Becoming a Maker: the Complete Guide to a Fully Functional Minishop: Tools

Introduction: Becoming a Maker: the Complete Guide to a Fully Functional Minishop: Tools

About: The paracorder. Im a 17 year old, and since I was 8, I have been building robots, tesla coils, and many other projects!

What is a maker? A maker is a DIY'er, recycle and reuse'er, and a crafter. They take whats not, and make it what Is. Makers not only have skill, but as well as the determination for his or her project. What does it take to become a maker? Well the first step to becoming a maker will be shown step by step in this instructable. This instructable will get you ready to start your project building!

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Step 1: The Workshop and Storage

The Workshop: This is where your projects will be built. Yes, on your very own work desk! I built mine out of scrap wood Ikea was giving throwing away, throwing on 2 2x4's I made the corner leg *shown in the picture*, the desk is secured to the wall by 2 2x4's drilled onto the wall studs, then resting the edge on top of the 2x4's. Because the desk is in a corner, I did not need more than 1 leg, This technique is the strongest type of desk, so if you are working on heavy things, I recommend a corner desk. Pegboard is an amazing way for quick and easy access to your tools. However I have so many tools, I have some in my toolbox, these tend to be more sharp and dangerous tools. Storage is a necessity and absolute MUST. You wont be able to have any test equipment or tool storage without a shelving unit. it just so happened I had a plastic shelving unit which I used under my desk.

Step 2: Tools: Electrical

Electrical is needed on MANY projects, and is a must to have proper equipment to work on it. The soldering iron will join two metal contact points or wire leads. The solder sucker is a reverse soldering method for removing existing solder. When the solder is melted, the pump will suck up and existing solder and remove it from the contact. The multimeter is how you test voltages, amperage, and continuity, so in other words great for testing. Wire strippers come in automatic or manual devices. It is NOT recommended to strip wire by the teeth. In fact, don't do it at all. Do yourself a long term favor, and spend $5 on a manual stripper, instead of a $500 dentist bill. Heatshrink is used to cover solder joints to prevent from shorting out with others, electrical tape does work, however heatshrink is much cleaner. Wire is a bit obvious on why its needed.. Solder is needed to work with the iron, solder sometimes comes with the iron, but if you aren't a fan of cheap solder, I recommend getting a leaded, tin, resin core solder, works great for any application, however do not breath in the smoke, or ingest the solder. An oscilloscope is not needed but is great for testing wavelengths such as a radio crystal or what not. A power supply is another recommended but not needed device. Most PS units can supply between 1v-30v and up to 2A. PS units are very good for testing circuits that do not use batteries, or you can also stress load the voltage limit of a device. however in a long run, you are expecting to blow up what ever is being stress loaded. The IC suction pen is whats used to hold small IC chips in place because your fingers are too big.

Tools needed

-Soldering iron $10-$300

-Solder sucker $ 5

-Multimeter ~$30

- Automatic Wire stripper $15



-Solder $5-$30


-Oscilloscope and probe $60-$500

-Power Supply $50-$200

-IC suction pen $10-$20

Step 3: Tools: Tape

Tape. Tape. Tape. Makers love tape. A beautiful alternative for tying things together. With the use of tape we can secure a man to a tree. I mean... Tape a mannequin to a test car.. Anyways, tape Is a great way for making sure point A is secured to point B, as it dries, or for test purposes, A and B stay secured. Even though Heat shrink is recommended, Tape always is a cheaper, more colorful alternative. Electrical tape should only be used on prototypes, and heat shrink, sparingly on the final device. Duct tape is amazing, like superglue, but tape... Some duct tape comes like a flexible material, however there is tape like an aluminum strip that is conductive. I used it on my Vann de Graff toroid.

Step 4: Tools: Mechanical Hand Tools

We wouldn't be anywhere without hand tools. They range in size depending on the application, and provide an amazing ability that our hands themselves could not. Screwdrivers and needed anywhere, and if youre like me, you will need all sizes. Philips and Flat head screwdrivers are more common than others, but its not limited to. I recommend having 1 or 2 universal ones, which have detachable heads that can switch. I also recommend 2 long screwdrivers, 2 shorter ones, a small Philips and flathead, and a micro flathead and Philips. Wrenches, allens, rivet guns, and sockets are all awesome securing tools. they will drive down a screw, lock 2 items in place, and what not. Pliers are another necessity. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the recommended group of pliers include: Needle nose, Mini needle nose, hammer type, and a pair of snippers. This lot will get you through your project.

Step 5: Tools: Powered and Adjustment Tools

Heat: Torches and heatguns are most common to many people. Lighters are not recommended, for they are too small and will burn fingers. A heatgun can get up to 1100 degrees Fahrenheit, and im sure the torch is worse. These need supervision if you are under 13.. They can get pretty nasty. Drills are just an alternative to screwdrivers, or drilling holes. Dremels are for reducing size, cleaning up, or cutting. They are amazing tools to own. Glue guns are optional, however they serve good purposes insulating a wire or such.

Step 6: Tools: Measuring

Measuring tools are amazing, and can do many purposes. if you want accuracy, don't slack, use a measuring device. some tools used are squares, yardsticks, measuring tape, rulers, calipers, and much more. Don't do the job without measuring! Take notes, and record the information.

Step 7: Tools: Spray Paint

Before anything is said, I am a NUT when it comes to black spray paint. Makers LOVE it. and so will you. whats better than spreading a clean and even coat on something? When spraying, stay about a foot back, and do one coat, wait, do a second. if it looks polkadotted, don't worry, its the first coat. it will build up as you go. Do not spray continuously, spray in a back and forth motion, and only holding the spray nozzle down periodically. you can find tutorials online.

Step 8: Tools: Camera Mount

when taking pictures, say for instructables, you can use a mount to take pictures within a certain area, I use yellow tape on my desk to show what will be in the picture and what will not. it works great! When focused correctly, no yellow will show, but will still show the perimeter of my picture.

Step 9: Safety!!

Safety is SUPER important, if you don't have safety, forget making a project.. Gloves, eye, mouth, and ear protection are super important. Whether its spray painting, or table saws, don't risk it.. use safety!

Step 10: Congratualtions!

You are now a properly trained maker! Get out there and build your first project! Have fun and be safe! Stay tuned for the next guide! Thank you for reading, and good luck.

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    5 Discussions


    3 years ago

    It's always fun to look at other peoples way of doing things, thanks!

    I did notice something. It looks like space is a premium for you as it is for me (as well as lots of us,) so I am in sort of a space saving train of thought and noticed that the shelves you are using under your workbench are not utilizing the space as best as possible. For instance, what is the top shelf storing? Get my point? All the top shelf is doing is taking up the space between the middle shelf and the workbench. If it were I, I'd find another spot for the shelves, where I could use the top shelf too and put some other shelving under the bench or I'd remove the top shelf and supports to make more room on the middle shelf, under the bench.

    Thanks again for sharing!


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi! Thank you for your comment! You can pick one up at a local hardware store (Gahnal lumber for me) and they cost something like 4 bucks!

    Danger is my middle name
    Danger is my middle name

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome, I have a project coming up that I'll have to spray paint some stuff and it really is hard on my hand to hold the paint cans. Are the handles reusable?


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Totally! Just make sure the nozzle faces forwards before you spray ;p