Below are a handful of sites of places I frequent when I go on the prowl looking for parts. Although I currently live in Houston, you might find yourself fortunate to find some of these places in your hometown. If you have a link you’d like to post here, please by all means let me know in the comments and I’ll post them here.
National Chains / Online distributors
Fry’s Electronics – They have a good selection of computer and non-computer parts, electronic components and is a pretty good place to go to when you need parts that you can’t find at other places and don’t feel like shopping online.
RadioShack – I know I’m going to lose karma for even mentioning them, but they have started turning back towards the homebrew DIY’er, offering more parts and components that still make them worth mentioning. Along with the more parts, they have sided with Parallax and are now stocking some of their sensors and components for sale locally.
Parallax, Inc. – The guys that brought us the Basic Stamp Microcontroller and Propeller have now widened their product availability with a large amount of sensors, components, hardware and other parts and components. I have done business with this company and they were always willing to help a person out. Their peer-support forums are friendly and filled with a large population of homebrew DIYers like myself.
DigiKey Int’l – If you are in no rush to complete your project and you want to make sure you get the right part for the job, Digikey has over 1,500 categories to choose from and an online catalog you can spend weeks browsing through.
Local Places (to Houston, TX)
Houston Goodwill Computerworks – Although recently their prices are climbing, this place was the place to go to get good deals on cheap hardware. They stock primarily older Dell and HP equipment, but every now and then you can score some pretty good prices on oddball hardware.
EPO Houston – This is a little mom and pop store in west central Houston, TX that is a fantastic place to get oddball hardware and things that you wouldn’t find at most chain stores. They don’t do any online sales but their staff at their office on Fondren are always willing to help someone out.