Maker Tools to Finish Out Your WorkBench #backtoschool
Now that you have lots of tips for projects and getting them out and about, how about getting your at-home workbench up to speed? Here are some basic tools we recommend for everyone, so transportable, so best left at home:
Lady’s Ada’s Electronics Toolkit, at an even $100, is a reasonably priced kit for anyone making their first foray into the world of working with electronics. It has almost all of the basics, including (but not limited to), an adjustable temperature soldering iron with a stand, rosin-core solder, wire cutters and strippers, pliers, wire, and a breadboard.
If you’ve already been working for a little while, you might want to invest in a higher-end solder iron. The Digital Genuine Hakko FX-888D is the best thing we’ve seen on the market, with faster heat-up time and a smaller footprint than its predecessor, the Hakko 936.
This pocket-sized digital multimeter is low cost and simple, and can tell you, among other things, AC/DC Voltage, current, resistance, and it can run a beeping continuity test and diode test too. If you’re new to multimeters, we have a tutorial on how to use them here.
Now that even the tools to make electronics have caught up with electronics technology, you don’t have to lug breadbox-sized and elephant-weight oscilloscopes around. This pocket sized DSO Nano v3 oscilloscope trades quickness and power for size. It does the trick for troubleshooting for beginners, and it’s much more affordable than the more heavy duty options.
Who has a workbench without a screwdriver? This 65 Piece Ratchet Screwdriver and Tool Bit Set comes (of course) with a screwdriver, but also with all kinds of bits, including torx, phillips, flathead, slot, hex square and socket in a variety of sizes. It’s a good start for getting into any machine.
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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, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, 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.