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I have some projects in mind, some of them under development, and I want to design PCBs for them with little SMD components. So I have been choosing some of the ones I need in websites like Digikey or Farnell, but they charge an incredible amount of shipping costs if the total cost is less than 50 euros, and some of my projects just need components with a total of 3-5 euros.

Does anyone know how or where to buy the big variety of components that can be found in those sites? The most of the electronic shops only have common chips and usually not in SMD/SMT version. So I need some specialization as the other ones.

I was wondering if there exists any association of hobbyist in Europe (I am in Spain) or anywhere that accumulates multiple orders till there are no shipping costs, and then resend the individual orders to each one.

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closed as off-topic by Trevor_G, Leon Heller, duskwuff, Marcus Müller, DerStrom8 Mar 26 '18 at 18:51

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    \$\begingroup\$ Many hobbyists get away with cheap counterfeits with free shipping from China... \$\endgroup\$ – Eugene Sh. Mar 26 '18 at 17:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ I know where I can buy them with free delivery but I've no idea whether that helps you without knowing where you are. \$\endgroup\$ – Finbarr Mar 26 '18 at 17:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Finbarr Sorry, I edited and added my location to the question. I am in Spain. \$\endgroup\$ – Jaime_mc2 Mar 26 '18 at 17:09
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    \$\begingroup\$ If you know you are likely to use a lot of chip X, buy 25 of them instead of 2, and get the discount. Or 1000 10K resistors. Do that for a few line items and you (a) hit the free shipping point (b) save a lot on your next project and (c) have a time-saving stock of useful parts. \$\endgroup\$ – Brian Drummond Mar 26 '18 at 17:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ I never have trouble finding stuff to order that I could need, I have more problems staying within budget \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Mar 26 '18 at 18:34
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The way I did it was to order other stuff I will need at some point to go over the minimum amount.

For the first project, that shouldn't be a problem at all. You will need

  • solder paste (ideally, both a syringe and a larger container)
  • flux
  • non-magnetic tweezers of various sizes

These alone bring you close to the threshold in many cases. Also, I've found that it's a good idea to standardize on one size of SMD two-pin passives, and get a book with 20 of each value (resistors at least, capacitors are useful if you build lots of filters), and if one value runs out (most likely 33Ω and 10kΩ) to get an entire reel.

Some other standard items that are always good to order are the components required for buck converters (i.e. a few controller ICs, inductors, diodes and capacitors) because almost every project will need a power supply.

After the third project, all I need to order now are project specific items that are generally specific enough to be costly on their own, and smaller projects like Arduino clones with a few peripherals I can do with just my regular stock.

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