Looking for small / cheap gifts to bring a smile to a nerd & maker's face.

Any recommendations? Ideally worth up to $10 so I can get a fair amount and make my own nerdy Advent calendar 😆

@fribbledom that's a cool idea. I'm sure you can find enough $1-$2 sensors to fill most of an advent calendar

(wrapped in a zip loc bag with a QR code printed on it that leads to a datasheet/code sample)

@fribbledom ESP8266 and similar? Small displays and other peripherals for MCU tinkering? Estradiol patches? =:)


Yeah, that's what I'm thinking. ESP and a bunch of sensors & tools.

@jocelynk @fribbledom I've been thinking about how to do something like this for my family (and for cheaper) and the hashtag on, say, Instagram is soooooper-dangerous.

I didn't know that hastag existed, so I'm about to travel down that rabbit hole now.

@fribbledom If they print, interesting filament samples can be a real delight!

You can also get Atmega microprocessor chips for a couple bucks, and for other days could include some of the stuff that’s useful for flashing them and using them (like a ZIF socket & appropriate crystals.)

And there’s the Pi Zero for 5$, but you’ll be on the hook for a decent shipping charge at any of the places that sell ‘em for MSRP.

@fribbledom Have you thought about Arduino style boards like the Teensy LC or the Adafruit Gemma M0?

@fribbledom A flux pen and solder wick can be had for under $10. Handy stuff.

@fribbledom Hmm! A Teensy LC is $12, probably lots of good boards in that range tho. Packages of things like buttons, LEDs, etc. One of those conductive ink pens is about the right price too.

@fribbledom Get your Barbie Advent calendar at Aldi. Saw one there today. LOL.

@fribbledom stm32 blue pill devboard? iirc you can get them pretty cheap and they’re fun and useful as heck

Old Radiovalves, pieces of brass etc...

@fribbledom if you manage to put something together, I'm really interested. do you sell those? or have a list of the parts?


No, I don't plan to sell them, but instead gift them to friends.

Happy to collect a list of parts though!

@fribbledom @digital A MSP430 Launchpad comes for 5 EUR and you can preflash forth on it ;)

Alternatively, get some arcade buttons, those are always handy :)
@fribbledom A RTL2832U chip and an antenna so they can have radio fun? 😃

@fribbledom There are advent calendars for sale as a unit for many fandoms -- Marvel, Lego, Harry Potter, etc. Funko does advent calendars of their mini-pops. You could get a kit from one of the maker companies like Adafruit and then piece it out -- some wires one day, a sensor another day, etc. Bead stores do "grab bags" of beads and stuff if they work in that medium.

@fribbledom aliexpress is full of "ideas" like that

@fribbledom Depending on what kind of maker, Adafruit ( might have some of what you're looking for. There are plenty of sensors and such under $10.

@fribbledom I have a keychain multi tool that I use constantly: Nite Ize KMT-11-R3 Sized Easily attaches to an existing Chain or Strap DoohicKey Key Keychain Multi-Tool (1 Pack), One, Stainless

@fribbledom mine is slightly different and actually has a lightly serrated part, but it’s super useful regardless. Oh! You can see it in the options, mine is called “ClipKey.”

@fribbledom I also have an older version of this that Velcros onto my messenger bag strap. Maybe not quite maker-y, but super useful (I like drinking Coca-Cola with real sugar that comes in glass bottles requiring an opener) Timbuk2 Beer Tiki Bottle Opener Attachment, Jet Black, Small

@fribbledom mine was definitely not $15. Using amz as links because it’s easy 😂

@fribbledom I also have a carabiner for my keys that is the best one I’ve ever had, but I can’t remember who makes it, I’ll look when I go downstairs in an hour. No more dropping my keys down the elevator shaft.

@fribbledom it’s a plastic carabiner made by Black Diamond USA, but I can’t find the exact one online. There are several metal ones that are close. I’ve had this longer than any cheap key-holding carabiner.

@fribbledom If you're giving to people who are not irresponsible and have no children, it's possible to buy laser pointers which are often ridiculously overpowered (mislabeled as being within safe limits) from Chinese ebay sellers for next to nothing.

Downside: if children or idiots get ahold of them you may be responsible for scarring a retina


- thermal sensors / probes
- ESP2866
- RasPi 0 W
- Sugru packets
- Fadecandy LED controller board
- tiny li'l baby zip ties
- stackable, segmented, transparent, latched boxes for storing small parts
- tweezers + tiny screwdrivers because those always go missing
- 30cm pigtail plugs because wall wart power supplies always fill up power bars too fast

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