What’s In My Maker’s Lab?

A Comprehensive List of The Tools and Equipment I Use to Make My Projects

When I show my projects to people, I often get asked what kind of equipment I have in my lab, and how I use it for my projects. So here is a brief summary:

Electronics

CPS-3205 Lab Power Supply

It provides me with the power I need for my projects. It goes up to 5A and 32V, and also has a digital display where I can see how much current the project is drawing from the supply:

The CPS-3205 powering my first Android Things project

Bakon SBK8586 Soldering Station

Combines a Soldering Iron and Hot Air Gun in one product. For less than $100 USD, it answers all my soldering needs. I can use it to solder large through-hole components, as well as very fine-pitch components (like the nRF52832 chip I replaced in a broken Espruino board).

Soldering + Hot Air Station came in really handy when I built the ng-beacons

Sparkfun Straight Tweezers

I use them all around the place, not just for electronics. For instance, if I have to pick a small screw or nut, and sometimes even to remove pests from our plants:

I found this little guy on our Basil plant

Third-Hand tool

It holds stuff for me while I’m soldering or using the hot air gun. It also had a built-in LED light and a magnifying glass, though I don’t use them very often.

Third hand tool and tweezers help when assembling the heart PCB I designed for Ariella Eliassaf’s birthday

MN16A Multimeter

A small, portable auto-ranging multimeter. It can measure voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, frequency and temperature:

Measuring some stuff

Raspberry Pi 3

The Raspberry has been useful in many of my projects, such as the Angular-Simon game, the bank’s website man-in-the-middle attack proof of concept, and even when I reverse engineered a smart WiFi Light bulb.

Using the Raspberry Pi to extract content from a Serial Flash Memory chip

In addition, many electronic boards and components that I order come with some sample code, and it is usually either Raspberry Pi or Arduino code. For instance, the Waveshare E-Paper display module I used in the Real-Life version of the Chrome T-Rex Game came with some Raspberry Pi code, which I later ported to run on Espruino:

Arduino

Just like the Raspberry Pi, many components that I use have libraries for Arduino. It is very handy to have one or two around, so I can quickly get started with new components.

I also use the Arduino in my workshops

J-Link Programmer

I use it to program ARM-based CPUs such as the nRF52832, and also for reverse engineering tasks, like when I extracted the firmware from the Magic Blue Smart Light Bulb.

More Stuff

I have a bunch of LEDs, these are very useful just as “debug prints” in hardware. I also have a bunch of resistors, capacitors, etc, some breadboards, a bunch of hookup wire spools, a wire stripper tool, and many many jumper wires:

These are neatly organized thanks to my 3D printer

The 3D Printer

I have a Creality CR-20 printer, and I use it all the time to print 3d parts and enclosures for my projects, including the Purple Eye Dancing Robot, Trumpet Playing Robots and many others..

A linear motion mechanism I printed

I mainly use OpenSCAD for more complex designs, such as the fingers mechanism for the trumpet playing robot:

The printer is also very useful for organizing my stuff, for instance — my USB cables:

As some point, I even added plotting capabilities to my printer (it was as simple as printing a single part, and tinkering with the software):

My 3D printer can also draw and sketch!

Hardware

Bosch PSR-1440 Cordless Drill/Driver

It drills. It fastens screws. And screws are very useful for attaching things like the drum of my DiY Rotary Rock Tumbler:

The drum of my DiY Rotary Rock Tumbler. You can watch it in action

I have a set of drills ranging from 2mm up to 10mm, and a bunch of screws, mainly M3 and M4 screws with matching nuts and washers.

Having a drill is really useful when prototyping 3D parts, as I can drill holes in the draft parts instead of having to print them again with the holes.

Eye Protection

I can’t stress enough how important it is to wear it when dealing with things that can possibly get into your eyes and hurt them. Like onions:

I can cut onions with no tears! 💧⛔

Digital Caliper

I got mine from SparkFun. It is an essential tool when modeling 3D printed and laser-cut parts, and even came in handy when I designed the PCB for my Wireless Extra-Magic Smart Bulb.

Using the caliper I designed a PCB that could fit inside this bulb, turning it into a wireless bulb

So There You Have It!

As you have seen, my equipment is mainly geared towards working with electronics and 3D-printing, and these two have a large part in my projects. What about your setup? I’d love to learn what tools other use when making stuff. Please share!


This is the 26th post in my Postober Challenge — writing something new every single day throughout October.

I will tweet whenever I publish a new post, promise! ✍