When your DIY hobby goes high tech, you’re entering into the realm of maker culture. If you think you’d like making robots and computer-controlled machines in your garage, you need to add a few things to your workshop. We’re talking programmable microcontrollers and computers, 3D printers, CNC milling tools, and laser cutters. Even if you’re just into manufacturing, computer control can add another dimension to what you can make.
What is a maker?
It isn’t easy to come up with a definitive definition of what a maker is. Suffice to say that, if you liked the TV show Mythbusters, and you also like making things like Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, you are a maker. If you’re into cosplay, and you make your own elaborate costumes and accessories, you are a maker. And if you make shitty robots like Simone Giertz on YouTube, you are also a maker.
The best gadgets for makers
The best thing about maker culture is the cool tools you get to use. More sensible makers would buy the tools they need for their craft. But gadget lovers do it the other way around. They are often early adopters of new tools. As soon as a consumer version is available, they snap it up and then find a use for it. But along with cutting edge gadgets, there are a few tried-and-tested bits of kit that are as good as standard equipment. Here are some of the best and most popular tools for makers.
Dremel rotary tool
The Dremel rotary tool is amazingly versatile. It has different small disks for purposes such as cutting, shaping, polishing, buffing, drilling, and more. Considering its versatility, almost everyone would find a use for it.
Every electronics buff needs a soldering workstation. You can go as basic or as advanced as you want, depending on your needs. At the core is a good soldering iron. Beyond that you could add desoldering tools, a multimeter, and even an oscilloscope, especially if you’re into electronics repair.
Arduino boards are programmable microcontrollers. If you want to build your robot army, this is where to start. You can upload your code to an Arduino board with the official software.
The Raspberry Pi is the world’s smallest range of hobbyist computers. They are built on a single circuit board, and fit in the palm of your hand. You can incorporate them into all sorts of hobby projects, including compact home theater PCs.
3D printing has been the darling of makers and large manufacturers alike for several years now. It used to be used mainly for rapid prototyping, but it has now become a manufacturing method in its own right. The hardware has gotten smaller and cheaper over the years. The latest thing is the 3D printing pen. The best 3D printing pens are quite bulky, but allow you to build freeform sculptures layer by layer, almost just like drawing in the air. Check out this site for if you would like to research 3D Printing Pens in deapth: https://www.reviewsbyhumans.com/best-3d-printing-pen/
Minecraft is not just a game. It’s also a limitless building kit, almost like digital Lego. Makers have built all sorts of machines in Minecraft, and even recreated blocky versions of famous architecture.