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Cost-Effective Common

Work Table

HUSKY, HOLT46XDB12CA (24x46 inch) (DISTR: Home Depot) (white model is $238 USD) (STRONG RCMD)

Sturdy simple wooden tabletop with steel legs (painted black or white) and adjustable-height crank (manually operated). Requires assembly with M6 screws (included). Also comes with 4x lockable swivel casters and 4x feet. Bottom support bar can be mounted in the center or front/rear. This is the smallest length model and we prefer it compared to the longer sizes that are harder to transport.

Light-Duty Shelf

Tuff Store, 72in x 36in black plastic shelf (model: 1918555) (DISTR: Home Depot) ($45 CAD) (RCMD)

Fast assembly/disassembly, light-weight, 70kg max load per shelf and 340kg max load total (when evenly distributed), Made in Canada.

Small Plastic Bin

Tuff Store (transparent, 5.76L capacity, Made in Canada) (clear lid model: 94210) (grey lid 4-pack model: 942110) (blue lid 4-pack model: 942109) ($2 CAD each, $7 for 4) (RCMD)

12 of these bins can fit on each level of the light-duty shelf above.

Label Printer

BRADY, M210 (formerly BMP21-PLUS) (ordering ID: 139535) (STRONG RCMD)

Create time-saving labels faster with better clarity, consistency, durability than hand-writing or non-portable printing. Perfect complement to storage bags and boxes. Portable size and runs on AA batteries.

Preferred Labels: 12.7mm wide Vinyl or Nylon (ex. 4-pack vinyl ordering ID: M21-500-595-WT-4PK)

Slider Bags

Transparent Slider Bags: HEFTY, 8x7-2.7mil (STRONG RCMD) (200mm X 175mm / 8" x 7") ($63 USD per 250 bags)

Compact, conforming to contents. Big enough to fit your hand. Fast-identify and fast-open/close. Do not buy any of the smaller sizes. We have used thousands of these bags over the years.

ULINE Product Page

Computer Software


Function Name Description
Document Suite Libreoffice Free, open-source, high-quality, cross-platform alternative to Microsoft Word for producing text documents, spreadsheets, slideshows, basic drawings, and simple databases. Great import/export compatibility for various file formats. (RCMD)
Diagram Creator Free, browser app / desktop app. (RCMD)
Markdown Editor Ghostwriter Free, open-source, nav menu, html preview. (RCMD)
Password Manager KeepassXC Free, open-source, cross-platform, offline, modern GUI, active dev, fork of Keepass. Save a paper copy of your master password. (RCMD)
Screen Capture, Live Streaming Open Broadcaster Software
Compression 7ZIP


Function Name Description
Mechanical CAD Autodesk Inventor
Mechanical CAM Autodesk Inventor CAM


Function Name Description
Vector Graphics Editor Inkscape Create and edit logos, line art, QR codes (extensions > render > barcode > qr), infographics, and other scalable images.
Raster Graphics Editor GIMP Produce, resize, crop, rotate, and retouch your photos and other dot-style image files. (RCMD)
Audio Editor Audacity Record your voice or music, manipulate audio clips for your media library, and import-export different filetypes. Great for handling standard audio tasks like other digital audio workstations (DAWs). (RCMD)
Video Editor Kdenlive Simple, robust video editor with primary support for Linux. Free and open source. Renders to numerous standard formats, including WebM and MP4 (AAC/HEVC). (RCMD)
3D Animation and Modeling Blender Free and open-source with integrated video editor. Supported by the Blender Foundation.
Digital Illustration Clip Studio Paint Popular and effective digital drawing program for illustrations and manga. Formerly named Manga Studio. Use with a drawing tablet (ex. Wacom, Huion).


Function Name Description
Torrenting QBitTorrent, Transmission
Accounting GNUCASH
Gantt Chart GanttProject

Operating System: Debian, Ubuntu, Windows, Windows 10 Official ISO

(tip: install no more than 1 OS per drive, if possible)


Computer Hardware

USB Drive: SAMSUNG, USB-C (2022 release)

Consumer hardware/electronics is best purchased during sales or package promotions.

Hand Tools

Adjustable Wrench

Small: Channellock, 8WCB (200mm length, wide 40mm opening, comfort grips)

Medium: Milwaukee, 48-22-7415 (400mm length, precision anti-backoff)

The anti-backoff matters a lot more for high-torque wrenching.

