Behold: The SparkFun Custom Kit Marketplace

We've launched a new way for educators (or anyone, really) to tailor our products to their needs.

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For the past few years, SparkFun has been helping some of the top engineering schools create custom hardware kits for their courses. With increased demand for these specialized kits, we decided to offer this option as a simple online process for all educators who want to tailor materials to their needs. Custom kits are great for classrooms, summer camps or any place where you need a quantity of specific materials for groups or individuals.

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The aim of the Custom Kit Marketplace is to allow a professor, instructor or group (or partner, distributor or customer) to choose from over 2000 items to make a unique kit for a class or event. Once the kit request has been approved, a new part number will be assigned to the kit and posted on a custom page where students or individuals are able to purchase it.

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Northeastern University custom kits in action

Several educators have already leveraged the marketplace for their classes; here’s what two educators from Northeastern University have to say:

One project my students built based on our custom kit is an interactive, electronic game, puzzle, or educational exhibit. Each team’s project is installed for an afternoon at the Boston Children’s Museum, where all museum attendees can enjoy it.


“With the SparkFun kit, the students are able to build mini versions of what they see in the real world. We do activities such as building a thermostat, a traffic light with the pedestrian control, an intruder alarm. My students also use the kit to enhance their open-ended final term museum exhibit project themed in resiliency. Some of the projects are a passive solar house, post-earthquake recovery motion sensor and a solar powered backpack.”

We hope this new service makes life easier; learn more about how the process works or create your own kit at our Custom Kit Marketplace!

This way to the marketplace


Comments 9 comments

  • I really like this service. One suggestion: Can you make it an option to publicly list the kit so others can see what you have assembled? Include a short description such as “beginning learning electronics” or “advanced robotics”. That way other people can select the same kit if it meets their needs or use it as a starting point for their own kit. Often your first kit will leave something out and by starting with another kit, hopefully it will reduce these oversights.

    Personally, I want to start with my wishlist pre-loaded with the parts from a tinker kit, remove a few parts, and then add some others.

    Also you might want to ask what parts people would add to the list if you carried them. If the same part keeps reappearing, it may lead to additional inventory items to sell. Use the kit tool to discover what to sell.

    • Thanks for the suggestion. In the past we’ve done a lot of Universities and special things like summer camps. A few years ago we did a custom kit for Mesa which was the Mini SIK with a pair of motors and a motor driver added. After a while we decided to add it to our catalog and that is how the Tinker Kit was born. Usually a school or teacher will start with a standard kit and then add or subtract a few parts to fit their needs.

      Because most of these kits never end up with a customer facing page, linking them isn’t really possible at the moment. But our current kit offerings are a good spot to start with for building your own kits. Also, you can feel free to email us and we can help you find a starting place in our catalog.

    • Hey Peter, thanks for the suggestion! We do currently make the custom kits available for purchase on the website. However, we only produce the quantity requested by the kit-maker and we want to ensure that there is enough stock for that group, so we don’t advertise those kits. If you would like to speak with someone about how to get a custom kit started, feel free to email customkits@sparkfun.com.

  • This sounds awesome! I agree with peter, it’d be 1000x as awesome (+/- 5%) if you would (at least optionally for the creators) make the kits publicly accessible, at least as a list of parts to automatically add all at once to your cart, wishlist, etc. Then the most popular ones could be adopted into full fledged proper kits! You could let the creators design the page with images and a description of the kit, with an automatically included parts list with links to individual parts, and a button to add all of them to your cart or wishlist. Basically crowdsourcing kit design for you! This would be so awesome, I know I’d get some of them to try (and probably create some, if it’s opened up to people who don’t already have a school class or anything set up.)

    • Hi! Thanks for your feedback, we are currently working on making this an option and we will keep you updated as soon as we launch this new part of the program!

  • The link to Boston Children’s Museum is generating a 404 from SparkFun’s web page…

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