Computers & Mobile Craft & Design Technology

Where do you get that special something for that special project if you aren’t quite sure what it is or where to get it? Why the MIT Flea Market, of course!

The MIT Radio Society, in conjunction with the MIT UHF Repeater Association, the MIT Electronics Research Society, and the Harvard Wireless Club, sponsors a Swapfest on the third Sunday of each month, April through October. This is a place to buy, sell, and swap amateur radio, electronic, and computer equipment. Hams and non-hams alike are welcome.

I spent the day on Sunday looking through bin upon bin of connectors, resistors, capacitors, transistors, LEDs, antique electronics, and more. Over the course of the morning, I bumped into a few friends and made a few new acquaintances. My original quest was to get some birthday schwag for a party later in the day, but eventually, I started shopping for my own hardware needs. I could have gotten more, but three trips back to the car seemed to be enough.

It is refreshing to see so many people looking for supplies and tools to do creative projects. These days, people who have extra ‘treasures’ adorning their caves can jettison their surplus in more ways, but there is fortunately still a way to sell and buy in person. There was definitely a healthy exchange of ideas and the excitement of a great unanticipated find was definitely in the air.

What is your all time best find at the MIT Flea or similar tech-styled exchange? Where are the other places you look for and find great supplies and ideas for projects?


8 thoughts on “GeekCycling at the MIT Flea Market

  1. I used to dumpster dive stuff and sell it at MIT. I met a lot of really fantastically creative people there. It’s one of the things I miss the most since I moved to California… (My last swapfest, I sold EVERYTHING, including the table that had served me well during my years of selling.)

  2. I was selling at Sunday’s Flea. Always a good time with interesting people. The fact that the weather was great helped bring out a lot of people. Andy Ihnatko was there, taking lots of photos as usual (check out his flickr sets for AWESOME pics of objects at the Flea at times past). Jimmie Rodgers was on the hunt for things to buy, so he didn’t bring any of his heart kits to sell. If you want to dive into the punky geekness in Boston, make it out to the Flea at MIT.

  3. coolest thing i’ve seen there so far was a military-grade, 60kg word processor. it had a badass “2 man lift” warning on one side and a big red button behind a clear switch guard labeled “emergency erase”

    by far most of the stuff i bought wasnt even on my shopping list “:3

  4. There are 3 swaps in Southern California on Saturdays throughout the month, I maintain a site with information about them here:

    http://www.destruc.tv/socalswaps/

    Lots of vacuum tubes, HAM gear, old computers, printers, and parts-a-plenty to be found and to find inspiration from here.

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Making things is the best way to learn about our world.

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