Hi! Maybe you're an electronics student, maybe you're an electronics hobbyist, maybe you just had the misfortune of being reading this blog and finding this post :P Anyway, you might find it useful. I'm going to describe how to make an inexpensive (20€), small and portable tool kit with the essential tools for some electronics experimenting or some practical lectures at the university's labs.
|(Click the photo for better resolution in Picasa Photostream)|
When I was still a 2nd year student at the Electronics Engineering Department of the University of the Algarve and I had lectures at the labs each work group had a pouch containing some small pliers, side cutters, tweezers and screwdrivers from ProsKit which was very handy. It was the 1PK-635 which at the time I couldn't buy at an acceptable price because it was hard to find in the shops and when found, it was too expensive. I always found it very useful because it has the essential tools for an electronics student or hobbyist and it could be carried around or easily placed inside a backpack. Another advantage is that you always have your tools organised and never lose them. As far as I can tell, right now it costs only 28€ + 3€ of shipping which isn't that much. However, the one I've made is two thirds of the price and has more tools! :) Here is the list of the tools and materials, with the corresponding prices:
- Pliers (1€ - bought in some chinese shop);
- Side cutters (1€ - bought in some chinese shop);
- CD wallet (don't know the price of the one I've used but you can buy similar ones for 1,5€);
- Elastic (0,5€ bought in some fabrics shop);
- Precision screwdriver set (actually it's just a pen with 9 precision bits and costs 2€ - bought in some chinese shop);
- Plastic box (1€ - bought in some chinese shop);
- UNI-T UT10A digital multimeter (10,5€ - bought from ebay);
- 400 contacts breadboard (2,5€- bought from ebay).
The plastic box has the purpose of storing some electronic components or even very small development boards since the spacers inside can be removed to get larger partitions. If you're a student you may find it useful to have several boxes, maybe one for each lecture, and you just have to change the box when you go to a different lecture. There is also the option of fitting two boxes inside instead of one box and one multimeter.
I still had to buy a yoga mat/exercise carpet which cost 3€ but since I only used a very small part of it and I still have all the rest for other projects that may come, I'm not counting it for the total price. To make a similar tool kit you will need:
- Wire and needles;
- Hot glue gun;
- Craft knife.
Now I'll describe the process, which you can also see in the slideshow below.
- First of all you'll have to remove the cd holders inside the pouch;
- Next you will have to sew the elastic on the middle of each of the cd wallet covers;
- Using paper or some other material make a sketch of how you want to place the tools in a shape that fits inside the pouch and cut it with the craft knife;
- Cut a part of the fitness carpet and using the sketch as a mold cut out the shapes of the tools with the craft knife;
- Glue the result of the previous step inside the pouch using the hot glue gun;
- Place all the tools in their places and that's it!
Don't be fooled by the reduced number of steps. If you want it to look good you'll have to take your time with the sewing and cutting.
Get the flash player here: http://www.adobe.com/flashplayer
After making the tool kit I verified that it's possible to fit in some more tools. I've added a craft knife that can be seen in the pictures to the kit by placing it below the digital multimeter.
I hope you like it and if you make your own feel free to share the link for a photo of it in the comments below. I'd love to see the variations and some new ideas! :)
Update (29/05/12): This project made it to the front page of www.instructables.com (awarded with a 1-year Pro Membership, yay!! :D) and was also accepted for the Education Contest. If you like it and would like to see it in the finalists vote for it here. Thanks! :)
Update (30/05/12): This project was featured in Lifehacker! :) Check it out: Make Your Own CD Wallet Toolkit for On the Go Tinkering
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