Stuck at home on the weekend with nothing interesting to do? If you enjoy tinkering around with microcomputers and have basic soldering and circuitry knowledge, the ten awesome DIY gadget projects below are an excellent way to pass the time.
From a make-shift penny battery powerful enough to power your kid’s calculator to a laptop screen-turned monitor, these DIY gadgets are easy to make, functional, and sure to beat the weekend boredom.
1. Make a 3-Penny Battery
Did you know you can make a battery out of almost anything? Batteries are energy-holding devices, meaning as long as you know how to achieve the proper chemical reaction, you can create one from anything, including pocket change or the bunch of pennies in your garage. You’ll need three for this project, and it’s so straightforward you can even get the kids involved.
Once complete, this 3-penny battery can power your watch, calculator, Christmas LEDs, kids’ toys, or any other low-current gadgets in your household. So, go ahead and watch the video above if you’re interested.
2. Junior Wind Turbine
Junior wind turbines have come a pretty long way. We used to twist a wire around several nails to create one back in the day, but now you can even make an LED powering one like this one for as low as $2.
This junior wind turbine is pretty easy to make despite being more functional than the basic wire and nail turbines. It requires easy-to-find items like a solar-powered toy car motor, bamboo, and superglue. Check out the step-by-step guide on Instructables to work on this project.
3. Flashlight With No Batteries
Ever heard of a flashlight that works with no batteries? If not, now you not only do but can also make one to beat the weekend boredom by following this guide on Instructables. It generates energy from stepper motors and stores it in capacitors. The best part? Most materials in this project are recyclable, so you get to save Mother Nature from additional waste and a flashlight that can run forever without a recharge.
4. DIY Solar Phone Charger
If you’re always off the grid for activities like camping and hiking, festivals held in the middle of nowhere like Coachella, or for reasons best known to you, a solar phone charger will be a complete game-changer. It harnesses solar power to recharge devices meaning no more worrying about power outages or your phone running out of charge.
You can easily make one to beat the weekend boredom and save the money you’d spend on a new one by following this detailed guide on Instructables.
5. Emergency Light Powered by Fire & Water
If you’re looking to make an emergency power kit or live in an area where inclement weather is the order of the day, an emergency light will make all the difference when power is out. While you can always buy one, a DIY emergency light will save some bucks and fritter the boring weekend away.
And note, this isn’t just an ordinary emergency light. It harnesses electrical power from heat energy generated from fire and water. Also, besides lighting, this emergency light can double up as a battery charger. Follow this guide on Instructables to hack this project.
6. Make a 35-Watt Solar Panel Out of Broken Solar Cells
Although broken solar cells can still produce a current, they’re often not as effective. So, if you recently broke a few cells on your solar panel or had a damaged one and don’t want to throw it away, check out this guide on Instructables for pointers on how to repurpose it into a 35-watt solar panel.
You’ll have a powerful solar panel for chump change while cutting utility costs. If you’re looking for more DIY projects using old or broken gadgets ideas, check out our guide on fantastic DIY projects made with old phones.
7. Smartphone Charger Powered by Fire
We’ve heard of a solar-powered phone charger, but what of a fire-powered one? Well, that’s a new one and, admittedly, pretty innovative too. You can use any heat source for this project, including the gas burner you always bring to your camping adventures. It leverages the temperature difference between the hot and cold sides of a Peltier element to generate electricity.
This charger is surprisingly easy to make because, besides the Peltier element, you’ll only need a source of heat (which could be anything from a gas burner to a campfire), a temperature monitor, regulators, and a cooling fan. Check out this guide by Evoluzion on Instructables to work on this project.
8. Bark Activated Door Opener With Raspberry Pi
Imagine not having to ditch your comfort whenever your dogs need to go out because the door automatically opens when they bark? That’s exactly what this DIY gadget project lets you achieve. It uses Raspberry Pi wired to a noise detector unit to detect the noise, a circuit-driven actuator to unlock the door, and a pulley system to swing the door open.
While it’s a bit more technical than the other DIY gadget projects on our list, the instruction guide on DavidHunt.ie is pretty detailed and easy to follow. If you like this project, you will fall in love with these best DIY automatic pet feeders, too.
9. Make a Water Battery
Looking to make a more functional battery than the 3-penny powered one? Make a water battery and thank us later. It uses a liquid saltwater solution to generate, store and discharge energy, so it’s safer to handle and eco-friendly than commercial, lithium-filled battery cells.
This battery can go for days without charge and will seamlessly run again when you finally recharge it, meaning a longer lifespan and less maintenance. Simply follow this guide on Instructables to make this amazing water battery.
10. Turn Old Laptop Screen Into Monitor
If you have a laptop that’s either too old, or damaged to be functional, salvage its components, and make something useful. For instance, instead of throwing it away, repurpose the laptop’s screen into a monitor.
You’ll save money you’d have spent on a new monitor, recycle a non-functional item into something functional, and most importantly, prevent extra e-waste from making its way into our environment. Check out this detailed guide on Instructables to easily complete this project.
Spend Your Free Time Creatively With These DIY Projects
Watching your favorite TV shows or playing games on your PlayStation is fun, but it can get monotonous fast, especially when you have an entire weekend indoors ahead of you.
Luckily you don’t have to bear the monotony as there are plenty of fun, easy DIY projects you could try to kill time.
We’ve listed ten awesome DIY gadget projects above to help you beat the weekend boredom. Try them out as they are, or use them as inspiration for your next innovative DIY gadget.