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The Artefact Holiday Gift Guide: Makers


Our studio is full of hackers, coders, builders and makers who are always tinkering around with something. Last year we harnessed their knowledge to create a holiday gift guide for little makers, but this year they were chomping at the bit to share some of their favorite gift ideas for the more mature crowd. From conferences to conductive touch boards, we’re sure we can help you find the perfect gift for the creative maker in your life.

Bare Conductive Touch Board – $85

Developed by London design studio Bare Conductive, the Touch Board is capable of transforming everyday objects into interactive and responsive artifacts via capacitive sensing. The boards are pre-programmed to turn touch into sound and Bare Conductive’s electric paint can be used in tandem to paint objects that trigger those sounds when touched. This video from Bare Conductive does a great job demonstrating just a few ways people can use the Touch Board, along with their electric paint, but it’s so easy to use that your standard tinkerer will come up with their own creative applications in no time.

XOXO Festival – $$$

The XOXO Festival is an arts and technology conference in Portland, OR every September. It’s kind of like what SXSW Interactive used to be before it became what it is now. The festival is described as a celebration of disruptive creativity, focused on technology and those who are building tools to facilitate and encourage independent creativity through the web. With previous speakers including Dan Harmon, Adam Savage, and the creator of Kickstarter, The Verge calls it one of the most interesting weekends in tech and we’d have to agree.

Fluke Digital Multimeter – $180

The nearly indestructible Fluke multimeter is the best there is for general purpose electrical and electronic test requirements. The Fluke 115 displays RMS voltage and current readings with 600-count resolution, making it perfect for quick verifications and field service use. Our in-house makers swear by this guy.

Hakko FX-888D Soldering Iron – $110

Another studio favorite: the Hakko is the best pencil style soldering iron out there. It heats up in 30 seconds, with a calibrated temperature control knob. It also has replaceable tips, accurate temperature control, as well as a metal stand and, of course, top-notch construction. The Hakko is a professional grade staple, making it the perfect centerpiece to any soldering kit.

Tessel 2 – $35

The Tessel 2 is the next-generation Tessel open-source development platform you can embed in a product. You may not know what that means, but your programmer friends will. Part of what’s cool about Tessel (other than it’s super low $35 price) is that it’s a completely open source and community driven platform for anything from IoT to robots. This board has been built from the ground up for über makers who are looking to build IoT-related projects quickly.

Adafruit Gift Card – $50 to $100

Adafruit has everything any maker would ever need to get their projects off the ground. The site has great documentation, informative tutorials and stellar customer support. If you happen to need a switch, a tool, an Arduino, or a miniature RaspberryPi powered arcade cabinet, this is definitely the place to go.

Red Bull Creation – $$$

If you’ve got a spontaneous, creative, super maker on your list, you’ve got to get them to Red Bull Creation, a 72-hour creative competition among the country’s best and brightest makers, hackers, and inventors where they are challenged to innovate around a “secret topic”. Think: Iron Chef for makers. Start prepping your team for the 2016 session now!

Printrbot Simple Kit – $600

Get the most quintessential maker gift of all this Christmas: a DIY 3D printer! Printrbot is the perfect printer for someone who wants to get into 3D printing for the fraction of the cost of your typical printer. It’s dead simple to set up and comes perfectly sized for toting around to all your favorite workspaces. If you’re not quite ready to make the leap of purchasing your own 3D printer, 3D Hubs is a great resource that will show you a map of all available 3D printers in your area. Now make like Santa’s elves and get making!


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