What piece of kit or setup represents the pinnacle of your hobby/profession?

Even if it's not expensive, Is there a high quality item every serious enthusiast owns?

Or maybe it's a highly prized holy grail item you'd give your right arm for.

Is there something you've had an eye on for a while and you're just waiting for an excuse to treat yourself?

swan_pr avatar

Knitting can be quite fun and somewhat low cost if you don't get influenced too much. But ask any knitter about their stash and you'll discover we're all hoarders who will not hesitate to pay ridiculous amounts of money for a single skein of hand died yarn (in the ugliest colours) that most likely will end up in the stash and never get knitted. Tools are the same. Why settle for a very basic and fully functional set of needles when you can get the most expensive one?

If you know a knitter, just know they are most likely sitting on a small fortune worth of yarn and tools.

patchw3rk avatar

My wife took up knitting one summer and now we're stuck with this huge stash of yarn.

swan_pr avatar

Maybe talk to her about crochet. That eats up yarn in a flash. Then you'll have doilies and granny square blankets all over the house!

huckleberry avatar

As my GF likes to say, buying yarn and knitting are 2 different hobbies.

harmonea avatar

Knitting acrylic yarn on basic plastic needles is fun, mostly.

Knitting merino wool on a slick set of stainless steel needles with memory-free interchangable cables feels so nice I feel like I'm breaking a law.

swan_pr avatar

For sure. But there are ways to make it more affordable and sustainable. Seconds, OOAKs, estate sales, unravelling thrift finds, etc. If I was listening to all the yarn shops and designers I follow, I would have a collection of 250$ sweaters! (I'm not saying I don't have any mind you...)


This is a highly contagious problem, and it effects those who crochet as well. I uh, got the bug and made this yard winder from scratch for my girlfriend lol. I use it too, when I get nice yarn in hanks, but it was wildly unnecessary.

Oops, here's the photo: A solid steel yarn winder, mounted on a black walnut base with brass legs and sorbothane feet

swan_pr avatar

This is beautiful work, wow! Winding yarn is so relaxing. Doing it with great tools is even more satisfying. I say it's totally necessary :)

peppersnail avatar

I have electronically actuated (as opposed to cable actuated) gear shifting on my bike. It's becoming way more common these days, though...but still, it's a pretty expensive piece of kit for quite marginal gains.

Xeelee avatar

How's the dental practice doing, Fred?

xenos avatar

Woah that sounds amazing, how much of the system is electronic? Is the derailleur itself controlled by a servo?

peppersnail avatar

Front and rear derailleurs are servo controlled. These connect to a central unit that also has the shifters connected to it. This central unit can communicate with a bike computer (via ant+) to show gearing.

In addition, you can set it up so that when you shift the front derailleur, it automatically moves the rear derailler. You might want to do this in order to keep roughly the same gear ratio when changing chainrings. Or, there is a mode where you just shift up and down, and the system manages the shift for you, shifting either (or both) derailleurs, simulating a 1x drivetrain.

All of the popular group sets have a version of this: shimano, sram, and campagnolo.

It’s very expensive lol

parrot-party avatar

Is it battery operated then or is there a vampire circuit from the pedal power?

peppersnail avatar

It’s rechargeable battery powered. The front derailleur takes more power to do its thing, so when power is low, the system automatically drops you into the small chainring and disables the front shifting. The idea is that this will get you home relatively comfortably since you still have the full range of your cassette.

Still…a full charge lasts me many weeks of riding, and I ride quite a lot…about 10-15 hours a week.

Also, I’m describing shimano’s version of electronic shifting, where everything is connected physically via electric cables, so there’s one battery (mine is hidden in the seatpost). Sram’s offering has every component (derailleurs, shifters) communicating wirelessly and every piece has its own battery.


WTF, first I'm hearing of this. Sounds really expensive. Is this a road bike thing? Sounds like a road bike thing, I can't imagine the mountain bikers wanting something like that.


