to write one. Maybe me.

To be at all useful, I believe an “Instant Kit” creator would need to deal with two questions fundamental to shopping from an ingredients list, the questions I ask myself every time I go to the grocery store with a shopping list in hand:

  • Which of the item on the list do I already have?
  • Which items on my shopping list should I buy at store A, and which at store B? This encompasses a lot of smaller questions about item availability at particular store, price comparisons between stores, store minimum orders.
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