Hacker Resources

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Below are links to various hacker resources including where to find projects, software, hardware, materials and other. Think of it as the ultimate hacker link dump.

(I'm considering breaking this up into several pages as this could get unruly quick.)

Hacker/Maker Project Websites

  • Hackspace Very similar to Make, but published by the Raspberry Pi company. You can download the PDF of any issue for free.
  • Make Magazine - Projects of every kind.
  • Hackaday - Electronics focused hacks but many others too.
  • Instructables - Thousands of makers put their projects here.
  • Reddit r/DIY - r/maker, etc. Redditors that are makers.
  • GitHub - Open source software and other files for projects including non-software design.
  • SourceForge - Open source software.
  • Google Code - Code repository by google.
  • Thingiverse - Download files for 3D printing, laser cutting, and other making.
  • GrabCAD - Like thingiverse but with more of an engineering and CAD bent.
  • Sketchup - Google Skethup has tons of models. Especially architectural and furniture.
  • FABforall - A 3D and CAD file aggregator. Search all the model sites at once.
  • Maker Pro - an active, open source platform for maker projects much like Hack A Day. These projects are centered around Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel Edison, home automation and more.

Hacker/Maker Software

Electronics Design

  • EagleCAD - The circuit design standard. Costs $69.
  • Frizing - A bit like Eagle but open source and more for diagramming and presentation than actual design file output.
  • circuits.io - Web-based design and open market place. You can order a PCB of your design from them.
  • Circuitlab - Circuit design and emulation in your web browser as well as sharing.
  • KiCAD - A little tougher to learn, but very open source.


  • Arduino - Software for your Arduino board.
  • Propeller - The Parallax board programming software.
  • Netduino - .NET but not Arduino.
  • Energia - IDE for Texas Instruments chips and Arduino.


  • Sketchup - Google developed CAD software. The free version is popular with many makers.
  • OpenSCAD - Programming based CAD software. Some HackRVA members use this one.
  • AutoCAD / 123D Design - ACAD's free 3D tool.
  • Solidworks - Expensive but the standard in mechanical engineering.
  • Tinkercad - Free, browser based. Nice tutorial. It is a starter CAD, and used by schools.
  • FreeCAD - Free and open source.

3D Printer Software

Website Design

  • Wordpress - Easy to use and widespread. Content is separate from design, so you can change the look of a website by changing the theme. Many free themes are available.
  • Popcorn Maker - Mozilla's software for video mashup.
  • paper.js - processing.js - Animated webgraphics without Flash.
  • Zen Cart - Open source online store software.

Media Tools/Videogames/Creative Coding

  • GIMP - Opensource answer to photoshop.
  • Graphics Gayle - Pixel art editor.
  • Blender - Solid open source 3D animation and modeling software. Very powerful. Lots to learn.
  • Sculptris - 3D sculpting software
  • Audacity - Sound file editor.
  • Fruityloops - Music maker and editor. Free demo.
  • Pure Data - Visual programming for musicians.
  • Monkey Jam - Decent simplistic stop motion animation tool. Junk download site, click with care.
  • Construct 2 - Free version to make basic HTML5 video games fast. Good intro tutorial.
  • Processing - Graphics and animations. Easy to learn.
  • openFrameworks.cc - C++ libraries with Processing-type goals. Use for Arduino, computer vision, etc.
  • Cinder - Like openFrameworks but more complicated. Better performance and results though.
  • Godot - Game development platform. Free, Open source, no royalties. Community is growing.
  • Unity - Game development platform. Free, Open source, no royalties. Great community.

Where to Buy Things

Around Richmond


  • Arduino - The original Ardiuno including code repository.
  • Adafruit Industries - Kits, Arduinos, shields, components.
  • Eaton Electronics - Eaton offers a broad range of electronics components that include power magnetics, circuit protection, supercapacitor and terminal block products.
  • Sparkfun - Robotics, Kits, Arduinos, shields, components.
  • Pololu - Robotics, Kits, Arduinos, shields, components.
  • HobbyKing - RC focus but many items for UAV and Robotics. Good place to find deals.
  • Tower Hobbies - RC but also good for lasercutter wood.
  • Digi-Key - Electronics wholesaler with a comprehensive selection of chips, components, and accessories.
  • Jameco - Broad selection of electronics components.
  • Mouser - General electronic components dealer. Especially good for ribbon cable connectors.
  • Global Laminates - Bulk machinable PCB stock.
  • Battery Junction - all kinds of batteries.
  • PEI Genesis - Custom connector & cable solutions for harsh environments.
  • Big Zeta - Find electronic products and resources. Use keyword search or parametric search.


