The best gifts for engineers
by Duncan Geddes
Whether it’s a birthday, Christmas or you just want to give someone a treat, we have compiled a list of the best gifts for engineers.
The perfect gifts for computer engineers often involve computers. However, depending on your budget, high-tech and expensive machinery is not always possible. Brands such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino offer low-cost, credit card-sized computers that pack a lot of punch. The board-based devices come in a range of sizes and technical specifications – offering a variety of choice for whatever your engineer is into. Whether they use it for their latest project, or just a bit of fun, these dinky computers are perfect to connect with 3D printers, for learning code and programming and even home automation.
In July 2019, Raspberry Pi released its 4 Model B, which offers either 2GB, 4GB or 8GB of RAM, a faster processor and faster Gigabit Ethernet port, as well as dual 4K HDMI outputs and two USB 2.0 ports and two USB 3.0 ports. The computer has been well reviewed, with prices starting at £34 for the 2GB device.
Drones are as popular as ever. With so many on the market, prices can vary widely. However, this can make the process of finding the most appropriate one more difficult. Here are a couple from each end of the price spectrum.
DJI Mavick 2
DJI’s Mavick 2 is the perfect drone for engineers, as the product is targeting to “exist where engineering, technology, and the needs of the aerial photographer converge.” The drone comes in two models, Pro or Zoom. The Pro is priced at £1,349, while the Zoom comes in a little cheaper at £1,099. With 31 minutes of flight time and 8 km 1080p of video transmission, both models have a lot to offer. The Pro features the Hasselblade L1D-20c camera and the Zoom has a 24-48 mm optical zoom camera, advertising itself with ultimate flexibility.
At a fraction of the price of the previous zone, the Ryze Tello costs £99. Connecting to your smartphone with the app, the drone can travel 100m and has a flight time of 13 minutes. With 720p transmission, the Tello is compatible with VR headsets. Ryze even claims the device can perform aerial stunts – perfect for those who want a bit more fun with their drone. The device will also land itself safely, even if connection is lost.
A 3D printer could be one of the ideal gifts for engineering students, or anyone keen on creating at home. Once again, there are plenty of printers on the market, all coming in at different price points. The Creality Ender 3 is very reasonably priced at $239.99 (£195.47). The device offers simple assembly, but a stable performance. The compact printer takes up little space but enables you to create models of varying sizes. The printer can heat up very quickly and offer long-time printing, while still having the appropriate safety features.
Laser distance measure
A staple in any engineer’s toolkit, a laser distance measurer can offer ease and accuracy. So many of these measurers can offer area and volume, as well as a Bluetooth connection to easily transfer your data to the required software. The Leica DISTO D2 can measure two and three point Pythagoras, and add and subtract. This £275 tool can measure as far as 330ft, while the ARAS Laser Distance Meter can only measure up to 131ft but only costs £22.99.
Lego Architecture could be one of the best engineering gifts for adults who loved Lego in their childhoods. A more developed version of the original blocks, Lego has launched its Architecture range in which you can created smaller replicas of your global landmarks. Ranging in price and complexity, the brand has released more simple sets such as the Las Vegas Strip for £34.99, or the more complicated Taj Mahal for £299.99.
Portable solar charger
Another recommended engineering gift is a portable solar charger. No doubt your friend, family member or colleague uses their fair share of electricity in their endeavours. Not only will a portable charger be a practical gift, one of these will be good for the environment and likely always have some charge.
The Rise Infinity 2 Solar Charger sustainably stores energy on the built-in 8000mAh battery, which could charger a phone three times. Priced at £39.99, the charger uses photovoltaic panels made from a top grade monocrystalline. The AOPAWA Solar Power Bank has a 26800mAh capacity, with up to nine chargers from one device. The LED light indicator displays how much charge is stored in the battery, ensuring you’re never left in the dark.
Binary Wall Clock
A binary wall clock is the perfect gift to help an engineer with their interiors. A unique gift that will likely garner some attention and questions from guests, the clock uses binary code to convey the time.
This clock has a couple of modes, depending on how you want the time to be displayed, and costs £80.95. However, if you’re after desk toys for engineers, and the wall clock is too big, the same brand also offers a standing clock for £48.95.
Prime Climb, the maths-based board game, is a great engineering gift. Although an ideal gift for engineers, the game is suitable for the whole family – perfect for anyone expressing an interest in maths from a young age.
OWI Robotic Arm Edge
OWI has created a range of kits, some very child friendly. However, the OWI Robotic Arm Edge enable anyone to make their own robotic arm at home. Only costing $41.95 (£34.08), OWI have made advanced technology accessible at home. The arm has a gripper that can open and close, 120 degrees of wrist motion, elbow range of 300 degrees, base rotation of 270 degrees and base motion of 180 degrees. With a vertical reach of 15 inches, horizontal reach of 12.6 inches and lifting capacity of 100g, the robotic arm is very impressive for an at-home toy.
No matter what industry you work in, coffee is universally loved. So, why not bring an engineering twist to your favourite drink? Promising to deliver delicious flavour, the AeroPress uses a plunger to push trapped air down the chamber, forcing water over the coffee and through a filter. Bringing innovation to coffee presses, this gift can combine someone’s favourite hobby and drink. Eco-friendly and ready in 30 seconds, what’s not to love?
RocketBook offer a range of notebooks, however the Core is set to “provide a classic pen and paper experience, yet is built for the digital age.” The notebook becomes reusable, as water can remove the set ink from the any of the brands Pilot Frixion pens. You can also connect your notebook with a range of cloud services, scanning your notes and storing them online. Once you’ve saved your scribbles, wipe them away and start again!
The Fusion book offers the same innovation, with a variation in pages – ideal for any situation, from classrooms to workplaces. The layouts range from calendars to note-taking pages and to-do lists.
Build your own rocket
What engineer doesn’t want a chance to make their own rocket? When looking for gifts for mechanical engineers, a build your own rocket kit could be ideal. Not only will your loved one have the experience of building their own rocket, they can then have the satisfaction of setting it off.
Not found anything on this list? If you have your own gift idea why not see it come to life with Technical Foam Services. We can help you design and develop your product, so you don’t have to.