If you’re just getting started with the Maker movement and you’re not sure what to create or you’re just learning about electronics and circuits, you might want to consider purchasing a kit that contains a variety of electronics and mechanical parts. You will begin to learn how sensors work, get exposed to the different types of sensors available and see how you can communicate with devices in your project. As soon as you start learning about your first sensor, you will have ideas popping into your head about things you might want to make with the new components in your kit. It’s a great way to start Making! Here are two kit suggestions for a newbie: a sensor kit or a robotic car kit.
You can buy a kit that includes an Arduino and a variety of sensors to start experimenting with them to learn how they work. As you work with the different sensors and put them to use, some ideas will probably start popping into your head about projects you could create using a sensor that would be helpful to you and really cool!
For example, the SunFounder Basic Sensor Kit for Arduino UNO R3 Mega2560 Mega328 Nano (without controller) – Including 87 Page Instructions Book is a great kit to get you started. For about $50, you receive an 87-page instruction book for 35 projects that use a variety of electronics. For example, the projects use a hall sensor, knock sensor, analog and digital temperature sensors, gas sensor, light sensor, humiture sensor, sound sensor, metal touch sensor, flame sensor, obstacle avoidance sensor and others. Projects also implement a shock switch, reed switch, button, tilt switch and mercury swith. They use infrared and laser transmitters and receivers to communicate, feature RGB, common-cathode and 7-color LEDs to build projects such as a thermostatic water tank system.
For about $30, the Elegoo 37-in-1 Sensor Module Kit for Arduino UNO R3, MEGA, NANO comes with 37 sensor modules, a CD with tutorials and a set of 100 resistors to use in your projects.
Robotic Car Kit
If you’re past the sensor stage or you want to go for something a little more mechanical and challenging, you can buy a robotic car kit and construct a moving robot. We recommend something like the Elegoo Arduino Project Smart Robot Car Kit with Four-wheel Drives, UNO R3, Link Tracking Module, Ultrasonic Sensor, Bluetooth module, Remote, ect. Intelligent and Educational Car for Teens and Adults. Unlike some other kits that don’t include all the parts you need for the project, this kit comes with everything you need to construct a robotic car that you can control with a remote and that automatically avoids barriers.
If your budget is even larger, you can spend anywhere from $250 to $2,500 and build a standing biped humanoid robot of your very own. But that might be a little too ambitious — which will translate to very frustrating — for a new Maker.
When you’re done with a sensor project or building your car, you will probably disassemble what you’ve built and start using the parts in brand new projects that come from ideas of your own.