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Got a maker in the family, and haven’t got the faintest clue of what you’ll be getting them for Christmas? Don’t stress.

From books, to starter kits and Arduino shields, this list has something for hardware hackers of every ability level.

Arduino Ultimate Starter Kit and Ethernet Shield

Being a maker can be an expensive hobby. This goes doubly true when you’re starting out for the first time, and you have to purchase all the components and microcontrollers you need to actually build something. But as this kit proves, you don’t necessarily have to break the bank.

ArduinoKit

It includes an Arduino Uno, and veritable smorgasbord of wires, resistors, capacitors, piezo buzzers, and breadboards. This is what you’d expect from an Arduino Starter Kit What’s Included In An Arduino Starter Kit? [MakeUseOf Explains] What’s Included In An Arduino Starter Kit? [MakeUseOf Explains] I have previously introduced the Arduino open-source hardware here on MakeUseOf, but you’re going need more than just the actual Arduino to build something out of it and actually get started. Arduino "starter kits" are... Read More .

But this one also includes an Arduino Ethernet Shield, which allows you to build Internet of Things projects that get online through a wired connection, as well as a complimentary 72-page guide to Arduino.

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Arduino Uno 3 Ultimate Starter Kit Includes Step by Step instruction guide Arduino Uno 3 Ultimate Starter Kit Includes Step by Step instruction guide This is the ulitamate Arduino Uno kit enough to get you started with hundreds of arduino projects Buy Now At Amazon $48.99

The booklet has been described as being poorly written and unreliable by a number of reviewers on Amazon – but even with that excluded, this kit represents great value for money. You can order one for the low price of $69.99.

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 2 Complete Starter Kit

Next up, we’ve got another starter kit. This one’s for the Rasperry Pi 2 Another New Raspberry Pi... and it Supports Windows 10 Another New Raspberry Pi... and it Supports Windows 10 Read More , and (very nearly) includes all you need to get started with the Raspberry Pi.

RaspberryPiKit

There’s a WiFi dongle; an HDMI cable; a 2.5A USB power supply; an 8GB Class 10 MicroSD card with the NOOBS operating system pre-installed; a heat-sink (you almost certainly don’t need this); two quick-start guides; and a sturdy plastic case with lid that can be removed, should you need to access the GPIO ports.

CanaKit Raspberry Pi 2 Complete Starter Kit (9-Items) CanaKit Raspberry Pi 2 Complete Starter Kit (9-Items) Includes Raspberry Pi 2 (RPi2) Model B Quad-Core 900 MHz 1 GB RAM Buy Now At Amazon

How much for all this? A paltry $69.99. Get it while you can, folks.

Getting Started with Arduino: The Open Source Electronics Prototyping Platform (Make)

Make Magazine is one of the most widely-known and respected maker publications on the planet. You’ll be pleased to know their books are just as good, too.

What makes Getting Started with Arduino so special? Well, it’s written by Massimo Banzi, who actually co-founded the Arduino project, as well as Michael Shiloh, who teaches electronics and robotics at the California College of the Arts. From the get-go, you know it’s going to be factually accurate and incredibly detailed.

GettingStartedWithArduino

A copy of this book sits on my bookshelf. What I like about it is how gentle it is. It doesn’t make any assumptions about the reader, and guides them by the hand through various different Arduino projects of ever-increasing complexity.

Getting Started with Arduino: The Open Source Electronics Prototyping Platform (Make) Getting Started with Arduino: The Open Source Electronics Prototyping Platform (Make) Buy Now At Amazon $9.67

You can order a copy from Amazon for $15.62.

Designing the Internet of Things

I should probably preface this section with a bit of throat-clearing. Full disclosure: I actually know the authors of this book on a personal level. We all live in the same city, and at some point, we actually shared an office space together at our local hackerspace. Oh, and I’m mentioned in the book’s acknowledgements section.

But believe me when I say despite that, I really like this book. If you’ve read Make’s Getting Started with Arduino, this is the logical next step forwards. It looks at building Internet of Things products at a lower level, and introduces platforms other than Arduino, including Raspberry Pi and BeagleBoard.

DesigningTheInternetOfThings

Readers gain a deeper understanding of how individual components can combine to create compelling, interactive hardware devices.

But it takes a giant leap beyond merely explaining the technical facets of hardware design. The authors – Adrian McEwan and Hakim Cassimally — explore how you can take your idea, and transform it from a simple handmade proof of concept, into something that eventually reaches mass production. As we’ve explored in the past, this is easier said than done Why Hardware Startups Are Hard: Bringing the ErgoDox to Life Why Hardware Startups Are Hard: Bringing the ErgoDox to Life Here’s a controversial opinion for you: launching a software startup is easy. Hardware, on the other hand? Hardware startups are hard. Really hard. Read More .

Designing the Internet of Things Designing the Internet of Things Buy Now At Amazon $13.69

You can order a copy on Amazon for $22.85.

