Last night I started work on the documentation that will accompany the Universal Screw-Block Proto-Shield for Arduino created by EETimes blogger Duane Benson and yours truly.
I've actually decided to create three documents: (1) the tools required to assemble and use the proto-shield, (2) the assembly process itself, and (3) the ways in which the proto-shield can be used. In the case of the first document, I began by thinking about what I would consider to be an absolute minimum set of tools that I would recommend to a complete beginner about to undertake a DIY electronics project for the first time.
The following summarizes my thoughts. Simply click on the photograph below to launch the slideshow:
You really cannot be too careful with your eyes. When you are trimming the ends off component leads or have your head close to something you're soldering, it's more than possible for a bit of metal or a splutter of hot flux to hit you in the eye. You can obtain a pair of safety glasses from pretty much any hardware store for just a few dollars.
Don't forget that you have to click on the photo above to start the slideshow. One word of advice that was given to me by my father -- and that I would pass forward to anyone setting out to purchase tools for the first time -- is always to pay whatever it takes to get good quality tools that will last you through a lifetime of careful use. It's false economy to purchase a "cheap-and-cheerful" kit that contains large numbers of tools that fall apart as soon as you start working with them.
Of course, many of us have a deep-seated belief that you can never have enough tools. If you could see the contents of my garage, you would shake your head in disbelief. Do you agree with my minimum set as described above? Is there anything in my list you would not feel to be mission-critical? Alternatively, is there anything I've missed out that you believe should be included?
Once we move beyond the minimum set of tools, what would you add to the above list? Let's divide things into the following categories: tools one can absolutely not do without, tools that are always good to have, tools that would be nice to have, and tools you would buy if one won the lottery.
— Max Maxfield, Editor of All Things Fun & Interesting