The Best Gifts for Mechanical Engineers

The Best Gifts for Mechanical Engineers

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Mechanical Engineers are notoriously difficult to buy for. What do you get for the person who has everything? And that’s the thing - mechanical engineers tend to be pragmatic, sensible gadget lovers. So, in other words - they already have everything they could possibly need! 

In all seriousness though, if your significant other, sibling, parent, or friend is a mechanical engineer, deciding what to get them is probably a difficult task. Lucky for you, we’ve done all the legwork.

the best gifts for mechanical engineers

1. Drone or quadcopter

Let’s face it - drones and quadcopters are super-cool! It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can’t really call yourself an engineer if you can’t appreciate the fun to be had with an unmanned aerial vehicle.

In fact, one of the first assignments in many mechanical engineering courses is to build a working quadcopter. 

But aside from the fun and the learning opportunities, they’re also pretty darn useful. You can use them to take beautiful aerial photography, survey hard-to-reach places (such as rain gutters) and scare the neighborhood cat out of your garden.

It’s hard to go wrong with a drone - just check out the smile on his or her face when they unwrap it!

2. Sheldon Cooper clock

Mechanical engineers will love this, even if they’re not fans of The Big Bang Theory (and if they’re not, you need to educate them!). 

Every number on the clock face is replaced by a mathematical calculation, some more simple, some more complicated. Sheldon Cooper would love it. Bazinga!

3. 3D printer

In at number three is a more serious gift idea. Apart from being loads of fun, 3D printers are also surprisingly useful. 

It probably won’t be long before every home has one, but until that point, they make great gifts for mechanical engineers. Why? Because you can design your own parts using a CAD package, then print them out and assemble them yourself at home. 

Can you imagine how much a mechanical engineer will love that? Want to create a machine that will butter your toast in the morning? No problem - the 3D printer can do it. How about making a device that will remove hair from the bathtub’s drain? The 3D printer’s got you covered! All you need is to add a bit of your own ingenuity!

4. A drinking vessel that displays how great they are

Ok, so maybe it’s a bit of a stereotype, but mechanical engineers are known for being slightly, how can we put it... Overconfident? Self-assured? Aware of their own talents, real or imagined?

When you work in a field that demands perfection, it’s easy to fall into the slightly dubious character trap of always thinking you’re right. Unfortunately, not all of life fits into nice mathematical equations, so inevitably they’ll be wrong at times. But don’t let that put you off buying them a mug like this. They’ll love it!

5. Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction book

One thing many mechanical engineers love above all else is making weapons. In many cases, it’s the thing that got them into the job in the first place. They go from sketching pictures of guns, fighter jets, and missiles on the inside cover of their school notebooks to creating the real thing for the defense industry.

For a bit of light relief, pick up this book that shows them how to build functioning weaponry from everyday items such as stationery and cutlery. What other gift could show them how well you understand them? Just remember to stay out of the firing line when they test their peg and spoon mortar!

6. A mechanical pencil

Ok, so to the layperson this gift may sound, well, a bit boring. It’s just a pencil after all, right? 

But to a mechanical engineer, a mechanical pencil is much more than that. It’s a trusty friend. It’s there for you in times of trouble. It can help you get out of a jam, or be your sidekick when you need to do some back-of-the-napkin calculations. 

It’s also a thing of beauty. A pencil that never runs out. A simple writing device with an exquisitely simple mechanism. Ok, maybe we’re getting a bit carried away - but you get the picture.

7. Swiss army knife - Swisschamp

Call that a knife? This is a KNIFE!

The Swisschamp is no ordinary pocket knife. Oh no. This is the daddy of all pocket knives. Scratch that. This is the grand-daddy of all pocket knives. The Swisschamp is more than a multi-tool, it’s an every-tool. It basically contains every single tool you could ever need if you ever find yourself stranded high in the Swiss Alps.

Any engineer worth their salt will marvel at this work of ingenuity: eight layers of tools and an amazing 33 unique functions. And mechanical engineers will love the practicality of being able to carry around a whole toolbox in their pockets. From a wood saw to a toothpick, from scissors to a magnifying glass (yes, really), this knife has it all.

8. Miniature steam engine

Show me a mechanical engineer that doesn’t love a good steam engine and I’ll show you a person without a soul. The intricate polished parts. The finely-tuned mechanical motion. The little fuel pellets that you put in and set alight. The smell of burning coal. The “chuff-chuff” of the turning engine. The fact that it actually works like a full-sized engine. Believe us - this is a form of therapy for mechanical engineers.

The premade steam engines are a bit expensive, but you can find cheaper build-your-own kits if you think the engineer in your life would enjoy piecing it all together.

9. Controlled robotic arm

Every engineer loves playing around with robotics. And sure, it may not have that many practical uses, but just getting it to pick up a pen off the desk and place it in the proper tray is enough to keep a mechanical engineer amused for quite some time.

You can even program it to carry out a sequence of movements. So the next time you need to unscrew the top of a ketchup bottle, lift the bottle, and shake it onto your fries, guess what? You don’t need to lift a finger!

You can also suggest that your engineer make a Hot Wheels car assembly line that can then mutiny in any way they wish, flinging cars around like some dystopian sci-fi movie. Or something like that.

10. Digital Vernier Calipers

To round out our list of best gifts for mechanical engineers, we thought we’d end on a serious note. What better gift for an engineer than something they will actually use in their daily work? Introducing the digital Vernier calipers. No, not old-timey leg supports, these are the kind of calipers you use to measure stuff.

Digital Vernier calipers are highly accurate, some to within a tolerance of 0.01 mm. No excuses for messing up the dimensions of any more reverse-engineered mechanical parts now. (Though, don’t tell them we said that!)