What to get for the person who makes everything? If you have a maker on your gift list this holiday season, you’re shopping for someone who’s a creative, crafty, do-it-yourself (DIY) fanatic. They’d rather open up a box filled with the nuts, bolts and other inner workings of a product than a pre-assembled item in a shiny new package.
Shopping for a maker is different than shopping for other tech-savvy people. It can be pretty challenging, but we’re here with a cheat sheet of tools, kits and more that’ll make your favorite maker smile and eager to get to work.
Raspberry Pi 4
No maker's den is complete without a Raspberry Pi, and the Raspberry Pi 4 is the best and newest model you can get. Plus, it starts at just $35. Some of its perks include the ability to power up to two 4K monitors at 60Hz and charging over USB Type-C. From robots to smart home projects or retro gaming, there’s always something a maker can do with a Raspberry Pi.
Who doesn’t want a home arcade? If your maker already has a Raspberry Pi or you’re looking for something to go along with the Pi you’re gifting them, the Picade is a unique, striking-looking toy for Pi-powered retro gaming. Compatible with the Pi 4 and earlier models, makers get to build the Picade themselves before getting to retro game emulation on the 10 or 8-inch IPS display. It’s available for £150 / £195 as well as from Adafruit or even Amazon.
Circuit Board Holder
Whether they’re soldering, desoldering or just plain tinkering, the Aven 17010 adjustable circuit board holder will make life easier. It lets makers prop up their printed circuit board (PCB) and rotate it 360 degrees. It can fit boards measuring up to 198 x 4mm (7.8 x 0.2 inches) .
iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit
Of course, makers are nothing without their handy dandy tools. This nifty toolkit comes with a bunch of the essentials, including a 64-bit driver kit, anti-static wrist strap, small suction cup, jimmy, magnetic pad and tool roll, plus three opening tools, six opening picks, three kinds of tweezers and three flavors of spudgers. Now that's a lot of gifts in one!
Elegoo Mars 3D Printer
For resin 3D printing, the Elegoo Mars is a fantastic value. It finds an admirable balance between performance, print quality and price. It’s a smaller 3D printer, but the quality of creations is much better than standard FDM 3D printers. And in a nice touch, its pressure-sensitive screen is great for working in nylon gloves. For more details, be sure to check out our review of the Elegoo Mars.
Hakko Smoke Absorber
Hakko has made a name for itself in the maker community, and its FA-400 Smoke Absorber is a market leader. You’ll be able to give your favorite maker the gift of fresh air with this product that’ll help ensure their workspace doesn’t become a smoke-filled dungeon. Replacing the filter is also supposed to be quick and easy.
Reusable Respirator Mask
Keep the fresh air coming with the GVS SPR457 Elipse P100 reusable dust respirator mask. It’s made to keep each breath free from dust, vapors, mists and metal fumes. It’s also hypoallergenic, so you don’t have to worry about pesky irritants like latex or silicone. Comfort is top of mind too, with the mask weighing just 0.3 pounds.
Got a solderer on your gift list? The Weller WLC100 40-watt soldering station will make their life easier with the ability to reach up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit (482.2 degrees Celsius). It also comes with useful features like an iron-plated tip for durability, a pencil holder and cleaning sponge.
Sometimes you need less solder though, and that’s where the Tabiger Solder Wick and Desoldering Pump comes in. With just one hand, the lucky recipient can leverage this tool, which uses two desoldering wicks to absorb solder and a vacuum pump to suck solder up quickly. It’s fit for small PCBs, motherboards and even messing with mechanical keyboard switches.
Keep your maker’s desktop safe from soldering heat with Kaisi’s heat insulation soldering mat, which can withstand temperatures of up to a whopping 932 degrees Fahrenheit (500 degrees Celsius). The roll-up mat is available in three sizes, with each providing various amounts of storage slots, including for screws and tools.
Elegoo Electronic Fun Kit Bundle
Not sure what project your crafty pal is working on these days? This Elegoo kit has a bounty of knick knacks that can be used with the likes of Arduino and Raspberry Pi. From RGB LEDs, to buttons and pin headers, you can pick from packs ranging from 250-300 pieces.
Measure twice, and cut once, right? Your DIY friend or family member will have no excuse not to measure repeatedly with this 6.5-foot-long fiberglass ruler that folds up into a convenient, portable and storable size.
Anti-Static Storage Box
Makers can keep pesky static away from their components with this case made for storing integrated circuits, capacitors and resistors, as well as screws, washers, nuts and the like. One purchase gets you 20 boxes, but with the low price you can get more and mix and match their favorite colors.
Encyclopedia of Electronic Components
Now for a gift that can go in their workspace of their living room coffee table. The Encyclopedia of Electronic Components comes from the creators of the Maker Faire. This Volume 3 edition of the book covers components used for physical sensing, including heat, sound, motion, light and electrical sensors. You can also get a Kindle version for less money. For other topics, consider Volume 2, which is all about signal processing (like LEDs, LCDs, audio and amplification) or Volume 1, which focuses on power sources and conversion.
What’s the holidays without gifting a tie? This year, mix it up with something a little more casual that’ll make sure their handyman skills are known. This gift is part T-shirt, part fake necktie and all fun. Available for men and women in seven different colors, you can find something to fit their style.