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Makerspace Supplies

Last updated: 2021 September 15

I’m slowly building up my own home makerspace. For me, it’s the engineering equivalent of the mad scientist’s lair. But right now it’s just half of my living room.

This is an inventory of what I have, why I chose it, and what I use it for. Like most things on this website, not everything is a recommendation. However, when I was looking to flesh out my equipment, I couldn’t find many lists like this: home makers documenting their personal setups, equipment, and supplies. So I’m trying to create what I wish found a few years ago.

Large Equipment

  • Prusa i3 MK3S: A 3D printer is my biggest staple for making mechanical stuff. The Prusa just works, compared to many cheaper printers that require tweaking to get good prints, but something like an Ender 3 can get you started at a much lower price point.
  • Prusa MMU2S: The multi-material upgrade to the 3D printer is a fun toy, but it’s incredibly finicky, and you can do simple multi-color prints with manual color changes.
  • Silhouette Cameo 4: Vinyl cutters are practical for labeling and cutting light weight materials like paper and cardboard, but they’re also fun for laptop decals and heat transfer vinyl t-shirt designs. Cameo is a consumer-grade product (compared to the fancy Roland ones), which is fine for home use, and it’s more open than the competing Cricut models. I use the Cameo through Inkscape with a fablabnbg extension.
  • Janome HD3000 sewing machine: I think sewing is under-rated in maker communities (coming with stereotypes about grandmotherly crafting), but fabric is another powerful tool in your making arsenal. I chose this model because it’s heavy duty enough to handle thick materials like canvas and woven nylon. It’s also purely mechanical, so there are no computerized components to get outdated or break. (I wouldn’t pay MSRP for it, though.)
  • Brother Laser Printer (HL-L2350DW): Laser printing gets you out of the scam of ink cartridges (and it’s waterproof), and most people don’t need color printing, plus color laser printing is way more expensive. (If I need to print in color, I do it at work.) I got this particular model because it works well with Linux, has wireless printing, and was available during the pandemic.

Small Equipment

  • Weller WES51 soldering iron: If you want to do electronics beyond breadboards, you’ll want a soldering iron. I got this soldering iron because I had good experiences with it in my lab, but it’s no longer made. Common alternative suggestions now include the Hakko 888D and TS100.
  • Hakko fume extractor: There’s some debate over how effective these are at dealing with soldering fumes, but for me it’s “better safe than sorry.” At the very least, it pulls the smoke away from my face like an expensive fan.
  • Variable DC power supply: Voltage- and current-limited so you won’t blow up your electronics while testing them.
  • Multimeter: I have a Fluke 115 multimeter. It’s overkill. A $20 Amazon multimeter is probably sufficient for hobby projects.

Large Tools

  • Ryobi corded drill: Home Depot’s house brand power tools aren’t bad these days. This one was Clark’s though; I had no involvement in its purchase. But having a drill around the house is incredibly useful in general.
  • Black & Decker jig saw: A jig saw was the first power tool I was allowed to use unsupervised as a kid, so I have fond memories. It’s particularly useful for cutting non-straight cuts in large pieces of plywood/MDF. The brand has a worse reputation after being sold to a Chinese company. But it’s still probably plenty powerful for the average non-professional consumer.
  • Black & Decker disc sander: I used this to strip and sand a whole kitchen table for under $30. Great for cleaning up large flat surfaces, from plywood to kitchen tables to cutting boards. I also got a mega-pack of sanding discs to use with the sander.
  • Dremel 3000 tool: Dremels are sort of a catch-all tool for small-scale filing and grinding. I recently used mine to install bike fenders. This particular model seemed like a good balance between price and power when I bought it.
  • Dremel flex shaft attachment: It’s primarily meant for engraving. I have grand ambitions to someday use this to make a DIY mini-CNC. Who knows if or when that will happen.

Small Tools

  • iFixit tweezers: Useful for so many things: tiny screws, electronics components, weeding vinyl cuts. You can get bigger sets for the same price on Amazon, but I’ll got for quality over quantity here. These are sturdy, the tips line up well, and they’re not so flimsy that they’ll squish flat with a light pinch.
  • Small files: These are most useful for cleaning up 3D prints. brand doesn’t really matter. Files from Harbor Freight will do the job. This happens to be the set I got.
  • Wire strippers: If you’re using any wire, you’ll need wire cutters. Again, you don’t need a particular brand, but make sure you get the right size for the guage of wires that you use.
  • Flush cutters: Also known as wire cutters or diagonal cutters. They have many uses, like cutting wires and printer filament, or removing print support material. They come from many brands; many are good, some are crappy. I’ve had good luck with these (and they’re easy to get on Amazon), but it’s not the only good option out there.
  • Ratcheting screwdriver: Many screwdrivers in one, with the convenience of ratcheting and ergonomics for a pretty cheap price. You’ll need screwdrivers at some point. This is my favorite for big-sized screws.
  • iFixit Mako screwdriver set: This contains nearly every little screwdwiver bit you’ll ever need. The driver also feels great, with a top end that spins great. It even includes hex bits.
  • Small pliers: Great for removing support material from 3D prints, but the smallest size are weirdly hard to find. I have these from Home Depot (only sold as a set with flush cutters). There are a variety of small Hakko pliers that might also do the job, depending on what you use them for.
  • Larger needlenose pliers: Sometimes you need prying force.
  • 1/4” drive socket set (metric and imperial): Great for changing printer nozzles and installing bike parts, among other uses.
  • Ball end hex wrenches: Sometimes you need more torque than the iFixit kit gets you, a bigger range of sizes, or a weird angle that you can only get with a ball end hex wrench. There are crazy expensive sets out there, but these have worked well for me.
  • #2 Exacto knives: You don’t need Exacto brand (I have Excel brand as well), but these kind of hobby knives are super useful for precision cutting, like vinyl, paper, or 3D print material.
  • Utility knives (box cutters): For large non-precise cutting or… opening boxes.
  • Scissors: Don’t keep running back to your desk or kitchen junk drawer for scissors. Just spend a few bucks to keep a pair in your makerspace.
  • Tape measure: Preferably including metric, in case you need to measure something in metric that’s longer than a ruler.
  • Rulers: Bonus points if measurements actually start at the end of the ruler
  • Digital calipers: Mitutoyo are the engineering gold standard, but they’re expensive. I no longer recommend the intermediate iGaging OriginCal calipers, because mine stopped working after 1.5 years, and their supposed 2 year warranty will get no response. If you’re primarily doing things like 3D printing, a set of $20 calipers from Amazon are plenty precise.
  • Level: In case you ever want to hang something up
  • Crescent wrench: So you don’t have to invest in a whole separate wrench set when you can’t use the socket set.
  • Manual staple gun: This is for needs in between where you need nails/screws, and you household stapler won’t cut it. My biggest use has been stapling fabric onto a wood frame for sound damping panels.
  • Heat gun: Use for heat shrink, reshaping glasses arms, and shaping 3D prints. Brand probably doesn’t matter here; it’s not precise work.
  • Hot glue gun: Hot glue isn’t for everything, but it’s amazing how much it can be used to hold together.

