In making my list annual of goodies I usually look for other people who have compiled “gift guides” aimed specifically at geeks like me. Usually they are written for the wrong kind of geek, and are full of things like star trek stuff, D&D, LEGO, or model airplane parts. All of those things are definitely geeky, but are not what I am looking for. Last year I bought and Arduino largely due to the 2007 arduino gift guide put out by MAKE mag
This year they have a $20 and under guide (no doubt influenced by the recession!) but no arduino-specific guide. I decided to put the things I have been pining over, as well as the things I have been really enjoying into a list. I will put a few of the tastier options below, but I decided to create an amazon list so that anyone interested can go to one spot and buy within a few clicks!
There are some tools in there, some shields, as well as some arduinos for newb and seasoned professionals.
The coolest thing I am excited about is Ladyada’s electronic toolbox. It is a TON of tools that she put together into one beginner kit. This is seriously everything that you would need to go very far with an arduino. It certainly is enough to get you well on your way!
From her site, the kit contains:
30W adjustable temperature soldering iron (Model XY258)
Solder, rosin-core, 0.031″ diameter, 1/4 lb (100g) spool
Solder wick/braid 5ft spool
Basic multimeter (model MAS830)
Micro needle-nose pliers
Solid-core wire, 22AWG, 25ft spools
Half size solderless breadboard
5V power supply kit –
ALL FOR $100 Bucks!!
If your geek guy/gal has been in ‘the game’ for a while then they have probably grabbed most of these items already. It might be a good idea to look and purchase items separately to ‘fill in the gaps’ though. If you are shopping for a newbie, then you are in luck. With this tool kit and a few things to solder together they will be very happy come christmas!
As I reviewed previously, the book Making Things Talk
is a great book for figuring out communication into and out of an arduino. It has a lot of different examples in it from entry level to advanced.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make things easier. When a mechanic has the right tool it can turn a 3 hour knucklebuster into a 5 minute breeze. Having the right soldering iron can do the same thing for us geeks. The Weller WLC100 Soldering Station For Hobbyist And Diyer is so much nicer than those crappy radio shack irons that seemingly everyone starts to solder with. It has adjustable heat control, and is as nice as the much more expensive irons that Weller makes.
The last thing is a pair of flush cutters. Believe it or not I spent 10 years soldering things without these. Things that come out of my shop look much nicer nowadays. A comfy grip and sharp blades make the IRWIN 4-1/2-Inch Flush Cutters
For more info and the rest of the list – check out the 2008 arduino gift guide on amazon.