If you haven't finished your holiday shopping yet this year, take a look at some of the cool projects and kits available in the Maker Shed (the retail operation of Maker Media, which also publishes MAKE, the magazine I edit). I asked Dan Woods, the associate publisher of MAKE
and the general manager of e-commerce, to write about the top 10 gift items in the Maker Shed had been this holiday season. Here's what he had to say:
I've been sharing some awesome holiday news with my MAKE comrades. November sales in the Maker Shed were up a whopping 81% over last year (which was up 72% over the prior year). Now, to be sure, we have a dedicated team working insane hours and doing a lot of smart things well (for which, I'm eternally grateful), but that's the e-commerce story. The more interesting story for me is that the gift of making and hands-on learning is making a really strong comeback.
Selling kits, components and tools to experienced makers isn't new for us. But this year we've been seeing a sharp upswing in people looking for kits and tools designed to help a loved get started in something new; like electronics, Arduino projects, robotics, even lock-picking. Not only are people giving gifts they've made themselves in greater numbers than ever before. But they're also touching loved ones with the gift of making by giving a project kit that enables the friend or family member make something of their own. A passing of the DIY torch if you will.
The question I get asked the most is "What's the hottest gift for makers this year"? Hands-down, it's The Make: Electronics Component Pack 1 -- all the components required to take you through the first 1/3 of the projects in Charles Platt's sensational book Make: Electronics packed brilliantly into a really cool fishing tackle box. Not surprisingly, the second hottest product is the Make: Electronics Deluxe Toolkit, which includes all the basic electronic tools that Charles outlines in the same book, followed closely by the Getting Started With Arduino kit, which bundles an Arduino Uno microcontroller with all the components needed to tackle the projects in Massimo Banzi's book Getting Started With Arduino.
I invite you to visit the Maker Shed store and check these and hundreds of other cool DIY products out for yourself. But whether you choose to buy something from MAKE or another DIY retailer, consider giving the gift of making to a loved one this year. Even better, crack open that kit, roll up your sleeves and do some hands-on kitchen table projects with a good friend this holiday season.
Maker Shed's Top 10 Maker gifts so far this holiday season:
Make: Electronics Components Pack 1
Make: Electronics Deluxe Toolkit
Getting Started With Arduino
Projects Pack for Arduino V2.0
Make: Complete eBook Collection (PDF)
Pixel Qi display
Beginners Lock-Picking Blend Set
Make: Tool Guide
Ice Tube Clock Kit
MythBusters’ Adam Savage whipped up a perfect replica of Chewbacca’s bandolier and satchel.
Papercraft master Aliaksei Zholner made this exquisite pipe organ entirely from paper products. Here are his build notes, written in Russian. (via Laughing Squid)
William Pennings built this wonderful machine that automates the arduous but necessary task of sorting M&Ms and Skittles by color. (Insert Van Halen joke here.) “It’s pretty quick and sorts about 2 pieces of candy per second” Pennings says. “It uses Arduino microcontrollers and stepper motors for quick and precise movement. A TCS34725 color sensor […]
Python is immensely popular in the data science world for the same reason it is in most other areas of computing—it has highly readable syntax and is suitable for anything from short scripts to massive web services. One of its most exciting, newest applications, however, is in machine learning. You can dive into this booming […]
Learning new skills is a great way to improve your resume and stand out from other candidates. Especially in a workforce in which many job-seekers have a wide variety of qualifications. With lifetime access to Virtual Training Company, you won’t have to choose a specific focus. You can pick up new expertise whenever you deem it […]
Instead of throwing out all the empties after your next party, why not transform them into some new DIY glassware? Cut back on waste and add some home ambiance with the Kinkajou Bottle Cutter and Candle Making Kit.The Kinkajou is designed as a clamp-on scoring blade to make precise cuts. Just slide a bottle in, tighten […]