Deck Out Your Workbench this Holiday Season.
Unsure what to buy your maker friend or family member for the holidays? Need inspiration? Or are you compiling a wishlist to hand to your partner to help them know what to buy for yourself? Well here's a helping hand from the element14 Community elves! Returning for another year!
Most of us engineering and maker types probably have an electronics workbench, even if it is only the kitchen worktop temporarily - or is that just me? - however in the offices here at the element14 Community we needed inspiration for the secret santa prizes that include those among us that like to create. So below you'll find inspiration starting at and up to various price points that should help to get you started either for yourself or for another!
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Login / Register, and 'Add Comment' below to share with us your shopping basket from one of our online stores to let us know what exactly you would want for the holidays, or simply post with a link!
You never know, the element14 Community elves might find something left behind by the gift-givers of the content team and reward you for your efforts
$1 and Up!
Male to Male Jumper CablesMale to Male Jumper Cables
For the prototyping engineer and the budding maker, whether you're connecting to an or a with a breadboard in between, you'll need a pack of these, and if you're like me, you'll go through a lot of them!
Male to Female Jumper CablesMale to Female Jumper Cables
You'd be forgiven for thinking these are the same or not needed as other jumper cables, however these certainly make the difference if you're connecting to a or any other development board that has pre-populated pins instead of sockets!
Magnifier with Helping HandsMagnifier with Helping Hands
"I've only got one pair of hands!" well now you have two! Whether the item you're soldering is too hot to handle, or you just need to get a grip onto a piece of hardware while you look at it, everyone needs a helping hand now and again.
Smokey Enclosure for Raspberry PiSmokey Enclosure for Raspberry Pi
There's nothing more fascinating than seeing the inner workings of electronics, and with a case to keep your Raspberry Pi nice and safe you can make sure everything's in there that should be.
Dry Erase Magnetic Project MatDry Erase Magnetic Project Mat
I've lost count of the sheer number of times I've been taking apart some hardware, and the screw has rolled off the table. Or I need to make a note and my phone isn't responding to my 'OK Google' request amidst the noise. Suitable for working with hardware that's not so sensitive to magnets
16gByte microSD Card16gByte microSD Card
Even Raspbian now needs at least an 8gByte SD Card to run on your Raspberry Pi. I now have so many of these little cards, they wear out from the constant image writing. Always in need of more *makes note to buy another*
Insulated Screwdriver SetInsulated Screwdriver Set
When you absolutely have to get into that hardware, and you don't know what surprises might lurk inside it. Insulated screwdrivers not only try to protect you, but also what you're working on from making a circuit it isn't supposed to. Makes me shudder to think of it.
$10 and Up!
All Purpose Bit SetAll Purpose Bit Set
When you're short on space, need to immediately repair something and you're not sure what you're going to encounter? This all purpose bit set has you sorted. Perfect for a trip to a repair cafe or hackspace, too.
Large Red ToolbagLarge Red Toolbag
How're you going to carry your hardware to the workshop? Or to work, or to the makerspace? Well, with a suitable tool bag, your outdoors store bought bag will only take you so far with those sharp and pointy objects that you're carrying. You need something hard wearing!
Rotary Tool SetRotary Tool Set
If you're polishing off a project, or cutting into something small you need a fast little motor and nifty tools to get you to that end goal. It's small, it's fast and it spins. Chances are you needed this and didn't realise it.
Components and Sensor Kit for Raspberry PiComponents and Sensor Kit for Raspberry Pi
To get you started with your Internet of Things project or to monitor your garden shed (at least in England) get your blinken LEDs going and read the temperature of your child's cot. Or maybe just your breath, up to you!
Bench ViseBench Vise
When you absolutely, totally, need another pair of hands that do not move. Can also act as a makeshift heatsink, though don't try to solder while using it for that exact reason. Also includes an anvil.
Soldering Tool KitSoldering Tool Kit
On a bit of a portability kick, I'll admit that I'm more often asked to repair someone else's computer software problem than to ensure wires are stripped and attached - then again, the solder stations are often in use at Leeds Hackspace, so I could probably do with one of these.
