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:
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:
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).
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:
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.
A small, portable auto-ranging multimeter. It can measure voltage, current, resistance, capacitance, frequency and temperature:
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.
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:
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 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.
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:
The 3D Printer
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):
It drills. It fastens screws. And screws are very useful for attaching things like the drum of my DiY Rotary Rock Tumbler:
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.
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:
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!