We report on the application of the atomic force microscope (AFM) to manipulate and position nanometer‐sized particles with nanometer precision. The technique, which can be regarded as a nanometer‐scale analogy to atomic level manipulation with the scanning tunneling microscope, allowed us to form arbitrary nanostructures, under ambient conditions, by controlled manipulation of individual 30 nm GaAs particles. A whole new set of nanodevices can be fabricated particle‐by‐particle for studies of quantum effects and single electron tunneling. We also demonstrate a method, based on the AFM manipulation, to determine the true lateral dimensions of nano‐objects, in spite of the tip‐sample convolution. © 1995 American Institute of Physics.