Great Gifts For Electronics Geeks For Less Than $20

Fill your favorite nerd's stocking with Make's holiday gift guide

Bomb Defuser

Maker Shed

Make magazine has just put up its $20 and under holiday gift guide, chock full of starter electronics kits like a barebones Arduino and tools for your favorite tinkerer. Or if you're the only one who solders in your circle, pick up a few kits now and give away the finished product.

I've built a number of kits from Make and they're a great way to learn and hone your DIY electronics skills, with super-clear instructions. After the jump, I add my five additions to their list, with an eye toward encouraging the young hijinks-prone Makers-in-training on your list.

TV-B-Gone kit

Maker Shed
  1. Super TV-B-Gone kit
    $21.99
    Okay, it's $2 over an Andrew Jackson, but if there's any way to get kids interested in electronics, it's with guaranteed mischief, like secretly turning off any TV in the area just before The Biggest Loser is revealed. But maybe give it to him _after the big Xmas-day NFL game.

2. Fire Piston kit
$20
I was just talking with our resident mad scientist Theo Gray about doing a column on fire pistons, a very cool way to start a fire with basically nothing but pressure.

Make Knife

Maker Shed
  1. MAKE: Warranty Voider - Leatherman "Squirt" E4 (electronics version)
    $39.95
    I just traded a Swiss Army Knife for one of these for my keychain (I got the non-branded pliers version, but a laser-etched Make logo is easily worth the extra dough) and already I want to void a warranty with it. And yes, I'm advocating giving a pocket knife to a kid—just teach him or her not to stab living things with it and they'll be fine. Pocket knives, like fire, are a crucial tool for encouraging tinkering.

4. Barrage Garage Vo1. 1 DVD"
$19.99
You can't go wrong with anything from DIY crazy man Bill Gurstelle, whose other projects feature titles like Backyard Balistics and Absinthe & Flamethrowers.

ReMake America T-shirt

Maker Shed
  1. ReMake America T-shirt
    $8
    Remind everyone that tinkering, building, making and unmaking are part of the American spirit. Barack Obama himself says so.