It's becoming pretty standard on the 'mid tier' specced mountain bikes. Anything with sram axs in the name. With that said the mid tier for mountain bikes jumped from 3-4k to 5-6k usd over the past few years.


Ooof! Yea, I remember when mid-tier was 3k-ish, that's quite a big jump in price.

peppersnail avatar

I have it on my road bike, but they also have it for mountain bikes.

In addition to shifting, you can even get electronically actuated dropper seat posts these days :)


Oh wow, when I was still biking actively, dropper seat posts were only becoming mainstream; shows you how long I've not ridden. And now there are electronic ones!

SentientMattress avatar

Modern drivetrains are great but I love the feeling of friction shifters. It's like driving an old pickup with a manual transmission.

peppersnail avatar

Nothing wrong with that. There’s something to be said for going with simplicity. Way easier to fix if something goes wrong. If I was doing some really hardcore touring through remote areas, I would definitely favor friction shifters for this reason.


I didn't even know that was a thing.

wjrii avatar

For most power-tool woodworkers, it's a heavy cast-iron table saw. Versatile, accurate, stable, repairable, adjustable, and powerful. Hand tool folks may not have one at all, or maybe just a little jobsite thing to rip big boards, and there's a few people who think differently and either use a tracksaw or build up a custom work table with something smaller as its core, but the vast majority of people who are "into" woodworking will have a cast iron table saw in good repair.


I only have a semi-portable table saw, and I don’t use it often, but it is easily one of my favorite tools

-spam- avatar

I wish I had the space to dedicate to big solid table saw, but even just getting a job site table saw was an absolute game changer for me.

wjrii avatar

If you've already got some permanent floorspace dedicated, a cast-iron top Ridgid or Delta won't take up much more at all and the current versions are basically clones of each other, down to their integrated casters. If you're having to put the thing away as an actual benchtop tool, then yeah, something is a million times better than nothing, no doubt.


I have the job site saw... Setting up the roller stands to handle big rips is a pain. But if I find the space to build it into a proper outfeed table, I think it could be about 85% of the cast iron saw.

wjrii avatar

Yeah, going from no saw to yes saw is obviously the biggest move. Beyond that, going from an aluminum table jobsite saw to a beat-up but cast-iron "motor-hanger" import contractor saw (I spruced it up and added a fence roughly equivalent to the ones that came on the Ridgid R4512) was a bigger jump than when I was using the makerspace's big 3hp and 5hp cabinet saws with Biesemeyers. For me, that first jump from jobsite to contractor is the move where the value-add is worth it and you're not too deep into diminishing returns.

I'm currently on the spiritual successor (and possibly literal, depending on which factory in Taiwan they came from) of my "project" saw, a Sawstop Contractor saw. I think it's the only one on the market that still has an outrigger motor, but I see no need to spend the money to upgrade any farther. The weight, the ability to adjust back into square, the induction motor (versus universal), the standard 27" depth and 3/4" miter slots, and the ease of adding supprt and fence capacity. Even staying out of the Sawstop argument, you get all of that with the jump to a Delta 36-725, or even an old Craftsman 113 (with SOME sort of upgraded fence).


I’ve currently got two vintage contractor saws sitting in my garage: a Craftsman 113 and a Powermatic 63. Both have beautiful cast iron tops and both have misaligned blades that I’ve spent hours trying to fix. I have PALS installed on both and for the life of me I can’t get the trunnion aligned properly. (Yes, this is a cry for help. plz help)


Been into computer hardware for not very long and got dragged into the Small Form Factor PC space immediately.

The pinnacle for me for a while what getting recent hardware into a PC case as small as a shoebox

I've started with PCs as small as 20L and now have my PC in a case less that 10L. The urge to go smaller while maintaining the same amount of power is hard to resist.

There are others doing full custom watercooling loops in PCs smaller than mine but that is a whole other rabbit hole i don't think i am ready for.


Mini computer people unite! I'm using a DAN Cases A4-SFXv4.1 and I love it. It's amazing that I can fit an entire GTX 1080 in this little case.


