Merry Making

Gift ideas for makers

DIYODE Magazine

Issue 41, December 2020

It's that time of year again, and after the year that was, many of us are looking forward to Christmas and holidays more than ever before. Here are just a few ideas for Christmas giving to the makers in your life. Or maybe to yourself?

Economy 40W Soldering Station

For the budding maker, this soldering station is perfect as your first. It's basic but functional, with a dial control for temperature: No mistakes or pushing the wrong button, just turn the dial and that's where the temperature goes. At 40W, it's more than adequate for regular circuit boards and reasonable hook-up wire. It has a silicone lead, too, so when (not if) you accidentally cross it over the iron, it won't melt immediately.



T2090 $68.95

Discover Electronics Kit

For someone getting into electronics for the first time, the Discover Electronics Kit from Adafruit looks like a great place to start. The kit contains a prototyping breadboard, battery pack, an extensive range of electronic components, and wires. The manual is well illustrated and describes how each circuit works. There are also supporting videos online to watch as you build.



ADA487 $138.94

Short Circuits Vol. 1 Project Kit

If you have younger potential makers to consider this year, the Short Circuits series from Jaycar has been around for years and is still as valid as ever. The first instalment is based on spring-terminal connectors, so those who are still developing their motor skills and are not ready to use a soldering iron can still learn electronics.

The springs also make for easy changing of circuits. With an instruction book full of clear projects, helpful tips, and useful additional information, plus a full kit of parts, younger makers are all set to work through 21 projects and 3 bonuses.



KJ8502 $45.95

Beginners' Arduino Kit

For the budding makers, this beginners' Arduino kit is one of the most well-presented we could find. Clear labelling, thorough and user-friendly documentation including individual cards so you can hold the overlay right next to your board, and a very comprehensive range of parts included push this kit head and shoulders over many of the others around. Made by DFRobot and distributed by Core Electronics, who also have a great range of online workshops for support.



DFR0100 $83.50

4 Channel HD DVR Kit

Surveillance packages may not be your first thought for Christmas giving, but modern systems are useful for more than anti-theft security. This basic four-camera system is useful for those with older family who may be living at home rather than in care. There is always that worry: Are they ok? This system can connect to the internet so that you can make sure they haven't fallen over in the yard, away from the range of the Medi-Alert, or just check around the house if you get that phone call late at night, when your loved one thinks there is someone outside. Of course, we recommend you thoroughly discuss this with your family first and make sure they know what you can see, when, and how!



QV5000 $449

4 Channel Digital Storage Oscilloscope

Sometimes, you just can't beat quality. While it may at first seem expensive compared to some with a similar range of features, Rigol has a reputation for quality and longevity no one else can claim. This 4 channel digital storage oscilloscope is not light on features, either.



DS1054Z $710

Sphero Robot

The Sphero robotics development system will be familiar to many school students, though it is one of quite a few doing the rounds now. The Sphero system is well supported by resources and a strong online knowledge base. The Sphero BOLT edition is the latest from Sphero with its 8x8 LED matrix. It is app controlled, waterproof, reasonably shock proof and above all, highly versatile. It is also intuitive and the software has modes from the simple through to the complex.



PAKR-MG1039 $299.99

Mobile Battery Bank

Do you have teenagers? Do they ever remember anything at all? While they cannot live for even a moment without their phones, they are very good at forgetting the charger. This battery bank can be charged up and stay in the bag, the car, or at the friend's house (because of course one has an iPhone and one a Samsung), and they can charge their phone without having to deal with a panic attack. At 4000mAh, it will fully charge most phones once, and some smaller phones more than once. Of course, you can use it to power your 5V powered projects to make them portable too.



D0505A $24.50