Make: Holiday Gift Guide 2009: What’s on YOUR wishlist?

Make: Holiday Gift Guide 2009: What’s on YOUR wishlist?

Well, after several weeks of nearly daily gift guides here on MAKE, we can’t imagine you haven’t found more than enough ideas for fun, creative, productive, smart, and just plain cool stuff to gift your friends and love ones this year.

But wait, there’s more! We asked OUR friends and loved ones in the extended MAKE family what THEY wanted for Christmas. Here’s some of what they lust after (gift-givers take note).

And, as the title to the guide implies, this is a DIY gift guide. What’s on YOUR list? Tell us in the Comments.

Bose SoundDock ($360, Bose)
I really like riding my horse to music. It helps keep me energized and it’s really neat when your horse gets in the groove, too! The Bose system is really loud, so you can hear it from across the arena, and I’m able to plug in my old school iPhone to play songs, which is great because most devices aren’t compatible with the original iPhone and the only other MP3 player I own is a first-genl iPod Mini. I really hope Santa sees this! — Katie Dougherty Kunde, Maker Media’s Account Manager


Joey Roth Ceramic Speakers ($495, Joey Roth)
I’m suddenly lusting after these. — Dan Woods, Assoc. Publisher & G.M., Maker Retail


All-in-one timer/thermometer ($25, Polder)
My new apartment’s oven is decidedly unreliable when it comes to temperature, but even if it weren’t, I’d still want this combination timer/thermometer by Polder. Over Thanksgiving, I had the opportunity to see how it works. My dad was using it to measure the turkey’s temperature, with an alarm set to go off when the probe reached the
desired level. — Becky Stern


Kevlar Shoe/Boot Laces ($4.95, Gempler’s)
I’m a sucker for anything made from high-performance materials. These Kevlar boot laces are intended for much harder-working shoes than my blue suede Keds, but I can’t resist their over-engineered goodness and sporty yellow color. They’ll probably last longer than the shoes themselves. — Sean Michael Ragan


Aluminum 3-ring Binder ($25.40, Grainger)
Most designers, engineers, architects, and other folks who pay attention to the way things are made, have had the experience of discovering the real-life manifestation of one of their own personal fantasy objects. This is not so much a “damn somebody scooped me!” feeling as a kind of relief, coupled with a feeling of camaraderie with the person who made it happen — whatever “it” happens to be. These binders are the first such instance I can recall in my life. When I was a teenager, lugging school supplies around every day, I used to dream of indestructible, lightweight three-ring binders made from heavy-gauge sheet aluminum with piano hinges to replace the flimsy cardboard-shrinkwrapped-in-vinyl models with which I had to make do. Then, in my early twenties, I was thrilled to discover that such binders actually existed and can be had for a not-unreasonable price. – Sean Michael Ragan


Linear Actuator ($119, Firgelli Automation)
I want Santa to bring me a 12″ stroke, linear actuator for Xmas, so I can build my crazy remote controlled art cabinet. — Paul Overton, head dude at DudeCraft


3D printed parts for a RepRap Mendel (prices vary,
The RepRap machine is the brainchild of Adrian Bowyer. It is a Replicating Rapid-prototyper, a machine that is currently capable of making 50% of it’s own unique parts — the other 50% being easy to acquire, off the shelf items. It is an open source 3D printer, and like open source software, each patch, improvement, or extension created by the community, gets rolled back into the ‘code base’ and is then available for incorporation into the next generation of machines. The first generation was called Darwin, and Darwin has, fittingly, evolved into to the smaller, faster, easier to build Mendel.

How do you get a set of Mendel parts? Aye, there’s the rub. For a self-replicating machine, Mendel parts are few and far between. You need to find someone with a RepRap to make a set for you and the community is still small and the demand great. Fortunately, RepRap parts can also be made on a variety of commercial 3D printers and on RepRap bootstrap machines (or RepStraps), such as the CupCake CNC from MakerBot Industries. I am hopeful that many of the now several hundred strong legion of CupCake builders will soon start churning out RepRap parts with the spare cycles between their own projects, thus bootstrapping the RepRap ecology!

