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Making Stuff Out Of Broken Computer Equipment?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the counts-more-if-you-broke-it dept.

Hardware 594

Class Act Dynamo writes "Recently, my keyboard stopped working, so I bought a new one (nice cordless number, really excellent). I was about to throw the old keyboard out when I thought it would be interesting to take all the keys out of it and turn them into refrigerator magnets in order to have a simple 'megnetic poetry' type of thing going. As the fumes from the industrial strength glue went to my head during this project, I began to wonder what other types of craft-type projects people had undertaken with their unusable old perpherals and such. Then I began to wonder why there was a purple octopus on my couch. I decided to ask slashdot readers the first of these questions."

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Yeah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103944)

An attempt at humor in a Slashdot submission. Whee.

Seriously, the octupus is there because I put it there. Duh.


PS - Divine first/early post!

Eh I meant "octopus" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103977)

Even God makes typos.

Hmmm (5, Funny)

xneubien (628441) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103945)

What about the good ol' Celeron Paperweight?

Re:Hmmm (2, Interesting)

KhanAFur (693723) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103974)

CPU and RAM keychains are always classic. :-)

Re:Hmmm (4, Interesting)

danamania (540950) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104116)

I once read of someone using a 68040 on their keychain. It sounded like a good idea until the drilling came, and it took more than one rather tough jeweller's drill bit to make the hole in the corner.

It turns out that those older chips (and some new ones I think) are made from an aluminum oxide (al2o3) ceramic. That's the second hardest substance, just after diamond. I'm guessing the only reason it didn't go through more drill bits is that it's not a single crystal of the stuff (if it were you'd have sapphire or ruby CPUs :).

I can't answer the first question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103946)

But the purple octopus is on your couch because it's the best place to watch your plasma HDTV.

The real question is... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103988)

...why the purple octopus crossed the road to get to your home?

BTW, in soviet russia, all your base belongs you!

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103948)


Why is there a purple octopus on your couch? (3, Funny)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103951)

Because purple octopi like to watch TV too.

Re:Why is there a purple octopus on your couch? (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10104072)

Octopi? Actually, the plural is octopodes.

For further exercise, give plurals of:

o Mongoose
o Virus
o Stadium
o Agenda
o Sheep
o Matrix
o Fish
o Deer
o Incunabula
o Hippopotamus
o Cactus
o Aviatrix

Some of these may be a trick question.

Re:Why is there a purple octopus on your couch? (1, Informative)

UserGoogol (623581) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104146)

Uh... no. []

Re:Why is there a purple octopus on your couch? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10104079)

The plural is actually octupuses, and not in fact octopi, which is a often made mistake... ask any English teacher...

"...ask /. readers the first of these questions" (5, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103952)

And yet half of the answers will be to the second!

Re:"...ask /. readers the first of these questions (2, Interesting)

The Islamic Fundamen (728413) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103969)

I made a night vision panel out of an old LCD panel from my old laptop and a old sony handicam with Night Vision mode

FP! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103954)


Re:FP! (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104066)

im hoping this wasn't an attempt at a first post, and rather something about being the first ever purple octopus to ever make it to his sofa without being disassembled and stuck back together with industial glue. (What type of glue is that anyway?, super?)

Rip apart the hard drives and take out the magnets (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103956)

Most computer have lots of useless parts inside...but hard drive magnets provide hours of entertainment!

Fun party game: Stick to magnets together with random body parts in-between. Not THOSE kind of body parts you sick perverts!

Re:Rip apart the hard drives and take out the magn (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103981)

Fun party game: Stick to magnets together with random body parts in-between

Tell me, is that before or after your DnD game on the party.

Re:Rip apart the hard drives and take out the magn (2, Funny)

ssbljk (450611) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104011)

yeah, HDDs are the most useful eq.
they can be used as ashtray, weapon... and working one can be used to store some data on it too.

Re:Rip apart the hard drives and take out the magn (3, Funny)

daemon_underscore (684175) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104020)

I stuck them to either side of the flap of skin between my nostrils. Going to the doctor to get neodynium magnets removed from your sinuses isn't fun.

Re:Rip apart the hard drives and take out the magn (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104027)

I have a dead hdd that I keep meaning to turn into a desk clock.

Hard drive magnets a sore subject. Literally... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10104109)

It just so happens I have a nasty blood blister on my left-middle finger. Hard drive magnet accident.

Not only are these things dangerous around your media they can physically hurt you as well. Also don't you DARE think about sticking them onto anything with a painted finish. I've warned you.

