With the giving season coming up, I wanted to post some gift ideas that are 25 dollars or less. Hopefully this will serve as a useful post to all the people that want to buy you gifts 😃.
Note: I updated this post (11/18/19), and some are prices now more than $25.
- GB Wire strippers – This is an automatic wire stripper, and I use this tool daily. No guessing size or gauge of wire. Just simply put the wire into the teeth and close the handle. Gardner Bender GS-394 Automatic Electrical Stripper & Crimper Tool [$11.93]
- Ratchet Crimping Tool – Makes crimping connectors very easy. One squeeze of the handle will crimp both tabs to the insulator and conductor simultaneously. The tool will also hold the pin for you as you crimp. HT-225D Full Cycle Ratchet Crimping Tool [$19.95]
- 1/4″ and 5/16″ Magnetic Nut Drivers – These nut drivers are great to have in the shop. I seem to always be reaching for these and the magnetic tip is what makes them so helpful. Both have hallow shafts, which is another added bonus. Nut Driver, Color Code Magnetic Nut Driver Set, 1/4 and 5/16-Inch Magnetic Tips Klein Tools [$25.38]
- CRAFTSMAN 6-Pack Mini Plier Set – These are a nice set of cutters and pliers to help with electronics. The cutters work well when cutting leads off components or snipping wire. CRAFTSMAN 6-Pack Mini Plier Set [$21.98]
- Mini Circuit Breakers – Great investment! The cost of a box of fuses is about the same price you can get one of these. These are great for troubleshooting shorts! I really couldn’t find a place that sells a set, so I went ahead and placed an order for the following sizes: 3A, 5A, 7A, 10A, 15A, 20A. I will sell sets for $20 each, which includes shipping. One set of 3A, 5A, 7A, 10A, 15A, 20A Mini Circuit Breakers [$20.00]
- Logic Probe with Audio – This is an inexpensive tool that really helps troubleshooting circuits. It’s a very simple tool to use, and the audible is a must for troubleshooting. Elenco Electronics LP-560 Logic Probe [$19.99]
- Button Wrench – Slim wrench made by a fellow member on KLOV. Compatible with both 1 1/8″ button nuts & 15/16″ palnuts. Great tool to throw in the toolbox. BitWrench: A Simple Arcade Button Wrench [$10.00]
- T-Molding Router Bit – Here is a tool that many people don’t seem to have. The 1/16th slot cutter, seems to be one that works on most arcade cabinets. This is #301 on the following page. Make sure to include 1/4″ or 1/2″ arbor and bearing. Cutter with Complete Assembly with Arbor and Bearing [$18.00]
- Solder – Can one person really have enough? Kester 24-6337-0027 Solder Roll, Core Size 66, 63/37 Alloy, 0.031″ Diameter [$24.68]
- Chip Lifter – A practical tool that helps remove chips (ICs) from their sockets. This model also comes with ESD handle. It was also mentioned that this a good tool to remove staples on a playfield. Wiha 27920 Precision Chip Lifter, ESD Safe [$11.99]
- Beginner’s Lock Picking Set – I started picking locks a few years ago and couldn’t believe I didn’t try earlier. Most of the time this is quite a bit easier than drilling out a lock. Sparrows Kick Start lock pick set [$19.95]
- Security Bits – This is nice to have when you run into different types of screws. Can be a real pain when you don’t have the correct bit. Boxer BX100 1/4″ Tamper & Security Hex Bit (100 Piece) [$15.19]
- Magnifying Glass – For those people with declining eyesight or anyone working with small parts. A definite must! Jewelers Magnifying Glass Bundle [$19.66]
- Ratcheting Wrench (9/16″ and 5/8″) – Great for removing pinball leg bolts. Easy tool to throw in the toolbox. TEKTON WRN76007 Flex-Head Ratcheting Box End Wrench, 9/16-Inch x 5/8-Inch [$25.00]
- Wire and Nylon Brushes – I use these a lot to clean connectors and other rusted parts. Mini Detailing Wire Brush Set [$6.98]
- Hex, Allen, and Star Keys – Another tool that is useful to have in the shop. Dicfeos Hex Key Allen Wrench Set, SAE Metric Star Long Arm Ball End Hex Key Set Tools [$25.99]
- Heat Gun – This tool has many applications from heat shrink tubing to removing control panel overlays. BLACK+DECKER HG1300 Dual Temperature Heat Gun [$20.87]
- Zip Ties – Perfect for bundling up wires and harnesses. Cambridge ZipIts 650 Pcs Assortment [$15.50]
- Precision Tweezers – A good tool to help maneuvering small parts. Kingdun 9pcs Stainless steel Tweezer Set [$11.99]
- Damaged Screw Remover – Great tool for anything that has been stripped. Damaged Screw Extractor Set – Remover Set by Easy Out [$10.99]
- Small Parts Bin – A useful tool to help organize small parts or components. STOW AWAY 25 Drawer Small Parts Organizer Unit [$18.82]
- Coin-Up-1UP! – Another product from a fellow KLOV member. The CoinUp 1UP device provides virtual freeplay support for almost ANY arcade game! NO CUTTING of the wire harness. Coin-Up-1UP! [$20.00]
- PinGulp Beverage Caddy Premium – I used to laugh at these until I realized how just handy they are to have. PinGulp Beverage Caddy Premium [$14.95]
- Getting Started in Electronics – This was on of the very first books I bought when I started in the hobby. Getting Started in Electronics Paperback [$17.00]
- Monitor Adjusting Tools – Always nice to have the right tool for the right job. Universal Color TV Alignment Tool Set [$11.99]
- Bonus: IC Straigtener – I really like this simple tool to help straighten pins or make the correct shape to place in a socket. This works on both .3″ and .6″ width chips. IC Pin Straightener Tool [$6.95]
- Bonus: NVRAM – Help save your machines from battery corrosion. Will most likely require soldering and desoldering. NVRAM Adapter [$18.00 shipped]
- Bonus: Siegecraft Electronics – I have purchased a few items from Siegecraft Electronics and have found them very helpful diagnostic tools. Hans is active on both KLOV and Pinside. Go ahead and take a look at his products. [Prices vary]
- Bonus: Pinball-Mods.com – A fellow Pinside member (Zitt) has made some cool mods such as clear drop targets and pop bumper caps. Another site to go check out. [Prices vary]
Honorable mention: Anti-fatigue mat, alligator clips, magnetic parts tray, head lamp, shop towels, cleaning supplies, NOVUS (1, 2, and 3), wax, forceps, solder fume extractor, desoldering braid, Soldapult, helping hand, and kynar wire.
Do you agree with the list? What do you think should be included on the list? Feel free to comment below.
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