Maker Holiday Guide (2019)
Updated: Nov 27, 2019
DIY Projects and Making things is a big part of my life. Every year the family asks "What do you want for Christmas?" and usually I struggle with coming up with ideas. I often buy things throughout the year for my DIY maker adventures so when the holidays come around I usually only have big ticket items I want. Since I know I'm not the only one in this position I started keeping a list of smaller items I wanted and items I already bought during the year for my making adventures.
What I have here is our first Maker Holiday Guide. This guide is outlines DIY Gifts for 2019 I want as a maker and products I've bought as a maker. The hope is that friends and family can see this list and get their Maker the things they want.
All of these products and their reviews are my own. This article contains no paid promotional advertising. If a product is in this list it is because I like the product and would buy it or have bought it and like the product.
Big ticket items ($200 and up)
Lets start with the big ticket items on my list and many other makers.
Ender 3 / 3D Printing
The Ender 3 I own personally and I recommend this printer for someone just getting started in 3D Printing. Creality has a $15 off coupon at the time of writing and that brings this printer down to $214 with free prime shipping. This printer goes together quickly and works very well right out of the box. You can be printing in just a couple of hours. This printer has a huge community and following which means there is a ton of support out there. 3D Printing is not a error free process so having a community helps the learning curve considerably. I have upgraded mine over time and still use it today. I never hesitate recommending this printer for its reliable and consistent builds.
Elegoo Mars / 3D Printing
This resin printer is on my personal wishlist. I've heard a lot of good things about it and the price tag of Just $259 puts the Elegoo Mars on my wishlist for this year. Resin printing is not for everyone. It is messy and the resin is toxic in many cases so you don't want to get this for inexperienced makers or children. If you have a 3D Printing enthusiast at home who wants to get into resin this is a good option.
CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit / CNC Router
This is another one off my personal inventory list. I purchased one of these over the summer and if you're looking to get into CNC routing this is a low entry into it. Only $229 after the $20 coupon available at the time of writing. Genmitsu CNC 3018-PRO Router Kit is a tool i'm quite happy with. This new version also includes the offline controller which I had to buy separately so I'm glad to see that Sainsmart is adding more value into a great product. This wont compete with large scale CNC routers but for hobby woodworking this is one of my favorites. I have made a number of upgrades to this machine myself so like a 3D printer the Maker in your family will stay busy with this tool.
Mophorn Laser Engraving Machine 40w CO2 Laser Engraver / Laser Cutter
This is another one on my wish list. I've wanted a K40 style CO2 Laser cutter/engraver and this one seems to have a decent number of reviews attached to it. The Mophorn Laser Engraving Machine is not for pro makers. You need to exercise some extreme caution working with Lasers. The reward though is that you'll be able to make some impressive projects with this. This one tops my personal wish list.
Maker Gifts Under $100
These gifts under $100 are great choices for makers. There are various DIY Gifts here as your Maker may be into 3D Printing but not Electronics projects.
Charmed Labs Pixy2 / Robotics - Electronics
The Charmed Labs Pixy2 is on my personal wish list. This object tracking camera reminds me of the old Kinnect but in a much smaller package. What do you do with this? Track people, objects and other things with the web cam. I'm personally looking to see if I can use this to sort candy and satisfy my need to only eat the same color of jelly beans. I think this is a very cool project with vision for only $60.
Magnetic PEI Print Bed / 3D Printing
This Maflex Magnetic Flexible Heated Bed features a PEI Sheet. If you have a glass 3D Printer bed you don't know the joys of PEI. Go measure the print bed size of your loved ones 3D Printer and go buy one of these. I guarantee they will thank you for it. No longer do you need to scrape off a print. Just flex this bed and you're good to go. I personally own this one and for the price you can't beat it. I now only use a glass bed for very specialty filaments but for PLA prints this cant be beat. Just $50 but even less for smaller print beds!
Bench Top Power Supply / Electronics
This is another one at the top of my wish list. This Bench top 30V/ 10A DC Power Supply allows you supply any electronics project quickly and easily. A Nice feature is that this one has a 2A USB port as well for quick phone or device charging. Includes cables for power as well. At just $99 you'll be pressed to find another bench top power supply with this kind of features. You can control voltage and amperage independently.
Abrasive Blasting Kit / Glass, Metal
This is an unexpected Maker Gift. This Portable Abrasive Blaster kit allows you to do sand blasting for $80. I wanted one of these for glass etching. It also works great for smoothing out just about anything. You select the abrasive to use including pecan shells to remove paint or create a smooth finish. You do need a compressor with this one so you may want to look at something like Porter Cable Pancake Compressor to go with it. There are so many things you can do with this sort of setup.
Belt and Disc Sander / Woodworking / Metal / 3D Printing
Two years have gone by and this one still tops my list. Why would I want a Bet and Disc Sander? Besides using this as its intended purpose you can purchase a 1x30 Knife Sharpening Kit and sharpen all those cooking knives or cutting tools. For just $80 I would use this for all sorts of things. I cant tell you how many times I've put a small sanding drum on my Tacklife Rotary tool. I love that little guy but this sander would be my new favorite sanding parts (even 3D Prints) down to size.
