Deck the Bench Holiday Wish List
The holidays are upon us, and once again we're back with our wish list of gifts for Makers, Engineers, and anyone aspiring to be one!
While the wish list is divided by Makers, STEM Students, and Engineers, there are absolutely no rules! All of these products would be useful to any techie looking to work with electronics.
Check out the rest of our Holiday Events here: Deck the Bench 2021 - element14 Holiday Round up
Secret Santa Giveaway
This holiday season, we're doing our own version of a Secret Santa giveaway! Here's how it works:
Your Gift to the Community
- Write a blog detailing your idea of the perfect gift for a Maker or Engineer. Tell us why you think it's the perfect gift, and why it's a tool that an Engineer, Maker, or STEM student would really need.
- The gift should be a product available Newark or Farnell that costs under $50, and preferably in stock.
- We'll pick our 20 favorite blogs. The 20 winners will each receive a gift -- a tool that one of the other 20 winners blogged about!
You might wonder how we match each of the 20 winners with one of the 20 gifts. Well, we're not telling! That's why they call it Secret Santa!
Maker's Wish List
If you have a friend or family member who's always building the coolest gadgets and contraptions, this list is for you!
Switch Mode Power Supply, 3A, 36V, 3 outputs
Unless you've got an infinite supply of batteries, an adjustable power supply is a requirement for design and testing.
Hand Held 6MHz Scope and Digital Multimeter
An Oscilloscope is an extremely important tool on a maker's bench. Most scopes are large and heavy, but this one is handheld. Throw it in your toolbox and go!
Sound Level Meter
For any projects involving audio (or environmental noise), a sound level meter is invaluable.
A Variety of Passive Components
Nothing is more annoying than needing a 1uF capacitor and only having a .5uF. Sure, you could connect 2 .5uF capacitors in parallel, but who wants to do that? Having a variety of passives on hand is very convenient. In fact, you can't have enough! If you're working with surface mount components, check out the SMD kits in the Engineer's list!
Thru hole resistor kit
Thru hole capacitor kit
Multimeters are requirements for any maker or engineer, and handheld DMM is incredibly convenient.
PCB repair kit
Lifting the trace on a PCB can be annoying, especially when you try to fix it and screw it up even worse. Or is that just me? A PCB Repair Kit makes is a lot easier to fix up PCBs.
Small probes make it very easy to test the voltage across components. Easy and inexpensive for someone who likes to repair things.
This handy device uses a laser to give an accurate reading of distances up to 20m.
5-in-1 Cutter, Stripper, Crimper
Makers and engineers are always making cables. It's a cakewalk with the proper tools, but a nightmare without.
12-in-1 Ratchet Screwdriver
Engineers often carry around a set of tiny screwdrivers. This 12-in-1 screwdriver set replaces them all, and also includes a variety of TORX bits.
Designed for snipping wire, diagonal cutting pliers are another essential tool in a maker's arsenal.
LED Pivoting Work Light
We've all had those frustrating experiences where our hands blocked our light and we couldn't see what we were soldering. This tiny work light is a lifesaver with those types of problems.
STEM Students Wish List
Find something fun and educational for the aspiring engineers you know!
Electrical signals aren't just flat lines; you've got sine waves, audio signals, and all kinds of other waveforms. A waveform generator supplies the signals necessary for various designs and testing.
65W Soldering Station
Everyone needs a soldering iron, but since makers and engineers probably already have one, the STEM students get it! Soldering is a very important skill to learn, and a good soldering station will last you a lifetime.
25MHz PC Oscilloscope
We've already discussed oscilloscopes and how important they are in a lab; this one connects to a PC via USB.
Variety of Passive Components
To build circuits on the breadboard, you'll need a variety of passives, like resistors, capacitors and more. Here are two kits that give you plenty to work with.
Thru hole resistor kit
Bench Power Supply
Every circuit (well almost!) requires power. Every lab needs a solid and reliable DC power supply.
Breadboards let you build circuits without soldering.
Long Nose Pliers
Moving these tiny wires around requires a reliable pair of pliers.
The micro:bit is a pocket sized computer designed to introduce students to engineering and to connect the gap between software and hardware.
For more micro::bit, check out our dedicated microbit space: micro:bit
There are plenty of micro::bit add-ons available that help students build fun projects of all types. Here are two examples:
Climate Action Kit
A Raspberry Pi is a Single Board Computer (SBC), a fully functioning computer built onto a compact board. They're fully programmable and able to host a variety of sensors, robotics and more.
For more information on Raspberry Pi, check out Raspberry Pi Projects
There are also plenty of accessories for Raspberry Pi, expanding its functionality to just about anything. Here are two examples:
JustBoom Amp HAT for Raspberry Pi
Unicorn HAT Development Board
EE Wish List
How do shop for someone who would rather build it themselves? From this Electrical Engineer's wish list, of course!
An oscilloscope is every bit as important as a multimeter. A good one will also last a lifetime; I remember using some ancient oscilloscopes in some of my labs.
Resistance Decade Box
A resistance decade box lets you simulate different resistance loads to test your circuits.
Switch Mode Power Supply, 1.6A, 60V, 3 outputs
This bench power supply provides plenty of juice for most projects.
Every engineer needs a multimeter. A heavy duty bench multimeter is a great investment that will last the an EE's entire career.
Personal Static Eliminator / Ionizer
Ionizers throw ions in the air so they can neutralize any charges at the bench, helping to prevent Electrostatic Discharge.
All your tiny passives and ICs should ideally be stored in a static free environment. Specialized cabinets provide a nice way to organize all your parts.
Your tools can also be a source of ESD. Storing them in an antistatic toolbox reduces that risk.
A variety of passives like resistors and capacitors is a must on any bench. These kits are surface mount; check out the maker's and STEM lists for the thru-hole versions.
Surface Mount Resistor Kit
SMD Capacitor Kit
LCR meter for Surface Mount Devices
Measuring values of tiny SMD components is a huge pain. A tweezer probe makes things a lot easier!
A clamp multimeter lets you measure current by clamping its hinged jaw on a wire.
Cable Tie Kit
Colored cable ties are a good way to organize the wire spaghetti behind your instruments. The discipline is remembering which color you used for what bundle.
Heavy Duty Stripper / Crimper
Engineers spend a lot of their time making cables and stripping wire. The proper tool makes that job 100x easier. Take it from me, I used to use fingernail clippers and my lab partner used his teeth.
Because people can also be a source of electrostatic energy, grounding yourself with a wrist strap is always a good idea.