Tested by Project Farm, 2021 video


Tool/Function Description DISTR
Ferrule Crimper Pheonix Contact, CRIMPFOX DUO 16S (0.14mm2 to 16mm2) (Part Number: 1202877), RCMD Mouser Canada

Screwdriver: PICQUIC, Super 8 Plus (durable, friction-fit bit compartment, magnetic bit holder) (recommended)

Auto-Locking Hex-Bit Holder: Milwaukee, 48-32-4531

Retractable Utility Knife: STANLEY, Classic 99 (retractable blade, all-metal, spare blade compartment) (recommended)

Straight Scissors: MILWAUKEE, Jobsite Series, 48-22-4041 (recommended)

Offset Scissors: MILWAUKEE, Jobsite Series, 48-22-4040 (recommended)

Parallel Clamp: BESSEY, K Body REVOlution, KRE3524 (recommended)

Discrete hex keys fit in tight places. Combination hex keys don't get lost easily.

  • Hex Keys (metric/SAE)
  • Metric Hex Key Set, Folding/Locking: Husky, HFLDHKM8PCC
  • SAE Hex Key Set, Folding/Locking: Husky, HFLDHKS8PCC

Tongue-and-Groove Pliers: CHANNELLOCK

Slip-Joint Pliers: CHANNELLOCK

Cutting Pliers: CHANNELLOCK

Linemen Pliers: CHANNELLOCK

Long Nose Pliers: CHANNELLOCK

Long Reach Pliers: CHANNELLOCK

Crimping Pliers: CHANNELLOCK

Power Tools

Tool/Function Description DISTR
Cordless Drill Makita XGT Compact Drill/Driver (Part ID: HP001GZ)
Reciprocating Saw Makita XGT (Gen1: JR001GZ) (Gen2: JR002GZ)

A cordless reciprocating saw is one of the only compact/practical options to cut metals like aluminum and steel without the mess/hazard of an abrasive saw. Significant resilient value for all kinds of work. Later we plan to acquire a cold saw to reduce setup time and improve accuracy for our cuts.

Cordless Impact Driver: Makita XGT, BLDC (ORDERING ID: TD001GZ) (1/4" Socket)

Cordless Angle Grinder: Makita XGT (ORDERING ID: GA029GZ) (Variable Speed, Paddle Switch, 125mm Wheel Dia, 5/8"-11 UNC Arbor)

Cordless Tool Battery: Makita XGT (ORDERING ID: BL4040)

Cordless Tool Battery Charger: Makita XGT (ORDERING ID: DC40RA)

FLASHLIGHT: FENIX, HT18 (1500 lumens max, 4 bright modes plus strobe, 21700 lithium-ion battery with integrated USB-C charging, IP68 waterproof to 2m, aluminum-frame impactproof to 1m) (RECOMMENDED)


Metal Cutting

Compact small-volume metal-cutting station for under $2000.

  • powered by a standard electrical outlet (1500W-2000W)
  • bandsaw can be used on tabletop without mounting to table

Adjust the height of the bandsaw table for best operator ergonomics.

Adjust the height of the stock table to horizontally align the table's stock-support surface to the bandsaw's workholding-surface (no need for specialized jigs).

Use the stock table as small-storage for frequently-used stock lengths.

Function Product
Mini Bandsaw FEMI, NG120XL ($1250 CAD at Princess Auto)
Table for Bandsaw HUSKY, HOLT46XDB12CA (46-inch, adjustable-height) (RCMD)
Table for Stock-Support HUSKY, HOLT46XDB12CA (46-inch, adjustable-height) (RCMD)

FEMI, NG120XL (1300W, 18kg, manual feed, variable-speed electronic-control):

  • supports rectangular stock up to 120x102 mm
  • supports square stock up to 112x112 mm
  • supports round stock up to 120mm DIA
  • blade dimensions (1440x13x0.65mm)

Mechanical Design

This workflow starts with a 3D modeling program. The free and open-source option is FreeCAD but it's not efficient yet for professional use. We use Autodesk Inventor.

Using this program, we digitally produce parts, assemblies, and drawings.

