Write your list and check it twice, but make sure to save a little holiday love for your local hackerspace. If yours is anything like mine, it’s always missing something. A few weeks ago, I sent out a call for suggestions from hackerspace members and this is what they asked for:
Furniture, $ varies
Sitting on a stool is all well and good for soldering, but some of the best hacking that goes on in a hackerspace is done without a tool anywhere near. I’m talking about the brainstorming and collaboration that goes on at any hackerspace worthy of the name. Got an old couch or lounger gathering dust? Donate it! (Pic of Hackerspace Brussels by Pete Hindle, CC)
Celestron 44104 Microscope, $130, Amazon
Some pieces of equipment are fairly standard at hackerspaces: 3D printers, soldering irons, lathes, welders, laser cutters… but other types of equipment are quite rare. For instance, unless you’re chilling at BioCurious, you’re unlikely to find a microscope at a space. Which is not to say that your average hacker wouldn’t love playing around with one!
Juki HZL-35Z Industrial Sewing Machine, $290, Amazon
Similarly, those spaces who lack a beautiful, high-end sewing machine would definitely appreciate having one!
Kitchen stuff, $ varies
Every hackerspace needs a kitchen, if only to provide nutrients not found in Ramen, Dew, and sacks of take-out. Even better, hackicureans can bust out a copy of Cooking for Geeks and whip up a little food science. A second-hand electric range, microwave oven, toaster oven, or fridge, as well as pots, pans, and utensils would be an awesome contribution. (Pic of Labitat in Copenhagen by Anne Petersen, CC.)
Make: Books, $10-35
What hackerspace library is complete without a nice selection of Make: Books?
Electronic Kits, $varies
Group soldering projects are a great way to build community in the space, as well as to teach critical hacking skills. Adafruit offers 40% off their kits as long as the buyer represents a hackerspace and spends $250 or over. Other stores offer bulk discounts, though none as sweet as that one. (Pic of Arch Reactor soldering session by Surfingump, CC.)
Kinect, $150, various stores
The most hackable toy of the holiday season needs to find a home in your space. With everything from air guitar to puppetry being performed with the help of a Kinect, this is your opportunity to get in on history in the making. But buy it quick, the Kinect is selling out everywhere.
Mendel Parts, $0
While the MakerBot 3D printer is the de facto standard in most spaces, a lot of them wouldn’t turn their nose up at the chance to build a RepRap Mendel. And what better way to speed them along on building one than by printing up the printable portion of the machine according to glorious repstrap tradition? Just print up a complete set of Mendel parts on your 3D printer, find the STLs on Thingiverse (here’s one), output them, and donate ‘em. (Mendel parts pic by Erik de Briujn, CC.)
Hackerspaces don’t always have a budget for consumables. If the MakerBot needs plastic, people who use it have to pony up for more filament. Same goes for lathe chisels, oxy/acetylene, glue gun sticks, white board markers, saw blades, solder, and so on. Find out what your space needs and consider donating some! (Pic of MakerBot filament by John Abella, CC.)
MAKE Subscription, $35 A MAKE sub is a thing of beauty, and everyone needs a stack of magazines at their local space for inspiration.
What is the best gift you can give a hackerspace? Most of the responses I received agree: additional members are what they really want. Join up, it’s an incredible experience! (Pic of Dallas Makerspace open house by R. Steven Rainwater, CC.)
In the Maker Shed:
Want more? Stop by the Maker Shed. We’ve got all sorts of great holiday gift ideas, Arduino & Arduino accessories, electronic kits, science kits, smart stuff for kids, back issues of MAKE & CRAFT, box sets, books, robots, kits from Japan and more.
Holiday Shipping Deadlines in December:
15 (Wed) – Postal shipping deadline
14 (Mon) – Ground shipping deadline
18 (Sat) – 3-day shipping deadline
20 (Mon) – 2-day shipping deadline
21 (Tue) – Overnight shipping deadline
*Orders placed after these dates using these shipping methods may arrive on time; however, the dates listed are what we consider likely “safe dates.”
United States Postal Service (USPS):
Due to the high volume of mail that the postal service deals with around the holidays, please order by Dec 15 if you intend to select this method. However, we have had increased reports of packages sent via USPS lost or delayed in transit during this high-volume period. Since we do not replace or refund any order placed using this shipping method, we strongly encourage you not to use this method in December.