Why throw out those old hard drives and spare parts you have laying around? Make your own strange gadgets. Our editors have compiled a list of the strangest (or coolest) DIY gadgets that we’ve come across in recent time. Which ones are your favorites?

10. NES Alarm Clock

An NES alarm clock? Yes, it’s true, this modder gutted his old NES and fitted it with a fully functional alarm clock. The buttons were wired to the console’s player 1 controller port (clock settings), reset button (snooze), and power button (alarm indicator). Lastly, he custom mounted an LED display behind the cartridge slot to display the time. Where can I get one? More pics after the jump.

“The finished product’s time, alarm time and other parameters have to be set by manually shorting Player 1 controller input contacts with wire jumpers.”

9. Windmill Mobile Phone Charger

The windmill mobile phone charger differs from other chargers in several ways. First, this charger uses a fanblade with an attached generator to power your cell phone. It’s also waterproof and has a one ampere DC flow (12V) with a potential difference of 12V, which should be enough juice for just about any mobile device. Technical specs after the jump. [Source]

8. Functional Hard Drive Clock

Alan Parekh converted an old hard drive into a fully functional clock. It uses twelve high power LEDs to display the clock hands and a custom programmed PIC16F628 microcontroller for clock operation. Unfortunately, this creation isn’t very practical as older hard drives are quite noisy. [Source]

7. Skype Payphone

An interesting project that we may even see commercially available in the future. Combining Skype with a payphone, now why didn’t I think of this sooner?

“It could be interesting to mod old payphones to make Skype / VOIP calls.. deposit $0.25 and call anywhere in the world for 20 minutes. Or just pound in your user name and password t9 style and use your Skype minutes…maybe you put in $0.25 and it gives you a wifi SSID for 30 minutes to use.”


6. Blue Bawls Automatic LED Light

To make your own “Blue Bawls Automatic LED Light”, you’ll need a 9V battery, photo-cell, NPN transistor (2N 4401), one super bright white LED, 100K ohms resistor, 470 ohms resistor, 9V battery snap, one empty bottle, and around 2-3 hours of time. Video clip after the jump.

“Ok get your mind out of the gutter. I am talking about the beautiful blue glass bottle that the Bawls soft drink comes in. I tried one the other day and thought the glass bottle could be used for something interesting.”


5. Functional Hard Drive Speakers

Afrotech created this functional speaker system using old hard drives and a custom built amplifier. What you see above is the entire system, complete with woofer, midrange, and tweeter HDDs. Video clip after the jump.

Why pay 500$ for Klipsch’s latest speaker system? You can make something that looks way cooler for the price of a DIY amplifier and some HDDs out of a dumpster. It doesn’t sound quite as good but who cares!

[via HackedGadgets]

4. Snoil

Snoil is a “Snake”-like game rendered on a Ferrofluid display in which players tilt the box to control the movement. [Source]

3. Powerglove Mouse

Zerosign managed to take his old Nintendo Powerglove and turn it into a fully functioning computer mouse after countless hours of wiring and hacking. [Source]

2. Electro-Mechanical Pong

Yes, this version of Pong is 100% electro-mechanical. The playing field consists of a ball and paddles that are attached to servo controlled cables, sandwiched between two sheets of glass. Instead of microcontrollers and integrated circuits, Pongmechanik uses three sensors to determine mechanical movement. Players use the joystick to drive a relay computer (simple logic circuit). Video clip after the jump.

“The score counters go from 1 to 5 and the numbers are displayed on two rotating discs; as soon as a player gets five points, the game resets. The sound effects (all two of them) are created using solenoid plungers.”


1. DIY Hoverboard

Jason Bradbury created his own working hoverboard that costs just $261 to make. It uses a petrol leaf blower for the “hover” and is constructed from wood/pool lining.

“Right now, all the device does is perform like a heavy block of ice (with a few stones in it that keep snagging on the ground every four feet or so). I can stand on it and float and I can affect a sort of motion, in the way you can use your wait to alter a skateboard’s trajectory.”


Honorable Mention – CD Lamp

If you’ve got hundreds of old AOL discs laying around, why not put them to good use? This creation was made from a pile of old CDs, an ATX power supply, and a custom circular base.

“The pile of CDs that had been massing in my room was growing to epic proportions. So I decided to make myself a CD lamp. The circular base was actually cut using a template on a table saw, then sanded after clamping it in a drill press. The cold cathode lamp is from NewEgg. “


Honorable Mention – Thermaltake MiniFridge

Inventgeek transformed this otherwise normal looking computer tower into a fully functional mini fridge/soda dispenser. All it took was around 30 minutes of hacking and $200 in parts. Tools used include screwdrivers, pliers, knives, glues, and wire cutters. View all pics after the jump.

This was a really fun project to do. I recently brought it fully loaded to a LAN party with a bunch of my fellow geeks. At first I let them guess at what it was. First impressions were that it was a water cooled computer. But when they saw that there was no mob installed through the IO shield they were all stumped. So I plugged it in and popped open the front and with a solid sounding ‘Ka-Thunk’ a Caffeinated cold one was waiting for all night consumption


Honorable Mention – NES Controller Shuffle MP3 Player

This follow up to the first NES controller MP3 player builds on the premise of that device, but uses an iPod Shuffle instead of a hack job. Aesthetically, everything has remained intact, other than the modified start/select buttons. Lots more pics after the jump.

“A brief description of the controls: Up/Down: Volume up/down – Right/Left: Track forward/backward – Select: contains a 3-way switch for continuous play, shuffle play, and off – Start: contains a switch for hold – A Button: play/pause


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