Due to various reasons, humans have two hands. Sometimes less. Balancing wires and solder and a (very hot) soldering iron, or holding a small piece steady painting, can be tricky even for the most dextrous. With movable clamps and a magnifying glass, helping hands make it easier for everyone.
Print your dreams
A quite expensive item for sure, but one that has endless possibilities. Thanks to online modelling communities and easy access to basic CAD software, you can quickly prototype and test designs for projects, or create that part you can’t get elsewhere.
No knife required
Snipping wires to length is easy; removing the plastic insulation to reveal the actual conductive wire underneath can be a little tricky. We recommend a good wire stripper, especially when you get past the breadboard prototyping phase.
Easy to apply, quick to set, strong, and insulating? Glue guns are a maker’s best friend. Always make sure to get one with at least two settings, though. And don’t rely on just one for all your gluing needs. You can even get sealing wax sticks for them, as well.
While you can cut on the surface of a wooden workbench in a pinch (and with permission), a cutting mat is definitely the preferred method. It won’t dull the blade as much, they self-heal, and they usually come with angles and measuring tools built onto the surface so you can have a better visual guide.
Otherwise known as a Dremel, which is a brand of tool maker that makes popular rotary tools, they’re great for small projects. You can sand, buff, cut, drill, shave, and more by switching out the different tool heads. It’s great for makers as they’re small and cover a lot of bases.
See your project
It’s easy to find little USB LED lights on a goose neck these days. They’re bright, low energy, can be clamped to a table, and moved around however you wish. For finer work, good illumination is key, and they’re a bit more flexible than a head torch.
Grab small things
You never realise just how much you need a slim pair of pliers until you really need them and all you have are tweezers or heavy-duty pliers bigger than a Raspberry Pi. Of course, a good set of tweezers and regular-sized pliers are great to have as well.
An essential tool for electronics, a soldering iron is basically a very hot metal pen that allows you to melt specially treated, soft metal that allows for wires and circuits to be connected and have electricity run through them. Make sure to tin the tip before using, though: magpi.cc/tin.
Vital for a lot of wood- and metalwork – even some painting! A clamp can keep your projects sturdy so that drilling or cutting won’t go awry, or make sure glue will dry firmly, or even make sure metal is aligned for welding. Got a miniature with a base? You can lightly clamp it in one to keep it steady too.