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Top 12 Gifts for the Engineer in Your Life

Top 12 Gifts for the Engineer in Your Life

From books to toys to handy tools, these gifts will brighten the spirits of your favorite engineer.
Sure, everyone loves socks. But when it’s time to show the engineers in your life that you really understand them, it might be best to deliver a present that they’ll really appreciate. The staff of Mechanical Engineering magazine has rounded up a list of 12 gifts that run the gamut from practical to whimsical. And for the traditionalists, we even found the perfect pair of socks.

Add ASME merchandise to your gift list. Find out more here.
 

Robot desk lamp

Inspired by Wasteland Punk, this kit includes 331 pieces that takes about six hours to assemble, according to Mecrob, the manufacturer. No cutting or glue is needed. The kit includes anti-loose screws for ease of assembly. Desk lamp includes a 5-way dimmable touch control with USB charging ports. The design is inspired by astronaut suits, and the position of the head and hands can be adjusted up and down. The lamp does not involve mold opening or pre-cut sheets.

$89.99 via Mecrob.com
 

Multitool


Engineers are inveterate problem solvers, and there’s no better way to be prepared for any small repair than carrying a multitool in your pocket. The Leatherman Surge fits 21 tools—from needle-nose pliers and three types of screwdrivers to three different wire cutters and a diamond-coated file. Like all Leatherman tools, the Surge is manufactured in its Portland, Ore., factory and comes with a 25-year warranty.

$149.95 via Leatherman.com
 

Smart curtain opener


Who doesn’t love having a robot take over everyday chores? The SwitchBot Automatic Curtain Opener is a remote-controlled device that pulls curtains open or closed upon command. To use, just attach it to a curtain rod, pair it with a phone or the included remote, and it’s ready to go. Especially useful in rooms where the curtains are out of reach or heavy (up to 15 kg). This small, relatively silent (less than 25 dB) device can also be used with Alexa or pre-programmed.

$99.99 via Switch-Bot.com
 

Charging cable key ring


Keeping devices charged can sometimes be a challenge when on the move, so this simple keychain from Nomad Goods offers a great way to always have a cable at the ready. With a braided nylon cable and electroplated zinc cable housings, the plugs—available in dual USB-C or USB-C to lightning—connect magnetically to create a cool and functional addition to any engineer’s key ring.

$35 from Nomad Goods
 

Thermal imaging camera


Imagine giving someone a superpower? This handheld thermal camera captures thermal energy or heat emitted by objects and converts it into a visual representation. It’s an ideal inspection tool for finding leaks and hotspots—the temperature range spans from -4 °F to 1022 °F—and can even be used for seeing in the dark, via infrared light. In addition to household use, the thermal camera can enable users to find hidden or camouflaged animals via their heat signature. HIKMICRO doesn’t sell directly from its website, but its thermal cameras are available via Amazon.

$299.00 for the HIKMICRO E1L Thermal Imaging Camera via Amazon.com
 

Robotics T-shirt

Who doesn’t love bacon? For those who love bacon and engineering, this 100 percent cotton T-shirt says it all. “Robotics is the Bacon of Engineering” shirts come in a variety of colors with a double-needle sleeve and bottom hem. A good stocking stuffer for any mechanical engineer, robotics lover, software engineer, or anyone who loves robots. If one isn’t enough, the Funny Robotics Shirts brand offers dozens of shirts and tote bags in a variety of colors.

$19.99 on Amazon Prime
 

Dial caliper

There’s something powerful in being able to measure an object to within 0.001 inches, and the Mitutoyo 505-742J Dial Caliper supplies that power. The calipers are designed to measure outside dimensions, insider dimensions, and depth, and unlike digital calipers, the dial design requires no batteries. The sliding surface is coated with titanium nitride to help it stand up to years of wear. Mitutoyo doesn’t sell the calipers via its website, but they are offered on Amazon.

$133 via Amazon.com
 

Finger flashlight gloves

Sometimes, working in tight spaces means choosing between holding a tool or holding a flashlight. Finger flashlight gloves provide hands-free illumination via a waterproof, battery-powered LED flashlight embedded in fingerless gloves. Amazon offers a number of brands of this now-popular stocking-stuffer; ThxToms is one of the most highly rated brand, but you can’t go wrong with any of these practical gloves.

$14.95 via Amazon.com
 

Answers to funny questions

Randall Munroe switched careers from working with robots at NASA to drawing a cult-favorite web cartoon that mined humor at the intersection of science, technology, and culture. As part of a long series of articles answering questions from readers, What If? 2 provides wry assessments of whether it would be possible to cool the Earth by opening every freezer door at the same time (no) or make a lava lamp out of lava.

$30 via xkcd.com
 

Wooden puzzle

Brain teasers are a staple gift for engineers. BSiri Games offers a puzzle that combines a bottle of wine with a wooden lock that requires a bit of creative thinking to solve before enjoying that beverage. Not a wine drinker? The puzzle fits a variety of other bottles and also comes in a version that can hold a beer bottle. And there’s even release instructions if the puzzle proves too difficult.

$35.99 via BSiri Games
 

Multi-use pen

It’s easy to keep a pen handy, and when that pen does more than just write, it’s even handier. The Construction Pen sold by Troika appears to be simple, but it also has an architectural ruler in metric and imperial units, along with a level, a mini screwdriver with both flat-head and Phillips head, and a matching color stylus. Plus, it has a surgical grip to help ensure smooth twisting. It can even be engraved for a personalized touch.

$34.95 from Troika
 

Engineering slogan socks

PXTIDY offers two pairs of novelty socks for the self-confident engineer. Socks are 77 percent cotton, 20 percent polyamide, and 3 percent elastane to provide a soft, comfortable, breathable fit. Words are stitched directly to the fabric, so it won’t peel off. Perfect for engineers of any level.

$16.89 on Amazon

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