Building your own tech has plenty of advantages. It’s often cheaper, gives you unparalleled control over the components you use, and the end result is fully bespoke. Perhaps even more importantly, the project will be hugely rewarding, and you’ll have an incredible sense of achievement at the end.
1. A desktop computer
Often considered one of the most difficult DIY projects, building a computer from scratch is a rite of passage for any serious techie. Despite this, it’s nowhere near as difficult as it seems. Your biggest concerns should be ensuring compatibility between components and deciding whether you want an Intel or AMD core. Watch out for static (this can destroy fragile components) and order parts with pre-applied thermal glue for a less messy experience.
2. Smartphone projector
Substantially easier than building a computer from the ground up, a DIY smartphone projector can nonetheless turn any room into a home movie theatre. All you need for this project are a shoebox and a magnifying glass. The magnifying glass enlarges and refracts your smartphone’s screen through a gap in the shoebox, projecting it onto the wall with surprisingly lossless detail.
3. A DIY firearm
For gun enthusiasts, nothing beats the satisfaction of building a firearm from the ground up. There are two ways to do this, but both require quality 80% lowers as the starting point. From there, you can opt for a kit (which comes with all the required components, just dismantled) or go piece by piece. The latter is much more complicated but gives you complete control over the finished product.
4. Bluetooth speaker
Despite its unassuming size, a Bluetooth speaker is actually one of the most complicated projects on the list. You’ll need a fair amount of tools, including a soldering iron and more basic implements like wire cutters. Specialized tech, including a Bluetooth module and ground loop isolator, is also required, but once you get over the fairly steep entry requirements, the process itself is quite simple, and there are ample online tutorials available.
5. Thermal goggles
A fun gadget with some real-world, practical advantages, thermal goggles are much cheaper when made at home. You’ll need a pair of sunglasses with robust frames and then some theater lighting gels (primary red and Congo blue). Trace the outlines of the lenses onto the gels and then cut them out. Attach these to the frames and then light with four high-intensity LEDs on either side. It might seem like an involved process, but it’s far cheaper than buying new goggles.
6. Wi-Fi antenna
As complex as it sounds, building a simple antenna to magnify the Wi-Fi signal in your home is actually straightforward. Depending on your budget, you can even use just a tin can! An insulated copper wire connects to the Wi-Fi and then runs into the can. You can take things further using additional wire to boost and direct the signal, and you’ll be surprised at how big a difference this makes to your home network.
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