I’m writing this beginning paragraph last. Is this a wish-list for the engineers who have everything, or just for myself. Nevertheless, maybe you didn’t get what you wanted – or needed this year. Maybe you didn’t get that special person what they wanted. Now is the time to spurge. Ring out 2020 with some last-minute ideas specially tailored to the engineers in your life, whether professional or student.
Additions to their workbench
Small purchases can make a big difference in a project. From handy tools to tech upgrades, what could the engineer in your life be missing for their next project? A new Pi could jumpstart ideas, or a full set of basic tools could make everything a little easier. The Raspberry Pi 400 is the latest and fastest to date and an easy base for many a new device. A 3D printer or 3D printer pen is both fun and allows you to print small parts at a moment’s notice. Are you just looking for the basics? An assorted tool kit could be everything they need.
Perhaps just get one of everything on the element14 Holiday wish-list 2020 is a better place to start. Pay close attention to the table-top tools. Soldering stations, o-scope, heat gun, hand-tools are a must.
One extra, but completely essential, part of any workbench is an anti-static mat. Get a roll here.
Personal touches to add to the home office
It could be anything from a new pen (that isn’t just a pen) to puzzle games for idle hands. Many of us are still working from home for the foreseeable future, so a few personal touches to the desk space could be just what’s needed. Get them something to keep the hands busy while they think, like these Constantin brainteasers. Are they looking for upgraded tools for the desk? How about a 5-in-1 pen that also serves as a tablet/phone stylus, ruler, level, and screwdriver. And for the most important part of any desk setup, a mug warmer to keep the coffee hot while they work.
New gadgets for the IoT-integrated home
Know someone that loves to toy with connecting everything in their home? It’s convenient, it can be a fun project if they want to make some slight alterations, and there are tons of options. The Google Home suite of devices can be set up to enable voice control for everything from volume and lights to thermostats and alarms. Or, to add some smarts to your other devices like coffee makers, lamps, and TVs, smart outlets allow that with a simple setup. Beyond the home, gift someone an upgrade to their smart wearables with the Garmin Forerunner, build to prioritize health-training while handling all your scheduling and notifications.
A compact field bag for on-the-go engineers
Bag for tools are essential. If you’re buying for someone who does a lot of fieldwork or is otherwise on the go, a case designed to neatly pack everything they need could be just the ticket. For instance, this durable carry-all for a laptop and all the necessary gear, or this canvas option with multiple color choices. Looking for another add-on for an engineer out in the field? Try a portable power cell to keep all those devices charged.
Books on historic innovations
For the engineer who loves to read in their downtime, how about some nonfiction on some of history’s most impressive structures and innovations. Bridges: A History of the World’s Most Spectacular Spans details technological advances and structural daring, complete with photographs and illustrations. The Design of Everyday Things takes that appreciative eye to everyday objects, and highlights excellence of design as the key to keeping a competitive edge. Introduction to Flight is the highly readable intro guide to aeronautical and aerospace engineering, for anyone with an interest in flight.
Channel scientific prowess into a DIY beer brewing kit
Want to take that impulse to create and put it to work on something a little more fun to drink? Why not grab them a build your own beer starter kit? The Brooklyn Brewery has several options to choose from, all with every material needed to start from scratch. The basic build-your-own starter set for an IPA is available for $85.
Let them fly a little higher with their own drone
Why? Video shots from the sky are fun to look at. Many of the items on the list are both useful and fun to experiment with, and drones are no exception. Able to be adapted to many uses, a DIY drone kit is a project that keeps on giving. Lower-end models won’t break the bank either, starting at around $50, though your options go as high as thousands. For a starter drone, you can pick up the HolyStone HS110D. If you’re looking for something a little more advanced, with more bells and whistles, look for the DJI Spark or another in the DJI line.
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