In your experienced opinion, what's a good horizontal sff case that can fit in an area around the size of an old Xbox One? I want to build a pc for the tv and the media cabinet it's on has spaces that comfortably fit consoles.

Pseu avatar

A good quality micrometer. Some will go for the classic Starett, others will get a modern digital Mitutoyo. Doesn't matter if it's a lathe or mill guy, CNC or manual. Any decent machinist will have their mic.


Not all of my metrology equipment makes it back in the tool chest every time I'm done, but my Brown & Sharpe digit mics? My Starrett No. 220? My Federal indicating micrometer? Those never see a second out of their case that they don't need to see.

Flaky_Fish69 avatar

for all the keyboard peeps.....


Gimmick or... do you think the hall effect keys might not be as bad as chicklets? I'm intrigued by the ability to clean it easily. (the keyboard frame itself pops off and can be rinsed.) Not sure I want a screen under it, though.


Isn't that just a Wooting with a fancy screen underneath?

Flaky_Fish69 avatar

maybe? they're both using hall effect sensors. I'm now intrigued by the Wooting...

...yeah. I think I'm gonna blow some of my next paycheck on it...


While I do think the "benefits" of a Wooting are somewhat overrated, it's the one solid offering in that space now. I don't think anything else comes close if that's the kind of keyboard you're looking at.


Mechanical keyboard peep here, and to me that's very gimmicky.

Flaky_Fish69 avatar

The screen definitely is. The swappable modules as well. I’m wondering about the keys themselves.

There’s really two reasons to use mechanicals- they’re. Ore reliable and because they don’t rely on mashing a circuit closed, you can type faster with less finger strain by not bottoming the key out.

If you can get the same effect in something that can be taken off and cleaned…

xenos avatar

Each key is magnetically suspended with rare earth magnets allowing them to be 97% transparent and ultra low friction. Each switch has 4mm of travel and will be available in linear and tactile variants. They also feature a software adjustable actuation point in 0.1mm increments and rapid trigger functionality through analog hall effect sensing.

Eagerly awaiting reviews on the keys, it will take something impressive to pry my cherry mx browns out of my hands...

As someone who dabbles in all kinds of software development and media production, I feel like the screen is less of a gimmick when you consider how it can change to show shortcuts for the specific application or OS you're running. Definitely a gimmick to use it for showing flames and fireworks and waifus... but I think it has potential for productivity


Oh my god it's so useless, I love it

croxis avatar

A coffee mug gifted by one of your favorite students.

Followed by a working pencil sharpener and the nice stapler you don't let freshmen hands touch.

redpanda avatar

As a writer and teacher, I was wracking my brains trying to think what item would be most desirable. You've summed it up perfectly, I think. I'd maybe throw on some kind of fountain pen, like a Twsbi Eco or Kaweco Sport.

croxis avatar

I use an eco (I don't like the nib i got, too fat). Nothing like correcting work in red ink with shimmer!


For guitarists you have either the 100% analog guys that can spend tens of thousands on a collection of amps, or the ones that went more digital with modelers. The big ones being the Kemper, Fractal, Nueral DSP and Line 6. I have the Quad Cortex and it's a killer, thought I wish the rate of updates was a little faster.


I like to split the difference and use one of those nutube amps, I got a voxmv50 AC and it works very well for what I do. Tube purists will stick their noses up, modeling people will gawk at the lack of features, but for someone who doesn't even use reverb or delay it's perfect. (Plus it weighs nothing!)

AttackBunny avatar

If it sounds good, I’m into it. I’ve seen really, really expensive amps sound horrible, and relatively cheap ones sound great. But pretty universally, I prefer tubes amps sound.

AttackBunny avatar

Tube amps always sound better. Just saying.

Can we tell which category I fall into?

dismalnow avatar

Can we tell which category I fall into?

Forearms that can carry a boogie stack from the van to the stage by their damned selves.

That category.

