There are only a few days left before Christmas and you still do not know what to get for that modder in your life. Maybe you are a modder but want to spread the modding gospel to everyone, get your significant other involved in your projects or you want to introduce your children to the joys of case modding. No, this will not be just another “buy a $499 iPad” Amazon link click-bait article disguised as a gift guide that is so common during this time of the year but it is a quick guide for those who are into, know somebody or wants to introduce someone into this hobby. Price ranges for these gift suggestions will range from as low as $10, all the way to $2500…depending on how much you love the person you are going to give this to (obviously).
If you are looking for a gift for someone who has the mindset and interest for modding but have not begun yet, getting them a Lynda.com subscription gift card is a good start. One month access starts at only $25 and users can have access to over 4,500 video courses on a wide range of subjects including design, CAD, CNC, Architecture, prototyping, photography, 3D animation and more. Many technical skills are covered on a wide range of topics that can also be applied toward other productive hobbies.
There should also be a local workshop co-op in your area where members can use the shop and tools for a membership or subscription fee. For example I live in Toronto, Canada and we have something called the Toronto Tool Library where members can have access to the workshop, borrow tools to take home and even have access to high-end 3D-printing, laser cutter and CNC tools. This is also a good way to get them out of the house so you can finally use your garage for something else other than a modding project. It might even be a good activity to share in with your significant other, maybe even re-enact that famous pottery scene from Ghost (not recommended). Price range can go from $50 to hundreds of dollars depending on membership and services offered. Think of it as a day-spa for the modding enthusiast.
If you don’t have money but want to pique their curiosity anyway then just buy them a book on modding such as one of my favorite modder of all time Benjamin Franz’ Casemods book series ($15~$25 from Amazon). The book is in German but there are plenty of photos, eye-candy and information that is valuable to modders. Although not directly modding related, Todd McLelan’s Things Come Apart ($20 from Amazon) is also an interesting coffee table book that demystifies machines by showing them in complete disassembly. Any tinkerer or loved one suffering from ADHD will appreciate this book even if they are not a casemodder.
Perhaps the two hottest modding trends currently involve hardline tubing and PSU sleeving so either a Monsoon Hardline bending kit or a PSU sleeving kit will be welcomed with open arms by any modder. Hardline watercooling is now preferred by many builders for cleaner and much more professional looking rigs and the Monsoon Hardline bending kit makes that all possible (you can read a previous review of this item here at Modders-Inc). The Pro Deluxe 16mm bending kit is available at Performance-PCs.com for $99.99. For sleeving, there are several options available but sleeving expert Lutro0 has a wide range of selection available at their new site at Modbunker.com with tools and various sleeving hardware and color options whether telios or paracord.
A more obvious suggestion is a hand or power tool such as a new set of pliers or a Dremel rotary tool, but every single modder should have one of those by now so it is important to know what you are getting. More affordable rotary tools start at $19 and can go as high as several hundred dollars for high-end models with full attachment kits. For beginners who do not have tools yet, a Dremel 100 is not a bad place to start even though it only runs at one speed but it is the same motor used on the Dremel 300 and 3000 series. There are also cost effective options from Black and Decker and Harbor Freight that are similarly price and offer up to three variable speeds and can use Dremel attachments such as the B&D RTX-B and RTX-6. If they already have a rotary tool on hand, then maybe an attachment set or an upgrade such as a flexible hose extension or a drill press attachment. Also, keep track of what modding tools they possibly do not have yet but is necessary such as an angle grinder or even a metal brake ($30 to $350 depending on size from Princess Auto) for bending large sheets of metal. These can be pretty heavy though so try to order from somewhere nearby so the shipping cost is minimal.
If you are looking for more advanced gift and have cash to spare then the modder in your life would definitely appreciate a new 3D printer to automate some of his or her modding process. Despite what Whitney Houston claimed, children are not the future, robots are, so might as well start practicing co-existing with robo-sapiens now and incorporating automated craft into modding. Currently the best home 3D printer is the Ultimaker 2 which retails for ~$2500 but there are many options now for just under $550 such as the Plastic Scribbler Asterid Model 1000S, Printrbot or a second-gen Solidoodle.
Hopefully these suggestions have helped you decide what to get by now, if not then you probably just have to wait until next year’s list.