Do you know an Engineer or Maker on the Go? Or maybe a Pi Enthusiast?
Join the element14 Community this holiday season as we help to deck out your workbench, or someone you know that needs that extra bit of hardware to get their projects completed!
We're returning for another year with a list of products, suggestions and even giveaways this time for the Engineer or Maker in your life, or maybe yourself if you feel you deserve a treat or to spend your holiday season earnings!
The return of the element14 Community Elves
Who have some outer world assistance from the element14 presents team:
Engineer & Maker Wish List - A Vulcan's First Christmas!
Engineer & Maker Wish List - An Elf's Tale
Engineer & Maker Wish List - A Wooden Christmas
For the Engineer who needs Test & Measurement Tools on the Go Giveaway!
If you're an Engineer who needs to use Test & Measurement Tools on the Go! Then head on over to enter the giveaway (click here: Holiday Gift List Giveaway - Test & Measurement Tools on the Go! ) where you can win the following equipment:
Circuit Assembly Tools for All Giveaway!
Every Engineer and Maker needs to prototype with their tools, whether it's with vero/proto board or a breadboard. These Circuit Assembly Tools for all! are perfect to give the holiday season the snip, enter the competition here: Holiday Gift List Giveaway - Circuit Assembly Tools for all! to be in with a chance to win the following hardware:
If you're still not sure about how much you need pliers in your life - then check out this in-depth review of the hardware here.
While you may be tempted to pick up your hardware and electronics and get to work straight away, static and electrical discharge is a very real threat to your equipment and some of it can be very sensitive. Bring yourself down to earth with a wrist-strap and ground the discharge before it can do any real damage.
Sometimes you work on a breadboard and you just want to use a length of wire that's 'just right' and then not want to move it again, perhaps that's just me, but these neat pieces of wiring allow you to color code your layout and keep it tidy.
When you need to bridge components over one another, or your wire strips just aren't quite long enough by themselves, these are the quick and dirty, but practical, solution to prototyping.
There are a huge array of wire cutters in this selection here, more than you probably realised you need, for all sorts of wire strengths, sizes and situations to make sure your project is cut down to size, especially after checking out the review.
When you need to easily rotate your equipment for access, or perhaps for its first photographic opportunity, a turntable's one of those pieces of hardware you didn't realise you needed, but wanted. Currently this product's only available on our Newark store, but will be shipped to you anywhere for the giveaway!
Raspberry Pi Essentials for the Raspberry Pi Multimedia Enthusiast Giveaway!
Whether you're only just starting out with a Raspberry Pi, or you're needing another for a project, hit the ground running with a starter kit in this giveaway to get yourself editing with multimedia with an exclusive 4k Video digital camera, and also a add-on soundcard board! - who knows, we may upgrade it to a Raspberry Pi 4 starter kit - click the link to be in with a chance to win: Holiday Gift List Giveaway - Raspberry Pi Essentials for the following hardware:
From the SDCard, to a keyboard and the cables needed to getting started on your multimedia, engineering, maker or programming journey. This is the basis for any budding creator to sink their teeth into the platform that's been very popular across the world and in education through to industrial applications. You can also find out more about Raspberry Pi on the Community.
The add-on board that adds something a bit missing from the Raspberry Pi, and that's audio. Hear what your Raspberry Pi has to say with this audio interface and speaker combination.
Take your footage in all sorts of environments, indoors and out or in the field with this equipment and then process it on your Raspberry Pi as part of your project, or maybe record it to become one of our element14 presents video content producers yourself! Show us your best side with the high resolution camera.
What Else do you Wish For?
Scroll down to find other inspiring hardware, equipment and parts for your project! Let us know what you wish for in the comments below.
Who cares about chocolates, socks or a picture every day for an advent calendar? As an Engineer or Maker, you want hardware, tools and equipment to build up to the holiday season! Surely this is ideal then? Maybe it's just us that thinks so, but why not start off with something a bit fun anyway?
Prototyping the Fast Way
For the prototyping engineer and the budding maker, whether you're connecting to an Arduino or a BeagleBoard 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!
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 Raspberry Pi or any other development board that has pre-populated pins instead of sockets!
"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.
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
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*
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.
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!
Introducing new Engineers and Makers
Decking out your Workbench
Embed your Processing Power
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.
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.
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, especially with the updated processor, USB 3 and Gigabit ethernet!
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.
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.
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.
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.
The latest offering from BeagleBoard.org is not for the faint maker, to take advantage of this hardware you should be up to the challenge of embedded Linux, push your programming knowledge and get down and gritty with device tree compiling. For this, you get a fully open source, documented processor, board, schematics and the ability to embed it in your design from source or scratch, unlike some other single board computers - this one gives you full control! This time packing more power than its BeagleBone Black counterpart. You can find out more at BeagleBoard
Tools to go the Extra Mile with your Project
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
The PiFace add-on boards for the Raspberry Pi have been an ideal way for interfacing with some real heavy hitting hardware, we're talking higher voltage control, sensors and making things move. These add-ons are controlled via Python for ease and have tried and tested libraries sat behind them for use. They should still be compatible with the Raspberry Pi 4!
Touch sensing is finally taking its place in computing hardware, it's on mobile phones, virtual reality controllers and now gestures on your mobile phone. So why not add it to your Raspberry Pi project with the Flick HAT gesture sensor and supporting hardware?
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!
3D Printing and Printers
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.
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.
A back to basics 3D printer with hands-on control, similar in vein to the multicomp i-20, except in a different form factor and not quite as customisable. Creality have a good reputation for building printers that are up for modification at an affordable price point, one to get your hands on if you're familiar with 3D printing and you're not afraid of switching up your slicer!
Some 3D printers we just wish we were able to use and have a go with, the Ultimaker S5 may be more suited to the workplace than the home office, however some people really like to wish big! Capable of handling soluble print materials alonside ABS and PLA, the Ultimaker S5 is a printer with a big reputation, and print volume.
ABS, PLA, your plastic of choice. 3D Printing with a machine such as the Lulzbot Mini 2 or Multicomp 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.
What's the holiday season without a little reward?
Join in with the festivities and you'll see yourself rewarded with a badge, as usual there's the typical badge, and the extra golden badge for those that work out how to go the extra mile
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!
Don't forget to enter the giveaways by clicking through to the links above!