I’ve installed the RepRap software, built my electronics, and now it’s time to start fabbing! — Jake von Slatt, Steampunk Workshop


Lensbaby Accessory Kit ($125, Lensbaby)
I’m eyeballin’ this accessory bundle for my Lensbaby Composer. It has a wide-angle/telephoto adapter, as well as a macro kit, which makes the regularly 50 mm lens a lot more functional. The included aperture discs in silly shapes also look like good fun. All I’ve ever wanted was bokeh in the shape of a biohazard symbol. :) — Libby Bulloff, artist, photographer, writer, Renaissance woman


Canon EOS 7D (~$1800, Canon)
A lot of what we do is photographing and documenting projects; it’s finally time to upgrade past that point and shoot.
— Windell Oskay, head high-dome, Evil Mad Scientist Labs


Leica D-Lux 4 ($700, Leica)
I’ve had this camera on my list for quite some time now. Collin already has one (I’m so jealous), so I’ve been able to see first-hand how cool it really is. The lens is so juicy, and it captures RAW. If some horrible accident were to befall my beloved Sanyo Xacti HD2, this
is the camera I would buy. — Becky Stern


Stoneware Bowl ($24, Keith Phillips/Etsy)
I’m also smitten with this stoneware bowl. K.H. Phillips makes amazing pottery with old-school graphics. He’s also a big fan of creating objects in clay that are normally disposable, thus rendering them priceless and permanent. His work is gorgeous (I own several of his bowls already), his attitude is fantastic, and the pottery is dishwasher and microwave-friendly. — Libby Bulloff


Sugru ($11, Sugru)
I LOVE Sugru! Polymer clay that bonds metal, plastic, glass and ceramic, and dries to a flexible rigidity in 24 hours. I’m fixing EVERYTHING around the house with it. — Cory Doctorow, Boing Boing editor, sci-fi author, MAKE columnist


Unidentified coffee roaster of my childhood (Cost: Priceless)
I don’t know why I look grumpy (maybe I thought I was cool, like Dirty Harry), because I loved the smell of that place. It was taken at in 1978, at the roasting shop in my mother’s hometown of Cassino, Italy. I would kill to own that now!


HotTop Electric Drum Coffee Roaster ($920, Sweet Maria’s)
Barring that, I’d love a new coffee roaster of a more modest size. My homemade setup is in dire need of repair, and I’ve been dreaming about getting one with programmable roast profiles (time and temperature). This one would do nicely.

And, while you’re there, I’d be very happy with five pounds of their El Salvador Cup of Excellence Villa Espana Bourbon green coffee beans to roast ($30.45) — John Edgar Park


Bartender/Utility Bag (Meehan) from Moore & Giles $660
I’m in love with this mobile mixology bag/tool roll. It’s absurdly high-end, but whenever I go to a friend’s place to mix drinks, I envision carrying this lovely beast in, rather than my paper grocery sack overfilled with bottles, tinctures, barware, and other gear. Look at that tool roll! — John Edgar Park


Rigol DS1052E Digital Oscilloscope ($400-$600)

Dear Santa,
I’ve been really good this year, snapping pics of waveforms on my analog scope whenever I needed to for debugging and sharing with others. If I had access to a digital scope, I could save wave images with ease. Rigol’s DS1052E even has a USB port right there on the front panel for saving screenshots to a flash drive, and it’s by far the most affordable digi-scope out there! (~$400 on eBay!) Plus once I’ve learned how to use it properly, I could finally fix that old drum machine of yours :) — Collin Cunningham


Little Torch, Model 23-1010P ($474.24, Smith Equipment)
A compact and practical setup for metalwork with a fine-point oxy-propane torch. I’m looking forward to trying my hand at welding, brazing, and cutting, all at Lilliputian scale.
— Windell Oskay, head high-dome, Evil Mad Scientist Labs


Split Decision Kit ($160, Voile)
If someone would just buy me one of these, then I can stop talking about it, use it to convert my snowboard into a splitboard, and go on my merry way into the backcountry where I belong (with way more ease than trekking on snowshoes with my board on my back). Skinning is the way to go on the ascent, but nothing puts a bigger smile on my face than riding a board on the way down — the best of both worlds. And as a nod to destiny, my friend Mairin kicked down the perfect deck that’s just patiently waiting to get split. Ever since I first read Damien Scogin’s how-to in MAKE, Volume 20, a split kit has been at the top of my wish list. — Goli Mohammadi, Assoc. Managing Editor, MAKE

Jillian Northrup & Jeffrey McGrew, of Because We Can, sent us their list. Oh, and they also included Frank’s list. Who’s Frank? Their beloved ShopBot CNC machine.


Starmap ($12, iTunes App Store)
An Augmented Reality star gazing app (so cool!).


Jetboil Backcountry Gourmet Cooking Set ($146.20)
We love this camping Jetboil Backcountry Gourmet Cooking Set with French press add on (makes coffee in about a minute –yes!).


