Guide to Buying DIY Electronics as Gifts

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Buying a cool, full-completed product that is ready to go straight out-the-box can be exciting, but some people really enjoy building products themselves. This list is exactly for those that enjoy building their product and the satisfaction of showing off their DIY project. I will be listing off what I think are the top 9 DIY tech products that we have to offer, so my number one might differ from your number one. With that being said, here are my top 9 DIY tech products.

9. Mini Robot Rover Chassis Kit

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A motorize vehicle for your RP3 and Arduino.

We’ll start the list off with the simple Mini Robot Rover Chassis Kit, which allow you to use Raspberry Pi or Arduino boards on the rover. You’ll have to build this rover, so you can attach your board on it and have it driving around in no time. Some suggested components to make the motors run are the TB6612 breakout, Motor FeatherWing, Motor Shield for Arduino, or Motor HAT for Raspberry Pi.

The microcontrollers and microcomputers can be coded to make your rover do anything you need it to do, whether its following a path or having sensors determine the path it takes. Note that the kit only has the whole rover. It does not include a microcontroller or microcomputer, power supply, or H-bridge motor controller.

Kit Includes:

  • 2 Wheels
  • 2 DC Motors in MicroServo shape
  • 1 Support Wheel
  • 1 Metal Chassis
  • 1 Top Metal Plate With Mounting Hardware

8. MintyBoost DIY Charger Kit v3.0 

1117_CM_Minty_Boost

Get your soldering tools ready to build the MintyBoost Kit v3.0, a portable open-source hardware charger that can charge your own iPod, iPhone, GPS, and much more! This project includes all the electronic parts necessary to build you own small, simple, and powerful USB charger.

The charger circuitry and the two AA batteries can fit into very small spaces, such as an Altoids mint tin and can run your iPod for hours. The build can easily be completed by a beginner even if they have never soldered before. The MintyBoost is a great backup charger for anything that needs a USB connection. Batteries, USB cables, and soldering tools are not included.

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MintyBoost Kit v3.0 | 14

Adafruit Industries Power Management Development Boards and Kits View

7. DIY Gamer Kit 

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An Arduino-based portable gaming toy.

As an avid gamer, creating your own electronic game is one of the coolest experiences. With the DIY Gamer Kit from Adafruit Industries, you can build your very own Arduino-based portable gaming toy. You will need to solder the parts on, but otherwise, it should be an easy build, even if you have never soldered before.

Once you have the whole project soldered together, you’ll have an 8x8 LED matrix display that serves as the device’s screen. You can then search the web and upload a game code onto your Arduino, or, if you’re feeling ambitious, you can create your own game, like Snake, Tetris, or even a low-res version of Flappy Bird (good memories, right?).

To make the DIY Gamer Kit, you’ll be needing soldering tools, an Arduino Uno R3, and a 9V Battery, which are not included.

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DIY Gamer Kit | 2123

Adafruit Industries Misc Products View

6. Adafruit IoT Pi Printer Project Pack v2

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Build your own IoT printer.

With Adafruit’s IoT Pi Printer Project Pack v2, you can build small IoT printer and take it wherever you go. This little printer connects wirelessly to the Internet to get data for printing onto a 2 1/4" receipt paper.

You can find python example codes online with different printouts that include daily weather forecast report, Sudoku puzzles, and images. If you’re an avid Twitter user, this next part will amaze you. You can have a “Tweet-printer” that connects Twitter’s search API and can retrieve and print tweets according to your requests, so you can have it print out tweets from a person, a hashtag, mentioning a word, and more!

It is not a very complex project, but it does require a bit of soldering and an understanding of how to set up a Raspberry Pi computer and running commands. Raspberry Pi computer or soldering tools not included. A Raspberry Pi 3 or Raspberry Pi Zero W (will need a 2x20 header) is recommended.

Kit Includes:

  • Mini Receipt Printer
  • 50¢ Receipt Paper. BPA-free
  • 5 V, 4 A Power Adapter
  • 2.1 mm Panel Jack
  • Rugged Metal Pushbutton with White LED Ring
  • 8 GB SD Card With NOOBS (you will be re-burning this card to run Raspbian Lite)
  • 20 pcs Jumper Wires
  • 4700 uF Electrolytic Capacitor
  • Laser-cut Enclosure and Hardware

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5. Konstruktor DIY Camera Kit

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Take nice picture with the Konstruktor DIY Kit.

We showed kits for people who are into gaming, so let me show something for the people that are into photography: the Konstruktor DIY Film Camera Kit from Adafruit. Learn all about camera mechanics in just a few steps by building your own single-lens reflex camera. This is not just a simple camera, as it has features that include a top-down viewfinder, multiple exposure function, bulb setting for long exposures, and a detachable lens.

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Everything should be included in the package, so no need to get other needed parts, making it an easy build.

Kit Includes:

  • Camera Parts
  • Stickers to Decorate Your DIY Camera
  • Screwdriver for Assembly

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Konstruktor Kit | 1672

Adafruit Industries Cameras View

4. Pi-Top Laptop Kit

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Create your own laptop with the Pi-Top.

The simple DIY laptop with a core that runs off the Raspberry Pi. The mission of the Pi-Top is to take users from a beginner level of programming into an advanced level. The laptop case comes with a screen, base top, base bottom, and the Pi-Top Hub PCB to take care of power management, the screen driver, and more!

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Note that the Raspberry Pi is not included, and I would recommend you use the Raspberry Pi 3 since it has Wi-Fi capabilities and is the strongest of all the Raspberry Pi models.

