Father’s Day is this Sunday, June 16. If you haven’t gotten anything for your dad yet and you were thinking of just picking up a tie and calling it done, I want to encourage you to rethink that. As a dad, I can say with some authority that dads really don’t really like wearing ties. I mean, it’s a tight knot around your neck. Strange custom. Some of us have to wear them at work, but that doesn’t mean we like them or enjoy getting them as gifts.
So instead of something that reminds your dad of work, how about a father’s day gift that appeals to his sense of fun and making? Better yet, how about a gift that will allow you and your pops to make something together?
With that in mind we present our 2013 father’s day gift guide. The list contains what we think are practical and enjoyable gifts for dads who like getting their hands dirty and making stuff.
Meanwhile, if you’re a dad or make something with your dad this weekend, please document your activities, take some pictures, and send us your story. We’ll follow up with a blog post featuring some the best projects. Send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Father’s Day on MAKE” in the subject line. Tweet us with #DadMakes or post your project on on Google+.
Happy father’s day and happy making.
BioLite Stove $130. I admit it. I put this here as a not-so-subtle hint to my family. What more could a dad want? Not only do you get to make a fire with this stove, but the heat generated by the fire is converted into electricity and recharges the lithium ion starter battery which in turn powers a fan to stoke the fire. Surplus electricity powers a USB outlet allowing you to charge small electronic devices. A grill attachment lets you to cook up some sausages in true, off-the-grid(dle) style.--Stett Holbrook
Solder:Time Watch Kit$35. With readouts that harken back to the DeLorean from Back to the Future, this is a great kit to get you and your dad started with soldering this Father's Day. Then after you've built it together, he'll have this cool watch to wear. The watch is entirely hackable, and so makes a great gift for both novice and experienced makers.--Alasdair Allan.
Supercap Racer Kit. $20A super way to start learning to solder with your dad this Father's Day. Buy two of these, race your dad to build the kit, and then race the kits with your dad all weekend. Easy to build, these make great gifts for novice makers and they're great fun to play with afterwards.--Alasdair Allan
Getting Started With Raspberry Pi. $55 Spend the weekend with your dad learning about Raspberry Pi, the credit card sized computer. Let Matt Richardson and Shawn Wallace, and their great book Getting Started with Raspberry Pi be your guide to the small computer that's reawakened interest in home computing as a hobby.--Alasdair Allan.
Drum Smoker Kit $139.99. Having spent a few formative years in Texas, I developed a love for barbecue and became a student of various smoking devices. The barrel-style smoker is a Texas favorite because of the control of heat and smoke it offers, but they can be expensive. Big Poppa Smokers has developed a popular, easy to build kit that allows you make your own. The 55-gallon drum is not included, but the company offers links to a number of sources.--Stett Holbrook
Sugru $18. Duct tape has been a dad's best friend for years, but when it comes to fixing, patching, modifying, or hacking things, there's nothing quite like Sugru. The air-curing rubber can be formed by hand, bonds to most materials, and turns into a strong, flexible silicone rubber overnight.--Stett Holbrook
Printrbot Jr $499. If your dad is a maker, chances are he's gotten the itch for a 3D printer. The Printrbot Jr. offers one of the lowest priced, yet high quality printers out there. The printer comes fully assembled and ready to use right out of the box. It weighs just over 6 pounds, runs on battery power, and folds up easily so it's a highly portable device that allows anyone to take their making on the road.--Stett Holbrook.
Up! Mini $1,099. For a step up in price, the Up! Mini offers a highly accurate printer that is as good as machines that cost much more. The Up! prints in ABS plastic on a heated bed that's safely concealed behind a closed door. The unit also includes a one-year warranty.--Stett Holbrook.
MakerBot Replicator 2 $2,199. For a big step up, the MakerBot Replicator 2 is arguably the cream of the new crop of consumer 3D printers. The printer boasts a beefy, 410 cubic inch build volume and can print with our without a computer. And it's designed to be easy to use right out of the box.--Stett Holbrook.
Needle Felting Shark Kit $24.Needle felting transforms hunks of wool into a shape of your own choosing. This Woolbuddy kit provides tools and materials necessary to make one adorable shark. Pick up two kits and felt to your heart’s content.--Laura Cochrane.
Bare Conductive Card Kit $17.99. Rather than just making your dad a plain old card for Father’s Day, how about making cards with him that light up! You’ll both learn how to make a basic circuit with only a few materials: paper, LEDs, conductive paint, and batteries.--Laura Cochrane
ELEV-8 Quadcopter. $599. Spend a weekend building the ELEV-8 kit with dad and then take it to the skies! This quad is powerful enough to lift a small camera (up to 2 lbs.), so you can experiment with aerial photography. Don't forget to pick up a crash pack as well, since dad will probably need to replace a few props after some practice sessions.--Eric Weinhoffer.
Brooklyn Aerodrome Flying Wing Kit. $299. Join your dad in a fun, quick build to complete Flying Wing kit by Brooklyn Aerodrome. The flexible body is extremely crash-resistant, so it's perfect for first-time flyers!--Eric Weinhoffer.
Messograf Caliper Pen $28. A fine pen is always handy to have, but when it's coupled with a German-engineered caliper set, the Messograf Caliper Pen makes itself pretty hard to pass up. You can use it to measure and mark with high precision whether it's in inches or centimeters. Having been a staple amongst German auto mechanics, it also has a tire tread gauge engraved into it. --Michael Colombo.
Swiss Tech Utili-Key $12.99. With it's doppelganger design, the Swiss Tech Utili-Key is a tool that you might forget is even there. Made in the shape of a standard key, it boasts straight and serrated blades, bottle opener, flat and Phillips head screwdrivers, and a tiny driver for eyeglasses and other small screws.--Michael Colombo.