The holidays — gift-giving in particular — always induce anxiety. It’s never easy to pick a present that someone will enjoy, especially if the recipient is an engineer.
Well, we here at Tech Briefs want to make your life easier. So here are some gift ideas for the engineer — or aspiring engineer — in your life.
Weighing in at 42 pounds, the Bantam Tools Explorer CNC Milling Machine would look terrific under the tree of the miller in your life. The machine is portable — it can solve problems on the go — and can notch a material removal rate of 0.1 cubic in/min (2.54 cubic mm/min) in aluminum 6061 as well as has a repeatability of +/- .001”. Brass, copper, engineering plastics, hardwoods, machining wax, and FR-1 are also supported materials. With its small size and portability, this gift will be ideal for the creative makers, designers, engineers, and students interested in digital design, small-scale manufacturing and prototyping.
Capturing your memories in 3D is a snap — thanks to Snap. Indeed. The company’s Spectacles 3 comprises two HD cameras, which capture 3D photos and videos at 60 fps, as four built-in microphones record high-fidelity audio. Images from both cameras build out a geometric map of the world around you. The photos and videos wirelessly sync to your phone, where they can be edited. Spectacles 3 aims to let you experience — and reimagine — your memories in a new way.
This technology comes with 7.04-inch 3K mono LCD, high-precision integral light source, Wi-Fi capability, Z-axis with dual linear rails, and a print size of 5.12 inches x 4.8 x 6.3 inches. Its contrast ratio is more than 350 — so printing details are more accurate — and it thwarts issues such as uneven light curing, overexposure, and corrugated layer on the printed models. This 3D printer can connect to the Creality Cloud App for free model selection and cloud slicing and breaks location and time restrictions via one-click printing and remote monitoring. This 3D printer under the tree will make you your engineer’s Ho-Ho-Hero.
The atolla Laser Distance Measure Tool is an advanced measuring tool for indoor measurements as well as outdoor construction site measurements. The device boasts a measurement accuracy of +/- 2mm and aims to provide easier, faster, and more precise measurements. Its compact design allows it to fit in a jacket pocket, and it can self-calibrate. The only thing it cannot measure is the gratitude of its recipient.
Designed for the beginner and expert engineer, the X-Tronic 3020-XTS is a low-cost, high-quality soldering station with 60 watts for the heating of the soldering iron and 15 watts to run the mini-motherboard in the iron. It features a blue LED fully adjustable temperature display; a 10-minute sleep timer with auto cool-down function and a C/F switch; an ergonomic heat-resistant grip; five extra soldering tips; and a brass sponge soldering tip cleaner; and more.
Weighing in at under 249 grams, the Mini 3 Pro drone is powerful and portable, and has a flight time of 34 minutes. It can capture 4K/60 fps video, 48MP photos, true vertical shooting, with a gimbal that rotates 90 degrees and a time-lapse mode. With a 1/1.3-inch sensor and other top-tier features, it’s the safest in its series. With larger propellers, an aerodynamic body, and an obstacle-sensing system, the Mini Pro 3 drone is a good choice for the tech-savy engineer in your life.
The Space Shuttle was NASA’s partially reusable low-Earth orbital spacecraft, but it was retired after the final flight of Atlantis’ on July 21, 2011. Now, a 1/100th-scale replica is available. Handcrafted from mahogany with a wooden base and standing 25-feet high with a nine-foot wingspan, all the models have different names: Endeavor, Atlantis, and Discovery. It’s set to touch down in your engineer’s heart moments after being unwrapped.
The Space Astronaut Starry Nebula LED Night Lamp with nine nebulae and three projector discs is 100 percent safe, as it contains no lasers. It will, however, create colorful, unpredictable nebulae on walls and ceilings. Its built-in 1,200ml battery can be used for about two hours, but the joy it will bring will last forever. The astronaut galaxy light helps stimulate curiosity, imagination, and creativity of younger space enthusiasts.
Geared more toward aspiring engineers, the Renewable Energy Science Kit allows for experimentation with hydrogen fuel cells, solar energy, wind turbines, and water electrolysis — an entire mini renewable energy system can be constructed on a mini scale. It comes with a wind turbine module, a solar photovoltaic panel, an electrolyzer, a PEM fuel cell, a hydrogen storage system, and other tools. It can help learn the entire system and visualize the anatomy of clean energy principles.
The Veggie Power Battery Kit helps create an actual potato battery and can ascertain which produce generates the most power. Users can build and explore two types of batteries: A saltwater battery and a simple battery using potatoes (or other produce). The kit comes with reusable electronic components, allowing for multiple experiments/the building of two different kinds of batteries; oversized electrodes that maximize the amount of current generated; a multimeter for accurate power-output measurements; and new and improved instructions featuring images and step-by-step guides. This is the one gift that makes it OK to play with your feed.