Windows (OS) -> Autodesk Inventor (CAD) -> 3D Model

... Export STL File -> Cura (CAM) -> Gcode file (on USB Drive) -> 3D Printer -> Additive Plastic Parts (up to 0.1mm precision)

... Autodesk Inventor CAM (CAM) -> Gcode file (on USB Drive) -> CNC Machine -> Subtractive Metal/Plastic Parts (up to 0.001mm precision)

Phone Software

Text Chat and Voice Calls:

Basic Sound Analyzer: Sound Analyzer App (Dominique Rodrigues)

Software Services

Email Hosting:

Real-Time Text Chat: Zulip (recommended)

Project Version Control (Low-to-Medium Filesize): Github (recommended)

Online Meetings: Google Meet (recommended)

Real-Time Voice Chat: Discord

Collaborative Documents: Google Drive

Online PDF Editing Tool: Sejda (recommended)

Utility: RapidTables Conversion, Digikey Calculators,

Intermittent and Special Tools

Disposable Emails: Guerrilla Mail

Free Website Security Test: Qualys SSL-Labs

RAM Testing: MEMTEST86

PCB Assembly

Basic Process: Clean PCB, Dispense Solder Paste, Place Parts, Reflow, Clean, Inspect, Test

Fluid Dispenser: NORDSON EFD, 7364361 (UltimusPlus 1) (10 to 100 psi, 2019 release)

Solder Paste: Chip Quik, Thermally-Stable Lead-Free No-Clean SAC305 (stored at room-temp) (category L0 flux; low-activity no-halogen) (no-clean flux that is cleanable with IPA)



Vacuum Supply: custom pneumatic assembly using Bimba venturi pump (Mcmaster-Carr, 9997K15), solenoid valve (SMC, VX220AGLXB), foot pedal (LineMaster, Treadlite II, T-91-S; Mcmaster-Carr, 7376K2)

Reflow Oven: custom assembly using Controleo3 controller (Whizoo, Controleo3)

SOLDERING STATION: PACE, 8007-0579 (ADS200 Accudrive with Instant Setback Cubby) (120W, thermal tips, 177C to 454C, 1.1C idle stability, ANSI/J-STD-001, 3 temperature presets, extruded-aluminum frame)

Solder Wire: KESTER, 268 Series, Lead-Free (halogen-free, no-clean)

Ultrasonic Cleaner: Crest, P1100D-45 (297x242x200mm, 12.3L, 600W heat, 180W sonic, 45kHz, adjustable time/temp, degas, includes lid and drain port, UL/CSA/CE)

Ultrasonic Cleaner Basket: Crest, B1100M

Hot Air Tool: QUICK, 861DW (as recommended by EEVlog and Louis-Rossman) (dual-unit; supports C/F; hold CH2 and CH3 to toggle) (recommended)


Function MFG Product ID Description DISTR
Digital Calipers MITUTOYO 500-752-20 150mm max, 20um accuracy, dual-unit, IP67, SR44 battery, RCMD ITM Instruments
Vernier Calipers MITUTOYO 530-312 150mm max, 30um accuracy, dual-unit ITM Instruments
Micrometer MITUTOYO 293-340-30 dual-unit, 25mm max, 1.3um accuracy, ratchet stop, IP65, SR44 battery, RCMD ITM Instruments
Telescoping Gauge Set MITUTOYO 155-905 8mm to 150mm ITM Instruments
Small Weight Scale OHAUS NVT22000 22kg max, 4X overload protection, 1g accuracy, corded or 4x C batteries M&L Testing Equipment
Large Weight Scale OHAUS SD200L 200kg max, 100g accuracy, corded or 3x C batteries Grainger Canada

Microscope: AMSCOPE, SM-4NTP (7X-45X, stereo, metal levers, variable zoom and zoom lock) (simul-focal camera port; concurrent use of stereo-view and camera-port) (recommended)

3D Tester: TSCHORN, SlimplusV2, 001V2D012 (10 micron scale, 140mm after shank)


Dial Test Indicator, Standard: MITUTOYO, 513-405-10T (metric, 0.2mm range, 2um graduation, 0-100-0 reading, 4um accuracy)

Dial Test Indicator, High Accuracy: MITUTOYO, 513-401-10E (metric, 0.14mm range, 1um graduation, 0-70-0 reading, 4um accuracy)

Dial Test Indicator, Wide: MITUTOYO, 513-425-10E (metric, 0.6mm range, 2um graduation, 0-100-0 reading, 7um accuracy)

Rigid Indicator Holder: NOGA, PH3100 (bottom fine adjust)

Articulated Indicator Holder, Small: NOGA, NF6160 (dual fine adjust)

Articulated Indicator Holder, Medium: NOGA, DG6160 (dual fine adjust)

Articulated Indicator Holder, Large: NOGA, MG6161 (dual fine adjust)

Hard Organizers

MILWAUKEE, Packout Series - Product Info (recommended)

The most time-efficient small-parts organizer that we know. Semi-transparent top, durable frame, removable subcontainers, quiet and ergonomic latches.

