the USA is to be considered as a civilised country where parts should be no issue indeed.
Stock problems can happen at any time and indeed: this can take long. When we see this at the Velleman back order list, we sigh but other companies are not better. There are connectors we have in back order at Velleman that will be here around X-mas … But at another supplier we have a few 1000 special leds in backorder of which we should be happy when we have them mid january. Some other supplier had to deliver us 100 cables since beginning of august. This took 3 deliveries of which the last one (12 pcs) arrived here last week. And still we should be calm and keep breathing slowly in and slowly out … Stock is a major problem I also have problems with. So I understand your frustration completely. With all the technical possibilities we have, a lot of these problems should be avoidable.
I don’t know how many deliveries go from Velleman Belgium to Velleman USA per month but within a few weeks you should be able to have your board. If someone of Velleman staff is reading this, please check internally?
It is possible that your distributor does not have heard of it because it is not on the Velleman website. However: if he contacts his account manager at Velleman, he should be able to order this for you. Of course, this takes some extra manual work for your distributor … and not every shop/distributor is willing to do that.
Indeed: that plastic set is large and contains parts that are very unlikely to fail while others are sensitive to wear, like the big gear you mention. My personal opinion is also that a set of these gears should be seperately available at a lower price of course. You can print them also yourself but I’ve never seen results of it so I don’t know if this is good hint to give. However, I’m printing already more than 1 year very regularly and the wear of the big gear is very minimal (I use teflon oil, I must admit and also making the link between the small and big gear a bit looser caused much less wear).
If you have specific parts your distributor can’t/won’t order for you, just check at Velleman directly if they are available.
Keep us informed of your progress.