Christmas Gift Guide 2014: 12 gadget gifts for Makers

Got a gadget DIY fan to buy for? This collection of homebrew kit will have them gathered around the tree on Christmas day, soldering to their heart's content

Getting DIY with your digital kit is back in a big way.

Where tinkering with electronics was once the preserve of strange-smelling men with egg on their cardigans, the last year has seen a veritable explosion of tech that you can assemble and customise yourself, armed only with a soldering iron and a screwdriver.

We've rounded up a selection of the best Christmas gift ideas for the new generation of Makers – some are fun, some are educational, some are useful, and a few are all three.

Fabricated: The New World of 3D printing (£15)

Looking for a primer on the 3D printing movement? This book outlines how the future of additive manufacturing will pan out, from potential triumphs to challenges that the new technology will face along the way.

Everything from bioprinting working organs to food printing comes under the microscope, while the authors' ten principles of 3D printing explain exactly what the advantages of additive manufacturing are – from precise replication to manufacturing complexity. 

Buy Fabricated: The New World of 3D printing here

Picaxe Rudolph Reindeer Project Kit (£10)

This festive-themed kit teaches you basic electronics – and at the end of the process, you'll have a cheerful Christmas decoration to hang on the tree. What's not to like? An 8 pin microcontroller controls the flashing lights and a piezo sounder for playing Christmas tunes. You'll probably want to fling poor old Rudolph out the window after the tenth tinny rendition of Jingle Bells, mind.

Buy the Picaxe Rudolph Reindeer Project Kit here

More after the break...

Raspberry Pi Model B+ (£32)

It may not look like much, but the Raspberry Pi is a computer the size of a credit card. The dinky device has been used for everything from gaming to brewing to turning vegetables into musical instruments – its potential is only limited by your imagination. It's even been into outer space.

The B+ is the latest version of the Pi, adding two extra USB ports over the Model B, plus a 40-pin GPIO header and a low-noise power supply for better audio.

Buy the Raspberry Pi Model B+ here

Kano (£100)

If you've got kids, this educational kit will turn them into coders of the future. Kano is a DIY, Raspberry Pi-based computer designed to teach kids how to code in a fun way. The kit includes a DIY computer kit, a bright, bold keyboard and trackpad, and quick start guides to get you up and running.

The computer comes loaded with the Linux-based Kano OS, complete with the Kano Blocks and Scratch visual programming languages, plus Codecademy – the kids will be designing and playing Snake and Pong in no time. And for some downtime, it also comes equipped with Minecraft.

Buy Kano here

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