Low Profile Organizer (ORDERING ID: MILWAUKEE, 48-22-8431)

Standard Organizer (ORDERING ID: MILWAUKEE, 48-22-8430)

Deep Organizer (ORDERING ID: MILWAUKEE, 48-22-8432)

Mounting Plate (ORDERING ID: MILWAUKEE, 48-22-8485)

Tip: these containers can be stacked, then opened individually without unstacking them (great access speed).


SAFETY GLASSES: MILWAUKEE, 48-73-2040 (fully-framed clear lens with impact-resist and anti-fog, gasket)

FUME EXTRACTOR: PUREX, FUMECUBE (with stainless steel arm kit, pre-filter, combo HEPA/chemical filter)

ORDERING ID: 072155-1


FUME EXTRACTOR: PACE, ARM-EVAC 150 with SteadyFlex Arm and Nozzle Assembly

ORDERING ID: 8889-0150-P1




MONITOR MOUNT: ERGOTRON, 45-509-216 (dual, tall-pole, white) (RECOMMENDED)

WORK PLATE: ALPHIDIA, Quadhands Jumbo Workbench (powder-coated steel, magnetic-base flex-holders)


Arbor Press: Dake, Model 1-1/2 (3 tons, 48:1 leverage, 1.25in/31.75mm square-ram, 178mm throat, 273mm over table, 66kg) (recommended)

Arbor Press Buying Guide

3D Printing

Standard 3D Printer: Prusa Original XL

Old 3D Printers: Lulzbot Mini 2, Lulzbot Taz Pro

Nozzles: E3D, Nozzle X

Upcoming Nozzles: E3D, ObXidian

Filament: PLA based on Natureworks 3D870

Small Parts Storage

SIZE: 16in X 12in (intended to fit several smaller bags for categorized organization. fits inside a typical large plastic/kraft storage box)


Mechanical Bits

Drill Bit Sets:

  • 1mm to 13mm (cobalt steel, 0.5mm increments)
  • 6mm to 10mm (cobalt steel, 0.1mm increments)
  • 1mm to 6mm (black-oxide high-speed steel, 0.1mm increments)

Driving Bit Sets:

  • industrial: VEGA, VHS100A (S2 Steel, 100-piece)

Ball-End Metric Hexbit Set (for power tools)

Quick-Release Hexbit-Holder (for power tools)

Tap Bit Sets (taper, plug, bottoming):

  • M1.6x0.35
  • M2x0.4
  • M2.5x0.45
  • M3x0.5
  • M4x0.7
  • M5x0.8
  • M6x1
  • M8x1.25
  • M10x1.5
  • M12x1.75

Compressed Air System



  • under 15kg, 4.5L tank, 90s fill, 135psi max, 58dB rating
  • tank gauge, output regulator, output gauge, manual bleed-valve
  • power switch, roll-cage design, power cord-wrap

Notes: We needed a quiet, compact, simple compressor for in-house PCBA solder-paste dispensing. This has been good so far (under 100hrs).

AIR HOSE: Quick-Connect EPDM-Rubber Hose (3m, 1/4in I/M male to 1/4in I/M female, 1/2in OD, 300psi) (MCMASTERCARR, 5138K18)


  • aluminum body, gauge port (1/8in NPT)
  • 5 micron filter, for air/water
  • 145psi max, 7.25psi to 125psi regulator (3% accuracy, push-down knob-lock)
  • made in Japan, RoHS3

Notes: This needs port accessories. See below. Mount all with sealant.

  • Input Adapter, 1/4in I/M Quick-C Male to 1/4in NPT Male (tape/compound)
  • Output Adapter, MCMASTERCARR, 7610N162: 1/4in NPT Male (O-ring typically included) to Push-to-Connect Female (for 6mm OD tubing, ISO 14743)
  • Drain Adapter, 1/4in NPT Male (tape/compound) to Any Stopper

OUTPUT AIR TUBE: Clear Polyurethane Rubber Tubing (6mm OD, 4mm ID, 95A Durometer, 160psi max, Made in US, RoHS3, REACH) (MCMASTERCARR, 50315K69)

Medium Storage

Mailer Boxes

Boxes offer good stackability and hard shell protection as a low-cost rigid part container. Mailer boxes add quick, tool-free reclosable convenience.