Kit Includes:

  • Screen:
    • 13.3” HD LCD Screen With eDP Interface
    • 1366x768 Resolution
    • PWM Screen Dim Control
    • 60 Hz Refresh Rate
    • Colour Active Matrix TFT LCD Module With Anti-glare Finish
    • 3 W Power Consumption
    • 262K Colors
    • eDP 1.2 Interface
  • Base Top:
    • Keyboard, Fully Reprogrammable via USB
    • Any character can be put on any key position, to suit user’s exact preferences
    • 2.2 mm Operating Distance
    • 18-pin FPC Cable
    • Trackpad
    • PalmCheck feature helps prevents unwanted mouse clicks
    • PS/2 interface
    • 1 N mouse click operating force
    • 8-pin FPC Cable
  • Base Bottom:
    • Smart Battery Pack
    • Two-wire SMBus v2.0 Interface
    • JEITA-recommended Charge Profile
    • Over-current, Over-voltage, Over-temperature and Short-circuit Protection
    • Charge Balancing for Extended Lifetime
    • 51.8 Watt-hour Capacity
    • 10- to 12-hour Run Time
  • Hub:
    • Power Management
    • Screen Driver (HDMI to eDP Conversion)
    • Battery LED Indicators
    • 18 V, 3 A Input
    • 5 V, 3.5 A Output
    • 3.3 V, 500 mA Output
    • Persistent 3.3 V Output (available even when powered off)
    • PCB rail specification pinout connects UART, I2C and SPI to Raspberry Pi for use with add-on boards
  • 8GB SD Card with Pi-Top: OS for the Pi
  • Cables connecting Pi-Top pieces
  • Charger
  • Instruction Booklet

See related product

Pi-Top | 3065

Adafruit Industries Misc Products View

3. Google AIY Voice Kit 

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The DIY AI Box!

The newest fun DIY projects out there; the Google AIY Voice Kit. With this box you will be able to get directions to the nearest pizza place, send a hands-free email, know the weather in your area, or even write little scripts for certain voice commands.

With the AIY Voice Kit, you can build a standalone voice recognition system using the Google Assistant, or you can add voice recognition and natural language processing to your Raspberry Pi based project. It is recommended that you also have the following items as they are not included in the kit: Raspberry Pi 3, 5V power supply, micro SD flash memory, 00 Phillips screwdriver, and scotch tape. For more assembly tips check out this video!

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Kit Includes:

  • Voice HAT Accessory Board
  • Voice HAT Microphone Board
  • Plastic Standoffs
  • 3” Speaker (wires attached)
  • Arcade-style Push Button
  • 4-wire Button Cable
  • 5-wire Daughter Board Cable
  • External Cardboard Box
  • Internal Cardboard Frame
  • Lamp
  • Micro-switch
  • Lamp Holder

See related product

2. Pocket PiGRRL

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Back to the Game Boy days!

The Game Boy was a popular product back in the 90’s, and even today people have fond memories about playing all those Game Boy games. Now you have a chance to revive those games and those memories with the Pocket PiGRRL! It is a DIY gaming system that has a portable Raspberry Pi running MAME and NES emulators.

It is updated to have more buttons this time around, although you’ll need to do all the 3D printing, assembly, and installation to get your gaming on. You will need to solder on parts and have other small parts such as silicone wires, screws. You also need a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3, so make sure to pick that up!

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Kit Includes:

  • PiTFT Plus Assembled 320x240 2.8” TFT + Resistive Touchscreen
  • PiGRRL 2 PCB
  • 2x20 pin IDC BOX Header
  • Adafruit Mono 2.5 W Class D Audio Amplifier – PAM8302
  • Breadboard-friendly SPDT Slide Switch
  • GPIO Ribbon Cable – 40 pins
  • Mini Metal Speaker With Wires – 8 ohm, 0.5 W
  • PowerBoost 1000 Charger – Rechargeable 5 V Lipo USB Boost at 1 A – 1000 C
  • 20x 6 mm Tactile Button switches

See related product

Pocket PiGRRL | 2510

Adafruit Industries Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

1. Pimoroni Picade Cabinet Kit

 1117_CM_Picade

The Raspberry Pi Arcade Cabinet – gaming nostalgia!

The last product we reviewed was also a small portable gaming device, but this one takes the cake! This Pi inspired arcade cabinet is a stylish, retro, and fun arcade cabinet for your Raspberry Pi. All the parts, panels, and components are included. The only thing you will need is the Raspberry Pi and power adapter.

The included panels have a great finish to them, giving the console a high-quality retro look. The speakers are also great quality, pumping out all those retro sounds. The Raspberry Pi is not included, so make sure you get the most recent one including a good 2 A power supply. The build takes about an hour or two to finish and instructions on how to build it are online too.

1117_Picade_parts

Kit includes:

  • Black Powder-coated Cabinet Panels
  • Picade PCB (Arduino compatible with stereo 2.8W amplifier) pre-loaded with the Picade software.
  • LCD Panel Mount With Protective Overlay
  • 8" LCD Panel and Driver Board
  • 2 Pre-soldered Speaker Wires
  • 3.5 mm Stereo Panel-mounted Headphone Socket
  • Marquee and Control Decals
  • HDMI, Audio, and USB Cables
  • Arcade Joystick
  • 12 Micro-switch Arcade Buttons
  • Custom-assembled Wiring Looms
  • Assortment of Fixings, Fasteners, Nuts, and Bolts

See related product

Picade | 2706

Adafruit Industries Embedded System Development Boards and Kits View

With that, this completes my top 10 DIY projects that we are offering this holiday! With so many cool projects, it was a difficult list to make, but that goes to show how awesome these products are! I’m sure you’ll have a blast either building it yourself, or building it with someone else. Remember to pick up your Raspberry Pi 3 since a lot of these products require them.

For more gift guides that include other DIY products, STEM toys, and 3D printers, check these out:

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