Creation Crate is a new subscription box that teaches you how to build electronics! It's tech DIY! Or as Creation Crate calls it, "Tech Education In-a-Box."
This box was sent to us for review purposes. (Check out our review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: Creation Crate
The Cost: $29.99 per month with discounts for longer subscription commitments
COUPON: Use code MSA10 to save 10% off your first box!
The Products: Everything you need to build your very own electronic gadget!
Ships to: Worldwide for free!
Check out the Geek + Nerd Subscription Box Directory and make sure to add Creation Crate to your subscription list or wishlist!
These stickers came in the box. That, along with the tag line "Building the Makers of Tomorrow," made me think, "Oh no! This is a kids' box!" I thought this box was for grown-ups, and I wanted it for myself! My worry was unfounded; this is definitely not a kids' box. The FAQ suggests that this box could be used for anyone ages 12 and up, but stresses that it is for adults who want to learn to build electronics, too.
This month's project is creating a mood lamp! This is the little instruction booklet for the project.
There are two components to this project: assembling the hardware and then programming it. These are the instructions for assembling the hardware. I have experience programming, but not really any experience working with electronics on this level, so this was intimidating to me. I wish the instructions had been clearer, but I mainly wish the instructions had been BIGGER! It's hard to count all those tiny dots! In fairness, Creation Crate does provide a few alternate and potentially larger versions of the diagram on their website, but it didn't really make anything much clearer to me.
This is part of the instructions for programming the lamp. In addition to the instructions, the booklet also includes a troubleshooting guide if the project doesn't work, some exercises for expanding your knowledge, and a sneak peak at next month's project. I would be happy to provide a spoiler, but I can't tell what it is from the picture!
These are the supplies that were included. The only thing I had to provide was my computer.
This is my completed, assembled lamp. I did it correctly the first time with no problems despite the intimidating nature of the project and the somewhat unclear directions. The supplies included a paper lantern to place over the bulbs, but there was no means of connecting it or anything, and I really wanted to be able to see the individual LED bulbs working, so I left it off.
This is the end of my completed program. I had to download the interface from Arduino, which was no problem. The instructions for downloading the interface, using it, programming, and compiling / uploading the project were clear to me. The main thing you want to notice in this picture is the red circle around the words "Done uploading." Once you finish programming, you plug your lamp into a USB port and upload the program into it. If your program is free of errors, you will get this message at the bottom. My lamp was completed!
Success! This is my completed lamp under my desk. The lamp sensed the darkness and turned on!
Once I pulled the lamp back out from under my desk, it turned back off. So cool! (Sorry about the weird picture location and angle - the USB cord is kind of short.)
Verdict: I'm pretty blown away by what just happened. I wired a lamp and programmed it to turn on and off based on the light in the room. That's amazing! I love Making! This experience was definitely worth $30 to me. It was hugely educational and I have a massive sense of accomplishment. I would like to see Creation Crate step up the polish factor a little in future boxes. I would definitely like bigger and clearer instructions, preferably with more detailed explanations. I also think they should go the extra mile to make the project more complete, like including double-sided sticky foam to attach the paper lantern over the bulbs and maybe a fold-together box to wrap around the project once it's complete so you're not just looking at bread board and wires. With that (plus a longer USB cord), I could leave the lamp plugged into my computer and on my desk to work as it should for as long as I like! It's just a bit of an eyesore as-is. Otherwise, this was an amazing first box from Creation Crate, and I cannot wait to see what we're making next month!
What do you think of Creation Crate?