Hard Cases

NANUK - Product Info


Power Bar: TRIPP LITE, Isobar 6 Ultra (surge protecting)

Modem: TECHNICOLOR, TC4400 (4Gbps, DOCSIS 3.1)

Router: NETGATE, SG-3100 (1Gbps ports, 2.5Gbps throughput)

Wireless Access Point: UBIQUITI, Unifi AC Pro, UAP-AC-PRO (2.4GHz 3x3 450Mbps, 5GHz 3x3 1.3 Gbps, PoE)

Unifi Network Application Scripts for Linux

10GbE Switch: Ubiquiti, Switch Flex XG (ID: USW-Flex-XG)

Short CAT8 Ethernet Cable: STEWART CONNECTOR, CA81-020M-01 (Cat 8.1, LSZH, RJ45 metal-frame, 2m)

Long CAT6a Ethernet Cable: Omron, XS6W-6LSZH (LSZH, RJ45, various lengths)


Printer: HP, OFFICEJET PRO 9015

SSD Enclosure: STARTECH, M2E1BRU31C (IP67, MIL-STD-810G drop-test, USB 3.1 Gen2 10Gbps)

M.2 enclosures can be assembled into external data-drives for greater capacity, reliability, speed, and modularity than normal USB drives.


A-Frame Ladder: Gorilla Ladders, GLX-5B (Type IA 136kg, 3m vertical reach, folding, ANSI/OSHA) (recommended)

Work Platform: Gorilla Ladders, GLWP-55A-2 (Type IAA 170kg, 1.4m x 0.35m area, 0.76m max/adjustable platform height, folding, ANSI/OSHA) (recommended)

General Consumables

Distilled Water

99% Isopropyl Alcohol (PCB cleaning)

70% Isopropyl Alcohol (general-purpose cleaning, ex. degreasing)

4% Acetic Acid (vinegar) (corrosion removal)

Electrical Supplies



Eneloop 5th Gen AA (NiMH, 1.2V 2Ah)

Eneloop 5th Gen AAA (NiMH, 1.2V 0.8Ah)

Eneloop101, Info Site

SR44 (ex. for digital caliper) (target stock 10)

Product ID: MURATA, SR44R (11.6mm DIA, 5.4mm HIGH, 1.55V, 150mAh, -10C to 60C, IEC SR44, 2.2g) (DISTR: Mouser)

CR1616 (ex. for keyless entry device) (target stock 10)

Product ID: MURATA, CR1616

CR2450 (ex. for digital 3D tester) (target stock 10)

Product ID: MURATA, CR2450

Makita XGT (lithium-ion, 40V 4Ah)

EM3EV (lithium-ion, 48V-52V 24Ah)


Function MFG Product Description DISTR
Nitrile Gloves Medicom General-purpose 150 gloves, latex-free Costco
Shop Towels Scott Multi-purpose Original 550 towels Costco
Microfiber Towels Kirkland General-purpose 36 or 324 towels Costco
Lint-Free Wipes Dupont Sontara AC9165a aerospace-grade ULINE Canada
No-Residue Duct Tape 3M 2420 strong, waterproof, clean removal within 6 months, UL 723 fire-resist ULINE Canada
N95 Dust Respirator Moldex 2200 durable shell ULINE Canada


Fluid Dispenser Accessories (Nordson EFD, UltimusPlus I)

  • 30cc adapter assembly, 0.9m (O-ID: 7012338)
  • 30cc syringe barrel and piston, 20-pack (O-ID, 7012136)
  • end cap, 20-pack (O-ID, 7012196)
  • tip cap, pack (O-ID, 7012198)
  • free dispensing tip kit

Soldering Station Accessories


0.40mm (1/64in) Conical Sharp (SKU, 1131-0002-P1)

0.80mm (1/32in) Conical Sharp (SKU, 1131-0001-P1)

0.80mm (1/32in) Chisel 30° (SKU, 1131-0012-P1)

1.59mm (3/32in) Chisel 30° (SKU, 1131-0019-P1)

3.18mm (1/8in) Chisel 30° (SKU, 1131-0051-P1)

5.15mm (13/64in) Chisel (SKU, 1131-0010-P1)

3.05mm (3/25in) Miniwave (SKU, 1131-0032-P1)

USB-C CABLE: ANKER, Powerline 3 USB-C to USB-C (white, 10ft) (female to female)

Quality: Commercial, High

  • 60W max power
  • 480Mbps max speed (USB2 datarate)