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THE DIY DUDE
By 14 May 2009 | Categories: the diy dude

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If you've ever helped somebody move house, you will have been shocked to discover just how much stuff they have. You probably think that you are immune to this problem and that you don't really have that much stuff. But you do. All people do. It is an absolute truism. The best thing to do is throw away the stuff you really do not need, but before you throw away that old notebook or obsolete webcam, you got free with a PC you bought in 2004, make something really useful from it. But be warned: when renewing old tech, the last thing you want to do is create something with no use at all. We like to say: "Beware the Craft"!

Stuff in PCs

If you open up any old computer, there a few parts you can use for making cosmetic things, like the Christmas tree we made last year, and that's great, but you're essentially creating more stuff to be thrown away. There are, however some really useful bits that you really should keep. These are: hard-drives and fans. You can easily take apart a hard drive and reclaim the rare-earth magnets inside. If you screw these onto a piece of wood (and you don't need to drill any holes as they come pre-drilled) and affix it to a wall, you have a seriously strong holder of anything steel. It works great in the kitchen or in a tool room. 

The other components to be kept are computer fans, especially those from older models (they just seem better quality and quieter somehow.) These are great for using in new PCs or as an extra fan for your current PC. They make your system quieter overall as your fan doesn't need to work so hard anymore.

On the Web

If you do some searching on the Web, there are a number of things to do with old tech that aren't just "craft-time fun". You must stay away from kitsch craft projects at all costs. It makes you a person of no taste.

A project we really liked, and photography enthusiasts will love, is an ultra simple may to make a flash diffuser using an old film container, pretty poetic if you think about it.

http://photojojo.com/content/diy/diy-film-container-flash-diffuser/

Okay, we will admit there are a couple of kitsch things that you really should try. Yes, you might hate yourself in a few years time, but for now at least people will marvel at the light bulbs you filled with concrete and made into wall hooks.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Concrete-Lightbulb-Wall-Hook

For the artistically inclined, there is another brilliant project on Instructables.com that uses a new technology: the webcam, combined with an old technology: stop-motion animation, combined with a white-board to give you seriously amazing results.

http://www.instructables.com/id/Easy,-Cheap,-Animated-Cartoon-in-10-Minutes  

So remember: take old things and make new, but useful, things. Do not take old things and bejewel, beglitter, scrap-book, tie bows around, stencil onto, attach beads to, apply paper mache to, decoupage, use "antique crackle" on, sponge paint onto, put potpourri into or make into jewelry. But whatever you do: Never, ever frame a puzzle.

 

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