Mechanical Materials

  • 3D printer filament: I have an entire page for my opinions on filament brands. I primarily use PLA and PETG filament, since they’re easy to work with and don’t produce toxic fumes like ABS.
  • Vinyl: For the vinyl cutter
  • M2-M5 screw sets: I use M3 the most, especially for 3D printed stuff. To start, I got a set from Amazon that included a variety of sizes for M2-M4, then expanded my supply as I needed it.
  • M3 lock nuts: These are the most useful addition to the above set of standard screws.
  • M3 threaded inserts: For use in 3D prints, where you have a blind screw insert.
  • Zip ties
  • Sandpaper
  • VHB tape: Semi-permanently adhere things to each other with this bit of magic. It will take the paint off your walls. I’ve used it to hang up a whiteboard, or just stick LED strips to a computer monitor.
  • Blue painter’s tape: On the other end of the tape spectrum, this is great for things you only want to hold together very temporarily.
  • Duct tape or Gorilla tape
  • double sided scotch tape
  • Super glue
  • Wood glue
  • Rare earth (neodynium) magnets: Great for embedding in 3D prints
  • String

Electrical & Electronics Materials

  • 63/37 leaded solder (0.02 inch diameter)
  • Rosin paste flux
  • Solder wick
  • Solder sucker
  • Brass for soldering iron
  • Hookup wire (solid core and stranded)
  • Jumper wires
  • Breadboards
  • Various Arduino knock-offs (especially Nano and Pro Micro)
  • Addressable RGB LED strips
  • Electrical tape
  • Heat shrink: Usually the better alternative to electrical tape. Get a pack with a variety of sizes.
  • Through-hole resistor set
  • Small servo motors
  • NEMA 17 stepper motors
  • AA and AAA batteries
  • Switches and buttons
  • Potentiometer variety pack
  • Get other parts as needed for projects, such as sensors and actuators. And collect/scavenge them from things you take apart.


  • Label maker: Incredibly useful for nicely labeling project bins, parts, and tools. I have a Dymo label maker, which is somewhat barebones, but I’ve never wanted to use the fancier labels anyways. It leaves relatively short unnecessary margins, and the refills are cheaper than alternatives. A step up is the Brother P-touch, with fancier label options, but it wastes more material and has more expensive label refills.
  • Akro Mills drawers: Small parts storage. It can set on a shelf or be wall-mounted. I have one for electronics components and one for mechanical parts. They also come in varieties will all small drawers and all big drawers, depending on your needs.
  • 6 qt Sterilite bins: They’re not the sexiest, but they’re sturdy and cheap. Good for storing projects and larger parts. They also come in a larger 16 qt version.
  • Ikea Skadis pegboard, with 3D printed attachments: I have a weird love of pegboards. The ikea ones also look particularly nice, although they’re a bit more expensive. But they’re also easy to design attachments for, like all of these.
  • Husky 3-drawer tool box: This is where all the tools live. It’s very sturdy and easy to organize in. I added some grippy shelf liner to keep things from sliding around or scratching the drawers.
  • Harbor freight small parts bins: It’s hard to beat $3 for parts storage. All my screws are organized in these, and then stacked in drawers. I’ll likely end up with more of these in the future.

  • Eventually I might get Helmer drawers: They’re pretty cheap and have many shallow drawers for organizing small things.


  • LED lamp with magnifying glass: This is good task lighting, and the magnifying glass is useful for soldering/electronics work.
  • Cutting mats: Protect your work surface. I have big ones that cover most of the table and live there pretty permanently.
  • Helping hand (for soldering): Because humans unfortunately only have two hands. This classic variety sucks. I cheaped out and got one with a magnet instead of a heavy base. Just spend the extra few bucks to get one with flexible arms like this.
  • Safety glasses: Please protect your only set of eyes.
  • Surge protectors: Please protect your electronic equipment.