BigTreeTech SKR v1.3 Mainboard & TMC2208's / 3D Printing
The SKR v1.3 3D Printer Control board is the perfect gift for any 3D Printer owner with a noisy printer. Just $52 will end a loud printer. These silent steppers work great in an Ender 3 upgrade or for many other printers. I have installed these personally in every one of my printers and I have no regrets about it. They work great and really take your 3D Printer to the next level. Run Marlin 2.0 and be ready for the future of 3D Printing.
MakerFocus Nextion Enhanced HMI 3.2"
The maker in your family can now add a complex touch screen to their electronics projects quickly and easily! The Nextion HMI touch screen allows you to build complex interfaces using only the serial connection to any Arduino. Any electronics project with a serial connection can now have complex interfaces using this TFT Touch screen with it's own 16MB of memory and 48 Mhz Processor. Only $35 for this amazing amount of features and power.
ELEGOO Uno R3 Project Kit
This is something I wish was available when I was a teen in high school. The best we had was some radio shack project kits to light up lights and buzzers. Circa 1985. This R3 Project Kit is on my list for giving to my nephew. Since he helped build the DIY 3D Printer with me and since he is in an engineering class in high school this is what I am thinking of getting him this year. It has a ton of cool components in it and I like the breadboard shield for it. You can certainly prototype something quickly with this kit. So this is on my gift giving list this year.
Maker Gifts Under $25
All of my kids want to get me something but as students or young adults they don't have a lot to spend on the holidays. So these maker gifts under $25 is easy on the budget but high on the satisfaction for makers.
3D Printing Filament / 3D Printing
Overture PLA filament has been my new favorite bargain filament for a while now. At just $15 a roll you can't stuff it into a stocking (I guess you could try) but you can put a dozen of these under the tree. You can't imagine the feeling you get from opening a fresh roll of filament and throwing it on the printer. I know you think I'm kidding around but I'm serious. I love printer filament and if each kid got me one of these for Christmas I would be a happy man!
Metric Screwdrivers / 3D Printing
I have a metric bit driver set but what I would really like is a set like this $20 Metric Precision Screwdriver Set. I don't have to switch bits and I can grab the size I want. I have seen a lot of T-Handle ones but a set like this would be super helpful putting together 3D Printers and other electronics that constantly use metric screws. Trust me on this one you're 3D Printing Maker is going to love a set like these.
Multimeter / Electronics
My friend Nick who you see on Makers Mashup videos from time to time told me that I needed a new meter that had an audible tone for continuity. So I purchased this $25 meter a while back and it is now my favorite. The changeable clips and the fact that the leads store in the back make this the best meter I have ever owned. Sure there are better ones out there but on a budget there are other things I want to get. This meter allows me to get the job done and not break the bank.
Metric Wrench Set / 3D Printing
Just $15 will save your Maker a ton of headaches changing nozzles and putting together 3D Printers. Sockets work great but there are plenty of times I have put together 3D Printers and Robots with these metric wrenches. They hold metric nuts and their small size fits most 3D printer parts. If you have ever seen someone use pliers to hold the metric nut then you know these are exactly what your Maker needs.
ESP32 / ESP32 Cam / Electronics
More powerful than an Arduino and able to stream web cams on a single port. These ESP32-CAMs are just $20 and perfect for any Maker. You can program these with the Arduino IDE but they pack dual cores running at 10x the speed of an Arduino. They also have a webcam, WiFI and built in hall and temperature sensors. The small footprint will have your Maker creating IOT creations in no time.
Baked in WiFI and a display these ESP8266 modules are faster than Arduino's and are perfect to get a project up and running. Why use a breadboard when you can power an entire project in one small pacakge. Check out the ESP8266 OLE Wifi Development boards for your maker.
Z-Probe Bed Leveling Touch Sensor / 3D Printing
Nearly universal and precise bed leveling is easy with this touch sensor. I have installed these on a number of printers and it makes bed leveling easy on nearly any printer. The sensor simply attaches to the nozzle while bed leveling. Once leveling is complete you remove the sensor. Only attach it when you need it and never worry about printing new mounts or inaccurate sensors offset from the nozzle. The best part is that this sensor is only $13. Stocking stuffers for your maker!
Heat Gun and Shrink Tubing
These are a great pair and low cost. The Heat gun is only $15.56 and the shrink tubing are only $8. They pair perfectly and are in any budget for a maker.
Ratchet Crimper Tool / Electronics
If you work with electronics sooner or later you'll need to make some terminal connections. This Ratchet Crimper Tool makes the best of a rotten job. I personally hate making cables but this $22 tool allows you to crimp on connectors easily. It also comes with connectors for main board connections. The ratcheting tool holds the connector in place while you insert the wire before crimping. I couldn't build my own electronic projects without one of these.
Zip ties, just $6
16 gauge wire is perfect for any project. Just $17
Voltage Regulators for electronics projects. Just $5
Please feel free to share your ideas! We hope this guide helps spark some ideas for your maker.