Gift guides are great, nearly everybody loves them. They may be one of the few advertisements that people are happy to see, since they can genuinely help you decide on a fun gift for a loved one. I know I use them pretty extensively for my shopping.

We came up with an idea to make ours even better. We’re adding some inspiration into the mix. This week we’ll find interesting projects that you can carry out using our top picks from our holiday gift guide:

 

 

Makita 5 piece cordless tool kit

Sure, it has the standards — circular saw, drill, impact driver (alone a must-have). But the reciprocating saw and flashlight can be surprisingly useful in your workshop, and the canvas bag is a great way to tote everything around. Two 18V lithium-ion batteries provide the kick your project needs.

Projects:

 

Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer

Voted best value in our 2018 digital fabrication guide, the Monoprice Select mini is hard to beat. A 120 cubic millimeter build volume for under $200 is pretty amazing, especially when you look at the print quality this machine supplies. It comes with a heated build plate and control interface on the machine, which is a bonus in this price range.

This machine comes fully assembled and ready to print out of the box, and the metal construction will leave you feeling like you really got more than your money’s worth.

Projects:

Amscope Microscope Science Kit

This starter kit gives you everything you need to start observing science in the microscopic world. The microscope itself ranges from 120x to 1200x magnification. It offers a built-in light source (powered by two AA batteries, included) as well as a mirror for using natural light. The ABS carry case stores the microscope and supplies — blank slides and covers, tweezers, eye dropper, Petri dish, and more.

camera-equipped version is also available, although without the science experiments.

Projects:

 


OpenBuilds MiniMill Kit

If you’ve been considering building your own small-scale CNC mill, this kit may be exactly what you’re looking for. All the mechanical parts from the OpenBuilds MiniMill in one place. Simply assemble this kit and add your own stepper motors, limit switches, and control system. The C-beam construction will assure that you’ve got a rigid platform for clean milling.

Winner of Editor’s Choice in this year’s digital fabrication issue of Make: magazine, this mill is a tinkerer’s dream.

Projects:

TPI oscilloscope and multimeter

Whether you’re out in the warehouse troubleshooting a PLC or on the combat robot floor figuring out what damage has been done, a portable scope really comes in handy. The TPI 440 offers a fully functional digital multimeter with oscilloscope display. With robust and tough design, this scope will fit perfectly in any mobile tool set.

Projects:


Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

When it comes to tiny computing, this thing is the Hulk. The Raspberry Pi 3 B+ is the current top of the line in the product range with a 1.4 GHz processor and 1GB of RAM, but still roughly the size of a deck of cards. This bundle comes with all the other parts you need too, like a power supply, case, and even a microSD card.

Projects:


Brewmaster 5 Gallon Starter Kit

Learning how to brew your own beer is easy with this classic beginner’s setup — food-grade plastic buckets for fermenting and bottling, fermentation airlock, hydrometer for testing your beer’s strength, and bottling gear. Our resident brewmaster learned with a similar kit 20 years ago and is still homebrewing today. This kit is nicely documented, affordable, and stocked with a few extras including Star San sanitizer (indispensable) and nylon mesh bags for dry hopping or full grain brewing (when you’re ready to up your game from malt-extract beginner brews). Just add barley malt, hops, and a big old pot for your stovetop and you’re all set.

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