  • OnlineMetals.com - Lots of metal.
  • Inventables - A wide array of materials for hackers.
  • McMaster-Carr - All things hardware and mechanical. From basic metal stock to sprockets and specialty screws.
  • MSC - Similar to McMaster-Carr but with some some item variation including a machinery section.
  • Ponoko - A site that emphasizes a build to design factory, but has a good sheet materials catalog.
  • Smooth-On - All things molding and casting. Lots of good tutorials for their products.
  • US Plaster - for plaster casting.
  • Seattle Fabrics - Outdoor fabrics and related hardware including nylon, ripstop, and vinyl.
  • Woodcraft - Has retail stores in VA, but their online store is worth visiting too.
  • RoboMetals - Many unique metal products.
  • MetalsDepot - More metal.
  • [http://www.speedymetals.com/ SpeedyMetals - online only, good prices on metals
  • Uline - Lasercutter carboard and other stuff.
  • MachinableWax - A website to buy... machinable wax.
  • Becon Graphics - Cast vinyl and other materials.
  • Smallparts.com - Now Amazon Industrial, Business, and Scientific Supplies. Is pretty much what it sounds like.
  • Mountain Glass - Glass, kilns, glass tools.
  • Trace Parts - Specialized parts for robotics and ME.
  • Devlies Plastics - plastic source recommended by MAKE magazine.
  • PLACEHOLDER - need a good regional vendor for acrylic and other larger poly sheet material.

Equipment, Machinery, Tools, & Tooling

3D Printers

  • Ultimaker - Maker of our most used 3d printer.
  • Prntrbot Jr - At least one HackRVA member has owned this affordable printer and is satisfies.
  • RepRap - One of the originals
  • Lulzbot - A 3D printer company that has given away printers to hackerspaces. Hackaday says its a good printer.
  • Makerbot Replicator - The old HackRVA primary 3D printer They are still around. Our printer is dead, and is being rebuilt as a RepRap.
  • [www.prusa3d.com Prusa] We have one in use, and another that is is some stage of being rebuilt. Available built or as a kit, or you can 3D print many of the parts.


  • BIG SECRET - based in Richmond laser cutting for prototypes and products.
  • FabHub - a resource for finding fabricators.
  • 100kgarages - A maker-centric manufacturing resource. It's been promoted by Make and others. But Still not sure if it's become what it was supposed to be.
  • Ponoko - 3D printing, laser cutting.
  • Shapeways - 3D printing in over 30 materials, including metals and ceramics.
  • Kraftwurx - 3D printing. Site still in beta so we'll see if it works out. Widest material selection.
  • OSH Park - has become the defacto place for makers to order custom circuit boards in the US.
  • circuits.io - Web-based design and open market place. You can order your board design from them.
  • PCB Fab Express - (Many different PCB prototype shops out there.)
  • ThomasNet - A website with lots of manufacturers and a laborious search option.
  • MFG.com - Similiar toThomasNet but I haven't used it as much. It is said to be good.

Training & Learning Websites

  • Treehouse - Learn web and iOS design in a gamified environment.
  • Scratch - Programming for kids from MIT.
  • MIT App Inventor - Make Android apps with drag and drop programming.
  • Alice - Learning programming through story telling.
  • Happy Nerds - A pile of resources for kids to explore computing.
  • Electronics Point - active electrical engineering online community that provides both interesting content and useful resources for Electrical Engineers.
  • EE Power Textbook - Great power focused textbook on the Basic Principles of Power Electronics.


Free To View Online
Not Free But Still Good
  • The Nature of Mathematical Modeling, Gershenfeld
  • The Physics of Information Technology, Gershenfeld
  • Fab: The Coming Revolution on Your Desktop--from Personal Computers to Personal Fabrication, Gershenfeld
  • Programming and Customizing the AVR Microcomputer, Dhananjay Gadre
  • Practical Electronics for Inventors, Paul Scherz
  • Electric Motors and Their Controls: An Introduction, Tak Kenjo
  • Electric Motors and Control Techniques, Irving M. Gottleib
  • Analog Interfacing to Embedded Microprocessor Systems, Stuart
  • Linux Cookbook, Carla Schroder
  • AVR: An Introductory Course, John Morton
  • Handbook of Modern Sensors: Physics, Designs and Applications, Jacob Fraden
  • Precision Machine Design, Alexander Slocum
  • The Art of Electronics, Paul Horowitz, Winfield Hill
  • Learning Python, Second Edition, Mark Lutz, David Ascher
  • Python in a Nutshell, Alex Martelli
  • Building Scientific Apparatus, John Moore, et al