One crimper only works when you need one type of cable. If all you need is RJ's, life is easy. But when you start adding in Molex Mini-Fits, Micro-Fits, KK's, Sherlocks, TE Mate-N-Lock, D-Sub, JST, and more AND you need professional quality (which typically means $300-$1000 per crimper), then the cost of crimpers becomes significant.
Of course, minimizing the types of connectors helps, but then again, if your product has a whole bunch of indentical connectors, it's easier to screw up assembly.
I'll give Molex credit for the $300 Micro-Fit crimper: it's actually a good value, beautifully made in Sweden (just consider that Swedish-made diag cutters can run $70). OK, I still don't like crimping Micro-Fits, but at least it's only an occasional part of my job.
I got my breadboard and analog scope from Ebay. Some of the other things from Aliexpress. The workbench Igot from Harbor Freight. The tools that I purchase there tend to be things that I know are going to be low usage as they are more likely to break. I have found, though, their tool benches as well as their tool boxes are pretty good, especialy considering the price.
On a side note, I sent you an email a few weeks back on some measurement equipment questions, I was wondering if you happend to get it?
One day I will get there. I find that the more a tool gets misplaced, the more you end up with duplicates till you have enought of that tool that you will always have one handy. Channel locks tend to be ones that I have multiple copies of. Those tend to be very useful.
Where did you obtain your test equipment and soldering iron? Did you buy new or used? You mentioned Harbor Freight Tools. They have stores in my area and I'll keep them in mind next time I need a tool.
So very true. It is nice to have some order to the mess. Finding good bins that meet my needs has always been difficult. I have resorted to gettig fishing tackle boxes for some of my storage needs, but this is mostly for tools and such, not as much for components.
Like you said, having a good set of dev boards is a must. Now a days you can find them pretty cheap. I have boards from all the major ARM Cortex vendors and they all were pretty cheap. I have yet to make it through playing with all the different vendors, but I have played with a few of them. It is nice to be able to get something setup for under $15 and have things like gyros, accelerometers, and the ever necessary LED's.