Whether it’s for Christmas or someone’s Birthday, what gift do you get that Maker in your life? That depends on the Maker, their interests, experience, and what they already have. From new test equipment or a 3D printer, to tiny stocking fillers, we have highlighted a range of products from our friends so that you can find something to suit your Maker, and your budget!
All of these suppliers have many more awesome products, so be sure to check out the rest of their websites, too!
Goot Soldering Station
Most Makers need to solder at some point, and if they need to do it often, a soldering station is a must. This one is at the upper end of the price range, but for good reason. Goot is a quality Japanese manufacturer and has a reputation for very ‘usable’ gear. This soldering station has a comfortable lightweight pencil and soft, silicone cord. It has a wide temperature range, an easy ‘set/measure’ display, and cover over the control dial to prevent accidental changes. While some more recent stations have apparently better features like pushbuttons and LCD screens, this simpler station is so well made that one of the DIYODE team has personally owned one for over fourteen years. It’s still going as well as it was the day it was unboxed! You won’t get that from many brands.
AVAILABLE AT JAYCAR:
4 x 4 x 4 LED Cube Kit
If you want to keep your Maker occupied, this fiddly but rewarding kit might do the job. The circuit board itself is fairly simple. The challenge with this kit is assembling that 3D LED matrix in a neat, consistent way. It will take a lot of your Maker’s time and test their patience, but it will reward them with an awesome display when it’s done right. It requires an Arduino Uno or compatible board, which many Makers have already.
AVAILABLE AT JAYCAR:
micro:bit STEM Mini Smart Robot Kit
This robot is based on the awesome and very novice-friendly BBC micro:bit, which is a set of microcontroller, add-on modules, and software package that allows drag-and-drop programming and easy building. The robot is a combination of several standard items plus some custom parts, to make a two-wheel-plus-castor robot with ultrasonic and Infrared sensors, speaker, controllable RGB LEDs and a light sensor. You still need to buy a micro:bit main board, because these kits are designed for classrooms where some kids are programming their boards while others are testing. They just slot in and out!
AVAILABLE AT altronics:https://www.altronics.com.au/p/z6454-stem-microbit-mini-smart-robot-car-v2.0/
20 Piece Tool Kit
Do you have an emerging Maker that you’re shopping for? This is a great introductory toolkit for someone who has been exploring with making but has mainly stayed with the plug-and-play options. It contains all the basics: A multimeter, flat-blade and Philips screwdrivers, soldering iron and solder, desoldering pump, side cutters, small pliers, IC extractor, wire stripper, Allen keys and tweezers, all in a zippered case with elastic loops for everything. They’re entry level tools and not trade quality, but for beginners or those who just don’t use them daily, the quality is up to the job asked. All that for the price that even some mid-level multimeters cost on their own!
AVAILABLE AT altronics:
MaKey MaKey Genuine Kit
MaKey MaKey is a coding learning tool that stands out from the crowd of microcontroller kits, because it uses a regular computer! The MaKey MaKey kit plugs in via USB, and all of the ‘thinking’ is done on a computer with web-page based software. The kit allows you to use a variety of inputs and outputs, like a banana piano, or a pencil-drawn joystick. Everything connects with crocodile clips, so even a complete beginner with no prior knowledge can have a go and experience success. While aimed at kids, it would also suit adults approaching coding who have no experience with electronics in general.
AVAILABLE AT pakronics:
Arduino EDU Explore IoT Kit
This Arduino learning kit also stands out, because it explores the Internet of Things, a term to describe controlling real-world devices over the internet. The kit comes with a licence for the Arduino Cloud, so you don’t have to worry about making third-party IoT services work with your hardware. A range of lesson-type projects are included, as is all the hardware needed. You get an ArduinoWiFi board, IoT add-on board which has on it sensors for temperature and humidity; barometric pressure; accelerometer and gyroscope; ambient light, proximity, and gesture; five capacitive touch buttons; a buzzer; five RGB LED pixels; an LCD display; and two relays, all on one board with a battery holder! You also get separate sensors for a PIR and capacitive moisture sensor. Learn to make a weather station you can read on your phone, or activate projects remotely from anywhere in the world!