3D Printing Filament3D Printing Filament
ABS, PLA, your plastic of choice. 3D Printing with a machine such as the Lulzbot Taz 6Lulzbot Taz 6 or Multicomp i-20Multicomp i-20, or even a 3D Printing Pen. It's one of the most useful prototyping tools of this century, and filament is the fuel.
$25 and Up!
Arduino UnoArduino Uno
Whether you're new or old to microcontroller programming, the ATMega328P based Arduino is the one that started it all and is still a reasonable staple for prototyping a circuit, or just turning your holiday lights on and off, we won't be choosy.
Arduino NanoArduino Nano
Moving to a project that needs a little more portability, the Nano is effectively the Uno in another package. Small and slim for even wearable projects, and you can never have enough Arduino to work with.
Bench Power SupplyBench Power Supply
Before your project becomes self powered (almost wrote self aware, that's a different purchase) or tied to the wall it helps to be able to test it with a variable power supply while at your workbench, without plugging and unplugging supplies. Enter, the bench supply!
Touchscreen Case EnclosureTouchscreen Case Enclosure
There aren't many cases that you can claim are LEGO compatible, as well as supporting Raspberry Pi add-on boards and the official touch screen. At least there's this one!
Ratchet Socket Bit Tool KitRatchet Socket Bit Tool Kit
I thought that this type of kit was only useful for vehicles, and even then I wouldn't need one anymore, I have breakdown cover. Yeah I was wrong, sometimes fixtures need to be mechanically put in place, or removed for enclosures and projects can get pretty creative. Not everything uses duct tape.
129 Piece Cased Tool Set129 Piece Cased Tool Set
When you need a set of tools, but don't necessarily need or have a carry case for them all. Especially if you want everything in one place, and in its place, without flailing around in your bag and wondering where that one particular sized screwdriver head has gotten to...
$50 and Up!
Raspberry Pi Camera BoardRaspberry Pi Camera Board & Raspberry Pi NoIR Camera BoardRaspberry Pi NoIR Camera Board
These almost complete the Raspberry Pi to be feature-full. Connecting to the CSI port on the Raspberry Pi you can opt for the standard or no Infra-Red filter cameras, capturing at up to 60 frames per second and in 8 megapixels, you'd be kinda silly not to want one of these on your hardware.
Pocket BeaglePocket Beagle
The little pupper of the Beagleboard BeagleBone family, the Pocket Beagle makes for an excellent, open source alternative for a single board computer. This board is teeny tiny small and powerful with a lot of general purpose digital input and output with lots of analog input.
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
The latest and fastest Raspberry Pi to date, with the same footprint and connectivity as its predecessors, almost everyone has a Raspberry Pi at least lying in a drawer these days, and with it being part of most school curriculum you'll likely be teaching how to program to a younger relative. The onboard WiFi and Bluetooth just seal the deal.
Raspberry Pi Sense HATRaspberry Pi Sense HAT
Not many devices you can say you're working with that have been sent up into space. As part of the AstroPi initiative by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, sensor boards like these are currently orbiting Earth running school children's code. They're great for sensor readouts, displaying them in various ways or creating little games using the onboard joystick.
3D Printing Pen3D Printing Pen
Unfortunately this isn't available everywhere, but I couldn't resist putting it on this list. This is effectively an extruder from a 3D printer, in your hand. I've used mine to repair 3D prints or small plastic devices where I couldn't really use glue or something similar. Oh, and of course free-hand models for fun.
GraspIO cloudioGraspIO cloudio
Connecting its readouts to an app on your tablet or mobile phone, the sensors and possibility of connecting other items to this Internet of Things device makes reading sensors across the internet even easier, a nice and basic setup.
Assorter CaseAssorter Case
With drawers that have catches on them and a carry handle, this isn't just a set of drawers to save you scratching your fine, pine furniture. These are useful boxes to carry around your jumper cables, development boards and parts in at least an assorted way.
Arduino Mega 2560Arduino Mega 2560
I consider this the grunt horse of the Arduino boards, that launched a thousand 3D printers. RAMPS 1.4 is an add-on board that's typically used with the Mega 2560 and almost every single 3D printer available is based around this combination. So this is one, very capable, Arduino.