AttackBunny avatar

You know what? Fair enough.

dismalnow avatar

I pined over the Dual Rev G when I could actually use one as a gigging guitarist in the 90's - but, as a gigging guitarist, I couldn't afford one.

Now I have a bad back, but it's a Marshall bad back. So I guess it all worked out.


Miniature painter here, if you don't own a Windsor and Newton series 7 sable brush what are you even doing?

oh, I recently got a Vortex mixer and it's a game changer.

A good quality airbrush can get expensive too and is probably the biggest upgrade to the hobby.

as with all art it's subjective, you adjust to the tools you use ... but seriously, get a series 7.


Windsor and Newton Series 7s were my first expensive brushes. I'm rocking Raphael 8404s right now though and I've been a lot happier.

I'd say that the Harder Steinbeck Infinity series are probably the "you've made it" of mini painting with lots of little tweaks and QoL features, but my Iwata Eclipse has been a perfect work horse for me and may be a "pinnacle" for mini painting as far as overall value.

Not sure you've made it over there yet, but feel free to join us on https://kbin.social/m/minipainting. Always love to see more work over there!


I'll see if I can't get a good shot of something with my old camera to share over there.

Ironically my next big purchase will be a new SLR. Taking pictures or videos of minis to share is as big of a rabbit hole as painting them in the first place.


What, no bread-makers yet?

  • Zojirushi Bread machine (I use it for the dough cycle. Don't at me.)
  • Electronic scale. It can be a cheap OXO, but you need one.
  • Banneton and liners
    *Lame (honestly, my favorite is the cheapo Breadtopia one with the plastic handle--much better than the walnut-handled one my mom had)
  • More Emile Henry ceramic bakers than I'm willing to admit. Crown rolls, anyone?

I haven't ventured into sourdough but I'm teetering on the edge. Looking at the King Arthur crocks.


For me it's my home server. 110TB at the moment, running UNRAID as a VM under proxmox. Also a load of software setup to share it's resources with my friends.


Photography: Peak Design quick detach clips, strap and baseplate.

Photography is just a hobby for me, so I tend to lean towards 3rd party lenses and accessories that have a good price to quality ratio. I can not overstate how substantial a difference these clips and straps have made for me. There is no comfortable way for someone to hang a camera around their neck or over their shoulder for more than a few hours with the OEM straps, let alone a full day. With these things I have backpacked multiple long weekend trips, taking my camera out of my bag in the morning and having it out all day. I can transition from a cross body dangle, to hanging from my backpack strap in seconds which is critical if I need to free my hands quickly.

Love these things.

noughtnaut avatar

Might well be this one:
Repurposing an Accom Axial Control Panel
as it combines my previous career in TV, my lifelong interest in programming, my nostalgic tendencies, and my sheer love of buttons galore!
(Work in progress, full write-up is here.)


That's wonderful! I have a 1994 AIO machine I just acquired as I moved; I need to set up a workstation and get to fixing it. You should join the retro computers community on the FMHY instance.


Where the audiophiles at? Haha.

RedditExodus avatar

In the motorcycle world, European bikes from KTM, BMW, or Ducati are typically considered to be the most fun. While they cost a shit ton and require very frequent maintenance, if you ride a KTM or a BMW it shows that you are willing to throw a stupid amount of money to have the most horsepower and the best handling even though you may break down on the side of the road and need to change your oil every 500 miles.

I don't intend to shit on Japanese motorcycles because they (Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki) do a great job of providing a reliable (and still very fun) motorcycle experience but hop on a BMW or a KTM and you'll understand how it's just better as long as you can stomach the cost and maintenance.

Source: I've owned a Kawasaki ZR-750s, BMW R1200GS, KTM 500 EXC-F, Kawasaki Ninja 250,Honda CB 500F, KTM 790, and a Honda CRF 300L.

I will never judge someone's choice of motorcycle (unless it's too fucking loud) but the most fun you can have on two wheels is when the bike comes from Europe.

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