PRS Retro Z Axis ($1495 – $2195)
And Frank needs a Christmas present, too! Frank would like this upgrade “Z” axis. Nothing like upgrading yourself for the holidays…


Death Korps of Kreig army for Warhammer 40,000 ($ thousands, Forgeworld)
As a long-time admirer of the miniature modelers at Forgeworld, a division of Games Workshop, I frequently drool over all of the amazing pieces they’re constantly releasing. And drool is most of what I do, not buy. I have one $200-plus model a friend gave me as a birthday present, and I’ve bought a few low-cost pieces. But I can’t imagine how much it would cost to buy all of the models required to build a complete, say 2,000 point, army for a game of 40K. With all troops and vehicles, it would be thousands (not to mention the hundreds of hours required to assemble, convert, paint, and base all the models). If I were doing such an army, I’d go Death Korps. I love the mash-up of WWI, WWII, retro-futurism, from past to far future, from Roman Legion to Panzer Division to Sardaukar. The sculpts, detailing, and dynamic poses on these models are amazing. — Gareth Branwyn


70 Watt / 100 Watt CO2 Laser Cutter ($16,495, Emission Technologies Inc.)
OK, so it’s a little on the expensive, but it’s very practical. This laser cutter, by Emission Technologies Inc., features a 70-Watt laser on a 24″ x 48″ bed. That’s huge! With those specs, you could run lost of jobs at once, and fast! Also, this system includes a lot of what would normally be considered “extras,” like an aluminum honeycomb bed, vacuum system, red diode pointer, gas-assist nozzle, and closed loop cooling system. So, if anyone out there is thinking of getting me something really special for the holidays, this would make me very, very happy! — Marc de Vinck


All I want for Christmas is some free time and a nap. — Lenore Edman, head high-dome, Evil Mad Scientist Labs

26 thoughts on “Make: Holiday Gift Guide 2009: What’s on YOUR wishlist?

  1. Becky Stern says:

    This is great, and upon second thought I second Lenore’s wish! =D

    1. Silverman says:

      Becky, the Leica D-Lux 4 is the same camera as the Panasonic DMC-LX3, but the Panasonic costs about $300 less. I got an LX3 in February and I love it. How can you resist a pocket-sized camera with a 24mm f/2 lens!

      1. Laura Cochrane says:

        Yeah, I have a Leica Digilux 1 and a Panasonic point-and-shoot, and I’m really impressed with both of them. The Panasonics have Leica lenses. But man, that retro Leica styling is pretty sweet.

  2. Andy says:

    OK, a gift guide that has a Bose Sound Dock is NOT what I would call a DIY gift guide. Perhaps the description should have read “not a DIY gift guide”? Very few items in this list are DIY kits or something a DIYer would use (or in the case of the Bose, something a typical DIYer would even like – Bose tends to be the epitome of overpriced closed-architecture design.)

    1. John Park says:

      Andy, it’s a DIY guide, in the sense that everyone can contribute to it in the comments. Not necessarily in the sense that these are DIY items.
      So what’s on your list? Is there a good, open-architecture, nicely priced sound dock you’d recommend? I still like plugging my old iPod into the aux jack of a Tivoli radio, but it is a bit clunky.

      1. Simon says:

        How about an amp like this?

        Always wanted to build a tube amp myself. Definitely more DIY.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I expect that kevlar laces will wear through your shoes pretty quickly. Kevlar kite line used to go through stuff if you weren’t careful.

  4. E. Wingate says:

    I’ll second the Panasonic DMC-LX3; $300 is a lot to spend on a red dot. The cash you save on the camera can be put towards a full build of one of these:

  5. Jon H. says:

    I’m kind of tapped out on gadgetry. My daughter got these “apocalypse cakes recipe cards” in the mail.. they’re pretty funny. Someone made a recipe card in honor of every apocalyptic eventuality. They’re cheap but I’m holding out for my wife to get them for me….

  6. Toby says:

    Mine’s fueled with oxy/actylene, but oxy/propane shouldn’t be too different. It is generally spendier to buy them with those tiny tanks and carriers (your local welder’s supply should be able to set you up).

    I wish I could get some Sugru, which looks amazing. Alas, it’ll have to wait a month or two until they get another batch ready…

  7. jasenj1 says:

    The wife and I recently bought a Cricut Expression ( and are having a ball with it. The Silhouette ( is another machine with slightly different capabilities, and there are several other manufacturers. You can swap the blade out for a pen and have a plotter, use a conductive pen to do circuit layouts, do templates for glass etching, do print, cut & fold paper crafts, MAKE lots of great stuff.

    So if you can’t spring for the $16,000 CO2 laser cutter, you could pick up one of these personal cutters for ~$200.

    – Jasen.

  8. Tina Marie says:

    I first saw the TickleMe Plant on the Premier of CSI NY and then On the Today Show. Now I have TickleMe Plant fever. If you haven’t heard…the TickleMe Plant is a real tropical plant that instantly closes its leaves and lowers its branches when you Tickle IT! No wires or batteries..this is a gift from mother nature. Now it can be easily grown indoors year round.
    See the video you won’t believe your eyes.

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn
Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).