AVAILABLE AT pakronics:
Uno Arduino Compatible Starter Kit
The Uno R3 starter kit is perfect for the beginning Maker who is just starting out with microcontrollers. This might be a new Maker, or someone who has just not dabbled in coding. The kit contains an Arduino-compatible Uno, an 830-point breadboard, plus a healthy array of LEDs, resistors, pushbuttons, sensors, displays, motors, add-on modules, and jumper wires. Really, words do it far less justice than the photos. If you can’t see the details here, be sure to check Phipps Electronics’ website to have a zoomed-in look.
AVAILABLE AT phipps:
DS0138 Digital Oscilloscope Kit
An Oscilloscope for $65? Yes! It’s just a basic one, which is exactly what many Makers need. This one is a pre-assembled circuit board, which a kit case is assembled around by the builder. It does not require soldering. It uses crocodile clips instead of a real oscilloscope probe (those generally cost more than this whole unit!) It is powered from a 9V battery or external plugpack, has a built-in test signal, and a range of 0-200kHz. Its specifications don’t compare to full-sized oscilloscopes, but neither does the price! It costs less than a tenth of the cheapest benchtop oscilloscopes of the more familiar form. For someone who is not an engineer, that’s worth a few compromises! It will do everything many Makers ask of it.
AVAILABLE AT phipps:
LEDs, LEDs, LEDs!
All Makers love LEDs! There is just something about coloured lights that engage human attention. LEDsales have a few of the more ‘stocking filler’ type gifts in this year’s lineup (although their full range is anything but stocking fillers). With less to say about each one, we’ll talk about them together. First off is an LED assortment, but better! Most LED assortments have red, green, blue and yellow LEDs. This assortment is one hundred each of ten colours, for a total of one thousand 5mm waterclear LEDs! There is red, green, blue, yellow, white, warm white, yellow-green, pink, UV, and orange. That’s more than any other variety pack we’ve seen!
For a short project, the 9V torch is a great option. It clips to the top of 9V batteries that would be considered ‘flat’ in other uses, like smoke detectors, and has three light modes to choose from with a high-brightness LED output. As well as that, we chose several USB LED lights. These insert straight into a USB port, such as a small power bank. They’re touch-controlled, and there are cool white, warm white, and RGB versions. There is even a non-controlled white version for $0.50! At that price, you can buy twenty and leave them in every place you could possibly want one.
AVAILABLE AT LEDSALES:
USBLEDTSCW and USBLEDTSWW Warm and cool white $2.80
While element14 are mainly a commercial supplier, they do sell to the public, and they have some things that are hard to find elsewhere. The Peak Electronic Design DCA75 Semiconductor Analyser is a perfect example. This is a great addition to the workshop of any Maker who uses discrete components on a regular basis. It can tell you the specifications and pin-outs for thousands of devices, tell you if the device is functioning as it should, or help identify unlabeled devices. We bought one last year and wonder how we ever did without it! Because element14 imports these on a regular basis rather than in big batches, the price varies with exchange rate and there are sometimes multiple listings, which is why we quoted a price range.
AVAILABLE AT element14:
Creality LD-002R Resin Printer
This bargain-priced entry-level printer sets a new standard for the entry-point into resin printing, which was previously closer to double. If you want full details, we have a review on it, too. Build volume and features are around typical for this type of machine, and resin 3D printing is a very different experience to traditional FDM printing that is more familiar. Because of this, and the fact that you’ll probably be better off with a wash and cure machine as well, it’s best to double-check with your Maker before surprising them with any resin printer!
AVAILABLE AT AURARUM:
Creality CR10S Pro V2 3D Printer
This is a more traditional 3D printer, but with a very impressive build volume and for its price, great quality. We bought one of these for the DIYODE workshop and loved it. It has a 300mm x 300mm x 400mm high build volume, easy touch-screen interface, and supports a variety of filament types. In addition to that, all manner of upgrades and spares are available from genuine Creality and third-party aftermarket options. Many printers with similar print size and specifications start at double the price. Need we say more?
AVAILABLE AT AURARUM:
CR10S Pro V2 $714.95