BeagleBone BlackBeagleBone Black
A fully opensource solution to embedded electronics hardware around a single board computer. Pretty much fully documented, and customisable, down to the dual microcontrollers that run at 200Mhz (PRUSS) on the processor to the 1Ghz CPU with HDMI output. Many people compare this board to the Raspberry Pi, but really they can work alongside each other, or completely independently. With this, you can run low-level easily.
Even if you only use this as an uninterruptible power supply if you accidentally knock the power from your Raspberry Pi, this add-on is very useful, especially if you want to take your Raspberry Pi to be portable.
Soldering StationSoldering Station
I feel this should be a standard household item, whether or not you have a workbench, having your own soldering station is like a typical item you need to repair any electronics. In fact, I've had to use this to repair ornaments and jewelry as well. Okay, it was dress jewelry, but still.
Raspberry Pi Media Center KitRaspberry Pi Media Center Kit
You'll have heard of Android boxes running Kodi - well what if you were able to do that, but fully customise the experience? Setup something similar to SONOS, have lighting that reacts to what you see? Welcome to the Media Center Kit, you can do that here.
$100 and Up!
Borescope with 2.3" DisplayBorescope with 2.3" Display
Gets to parts that other cameras simply cannot reach, within reason. Need to view down a pipe? Or inside an awkward piece of machinery or electronics? Then let this articulated eye on a stick help you out.
Raspberry Pi IoT Learner Kit with IBM WatsonRaspberry Pi IoT Learner Kit with IBM Watson
It's the combination that really drives the benefit of this kit, setting up the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT with the Raspberry Pi and an intelligent place to put the data in the cloud with IBM Watson sets you up for monitoring with the Internet of Things.
Matrix CreatorMatrix Creator
While sold as a daughter add-on board for the Raspberry Pi, the Matrix Creator sports its own FPGA and processor to function to some extent on its own. With a microphone array that rivals an Amazon Echo and a ring of RGB LEDs I've seen this device be used at the heart of drones, let alone robotic devices.
PicoScope USB OscilloscopePicoScope USB Oscilloscope
Most devices that you use to look at digital signals, and analogue readings are relatively large devices with a screen and probes and they take up bench space. Somewhat lots of bench space, and maybe you already have a laptop on that bench. With this, you can use that laptop as your oscilloscope. Makes things a bit easier!
153 Assorted Tool Kit153 Assorted Tool Kit
For the maker or engineer who doesn't have everything (yet). This useful collection would be suitable for an every day carry or a backup in emergency for the zombie apocalypse.
Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 Developer KitRaspberry Pi Compute Module 3 Developer Kit
Did you know there are televisions with embedded Raspberry Pi hardware in them? They were designed around the compute module - so who wouldn't want to be able to customise their own Raspberry Pi hardware? Also useful for portable gaming consoles.
Pi-Top Modular Development Laptop KitPi-Top Modular Development Laptop Kit
Setup and create your own laptop based around the Raspberry Pi, with the GPIO ports broken out to useful components and an added Real-Time-Clock you'll be either creating software or controlling hardware wherever you go.
CNC EngraverCNC Engraver
While 3D printing is additive technology, the CNC router/engraver is the most exciting toy for subtractive development technology. Allowing you to cut through metals, woods and plastics. This thing comes fully assembled!
$500 and Up!
Multicomp i-20 3D PrinterMulticomp i-20 3D Printer
When you want to get your hands on, deep and dirty into 3D printing and customise every possible setting to configure your 3D print, Multicomp's sturdy offering is there with its metal chassis and solid build while keeping things simple. A decent edition, especially if you have to move it around a bit.
Lulzbot Taz 6 Mini 3D PrinterLulzbot Taz 6 Mini 3D Printer
With the ability to customise the printer as much as you dare, Lulzbot offers itself up as an 'either/or' when it comes to letting you get down into the details or buying off-shelf parts and using standard setup configurations to output a quality print.
Login and Register, and 'Add Comment' below to share with us your shopping basket from one of our online stores to let us know what exactly you would want for the holidays, or simply post with a link!
You never know, the element14 Community elves might find something left behind by the gift-givers of the accounting department and reward you for your efforts - especially if you share it around!