Man is “weak in himself, and of small stature,” wrote 19th-century essayist Thomas Carlyle. Yet, with tools, “the granite mountain melts into light dust before him, seas are his smooth highway, winds and fire his unwearying steeds.” And this from a guy who never felt a 5800-rpm circular saw scream to life in his hand.
While much has changed since Carlyle’s day, one thing hasn’t: We need tools to build, repair and maintain the mechanical world in which we live. With these tools, you’ll be ready for just about any project–whether it’s melting mountains or swapping out the kitchen sink.
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, or even use Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for MakeCode, CircuitPython, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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What? No soldering iron?
No wire strippers?
While all of those are good for the basics, it doesn’t scratch the surface of what I consider ‘necessary’. Besides the soldering iron that was mentioned, I would add a drill press, a meter, oscilloscope, table saw, drill press, tap and die set, feeler gauges, micrometers, and a good set of calipers. For a little more money I would also add a lathe and a mill, but those aren’t strictly necessary.
Also – garage sales that have tools can be a place to find some really unique items. Some of the more creative types actually take the time to make the tools they need rather than buying something off the shelf. You’ll only find those types of tools at a garage sale.