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The venerable Heathkit served generations of hobbyists and engineers alike of all ages. Its doors may be shut, but you can still build circuits and equipment yourself at home in your workshop, thanks to companies like SparkFun. Download Communications Editor Lou Frenzel's history of Heathkit as well as his look at SparkFun, its heir apparent.
This article originally appeared in Electronic Design's 10-04-2012 edition. It does not map well to the web so download the PDF version to see it in its entirety.