1Sheeld

Last year, I went to the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in London. I was there to meet startups and makers, and to discover new products to write about. One in particular caught my eye.

It was called the 1Sheeld, and it allowed any Arduino to use the sensors and radios from any connected smartphone as though they were directly connected as a hardware shield.

So, for example, you could build a robotic arm that tilts its orientation in line with your phone, or an LED cube that lights up when you speak a specified command into your mobile phone. We reviewed it late last December 1Sheeld, The Ultimate Arduino Shield Review and Giveaway 1Sheeld, The Ultimate Arduino Shield Review and Giveaway A single Arduino shield that can link with an Android device and provide a multitude of sensors and advanced functions? Yep - that's a thing now. The 1Sheeld, in fact. Read More , and were suitably impressed.

1Sheeld For Arduino and Android 1Sheeld For Arduino and Android Experience over 40 Arduino shields on your smartphone Buy Now At Amazon

Initially it was only available to those who backed it on KickStarter, but now you can get it on Amazon for just $54.94.

Emgreat Motor Robot Car Chassis Kit and SainSmart L293D Motor Driver

If you had a remote control car growing up, you’re going to love this. The Emgreat Motor Robot Car Kit provides the fundamentals of what you need to create your own RC car. It comes with a power supply (which takes 4 AA batteries); three wheels, with the rear two driving the car; and four GPIO cables.

For some reason, Emgreat also throw in a complimentary lens cloth with each purchase. No, I don’t know why.

You can order the chassis for $11.59 from Amazon. But to actually to get it to move and steer in a meaningful way, you’re going to need to a computer to control it (read: An Arduino), and some motors to drive it.

Emgreat® Motor Robot Car Chassis Kit with Speed Encoder wheels and Battery Box Emgreat® Motor Robot Car Chassis Kit with Speed Encoder wheels and Battery Box Ideal for DIY Buy Now At Amazon $11.49

You can get the latter with the SainSmart L293D Motor Drive Shield, which costs $8.52.

SainSmart L293D Motor Drive Shield For Arduino Duemilanove Mega UNO R3 AVR ATMEL SainSmart L293D Motor Drive Shield For Arduino Duemilanove Mega UNO R3 AVR ATMEL A monolithic integrated, high voltage, high current, 4-channel driver. Buy Now At Amazon $5.50

Here are some more DIY robot kits 8 Arduino Robots You Can Build for Less than $125 8 Arduino Robots You Can Build for Less than $125 Read More you might want to consider.

60 Watt Soldering Iron

No tinkerer’s toolbox is complete without a soldering iron. They’re handy if you’re building larger, more ambitious hardware products, or simply performing some repairs.

A friend of mine, for example, saved himself around $500 by repairing his broken mobile phone, rather than buying a new one. His SIM socket was detached from the main phone circuit board, preventing him from making or receiving phone calls, and using his data service. To fix it, he applied a liberal serving of molten solder.

Soldering Iron 60 Watt Soldering Iron 60 Watt Anti-roll handle is heat- and impact-resistant, with ribbed design for fingertip control. Buy Now At Amazon $7.75

Learning to solder is easy Learn How to Solder, with These Simple Tips and Projects Learn How to Solder, with These Simple Tips and Projects Are you a little intimidated by the thought of a hot iron and molten metal? If you want to start working with electronics, you're going to need to learn to solder. Let us help. Read More , and the irons themselves are rather cheap, too. One of the highest rated ones on Amazon can be had for only $7.99.

Sugru

Sugru is pretty rad.

It’s essentially a pliable, self-setting rubber that’s sturdy, waterproof, and elastic. By using your hand, you can twist and contort it into any shape you want, allowing you to do anything from ruggedizing tablet computers How to Ruggedize Your Android Tablet How to Ruggedize Your Android Tablet Got a tablet but can't find the right protector for it? Or do you want to ruggedize your tablet on the cheap? Read More , to repairing broken headphones How to Fix Broken Headphones How to Fix Broken Headphones Despite having a reasonable pair of Sennheisers and looking after them, my headphones broke recently — like they always do. Rather than replace them, I decided to repair my headphones. Here's how. Read More . Think of it as a really futuristic version of Plasti-Tack.

Sugru Moldable Glue - Black & White (Pack of 8) Sugru Moldable Glue - Black & White (Pack of 8) Self-setting rubber, formed by hand and cures at room temperature overnight Buy Now At Amazon $13.65

It’s not that expensive, either. An eight-pack will set you back $22.00 on Amazon.

Any Other Recommendations?

Okay folks. We’ve seen eight incredible gifts for makers, tinkerers, and hardware hackers. But did I miss anything? Tell me about in the comments below.

Photo Credits: Designing for the Internet of Things (Marcus Brown), Getting Started with Arduino (Nicolas Mutis) 

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