Not that that makes them any less fun of course. :)

Re:Rip apart the hard drives and take out the magn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10104155)

Hrm... I have a few of those suckers stuck to my fridge...I have cracked many a nail trying to pry them off. Incredibly strong, even managed to stick a porkchop to my pridge using one.

purple oct? (0, Offtopic)

jackb_guppy (204733) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103959)

I have a purple dino, red monster, and a BIG red dog. But the cat in the hat is still my favorite.

P2 heatsink (2, Interesting)

niktesla (761443) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103961)

I've got an old pentium 2 or so that I use to hold papers and notes on my desk. Then there's always the fun RAM keychains and motherboard clipboards I've seen around.

Simple (1)

RealityMogul (663835) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103965)

Kill the purple octopus, stuff it and mold it into a desk. Four tentacles for legs, two to hold a tray for the top of the desk, and two more to hold dual LCDs!!!

My cousin (5, Interesting)

Egekrusher2K (610429) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103971)

My cousin has made many, many things. She has turned old hard drives into clocks, PCB from old AT motherboards into a giant table, and AT motherboards (this time with all of the components left ON the board) into clocks as well. She has made various other things that I can't think of at the moment.

Her website, including links to some kickass PC mods that she had done, can be found here [] .

Serious Question (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103972)

At what point does a tween girl become jailbait?

What I do with old computer parts (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103973)

I make computers out of them.

Hamster Cage (5, Funny)

obfuscated (258084) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103978)

Computer cases with clear sides make great hamster cages! Just make sure to file down the really sharp stuff. Add some tubes from case to case and papow! You've got your first Hamster-powered cluster.

Re:Hamster Cage (2)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104004)

Don't forget to put a couple of hamster wheels inside the cluster, along with a "window kit" so people can see your hamster cluster at work.

Re:Hamster Cage (5, Funny)

chota (577760) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104080)

Also, for added effect, be sure to name your hamster "Beowulf."

The chicks dig it.

Re:Hamster Cage (4, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104100)

Computer cases with clear sides make great hamster cages [...] You've got your first Hamster-powered cluster.

I heard that they use a Beowulf cluster of those to run the Hampster-dance website.

All Hail!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103980)

I'm working on my CowboyNeal shrine already!! Really, though, how much old pr0n do I have?

Jewelry (4, Interesting)

turtledawn (149719) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103982)

a classic use for old computer bits is making them into jewelry- things like capacitor earrings, pendants made out of those little copper-wrapped magnets, pins made from colorful heat sinks and interestingly-patterned chips.

They make good refirgerator magnets, as well. And if you're patient, you can make your own motherboard clipboard.

Sculpture (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103983)

Back in high school, there were art projects displayed in the library. I remember a few that were made out of hacked-up circuit board that were glued into interesting shapes and then painted black. It kind of looked like the ruins of a (modern) city or something.

Tried but true (5, Interesting)

thejoelpatrol (764408) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103984)

There's always the classic-Mac aquarium. See some at The Apple Collection []

Gahhhhhhh.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10103985)

Athlon 1.4Ghz BBQ.. ssssmokin'

Computer jewelry (1)

nosredna (672587) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103990)

A few years ago, there was a small store in my home town that sold all sorts of stuff made from old computer parts. 72-pin SIMMs made into ear-rings (Yes, they were paired with same capacity chips... otherwise it'd just be silly), that sort of thing. My favorite thing there was a lamp with the body and shade made from old mainboards. I just thought it looked cool.

Re:Computer jewelry (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104025)

Wouldn't 72-pin SIMMs be too heavy for earrings? I could se 30-pin ones, but not 72...

Mac fish tank (4, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103991)

The original, classic broken computer mod [] is probably still the best place to keep your purple octopus. Various references [] are available.

Re:Mac fish tank (1)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104030)

Does this mean that we'll soon be seeing a marked spike in the number of obsolete iMacs [] for sale on eBay?

The 'Guy (1)

russx2 (572301) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103993)

I think this is one of those submissions we should ignore and pretend doesn't exist... just like the squid.

RAM Buddies... (2, Informative)

chrispyman (710460) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103994)

I distinctly remember seeing someone selling "RAM Buddies" at a local art fair around here awhile ago. They basically took that really old ram chips (the one that used rectangular sockets), bent the pins outward, and stuck eyes on the front and a tail in the back so they kinda resembled little caterpillars.

My favorite use for old hardware... (5, Funny)

john_smith_45678 (607592) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103995)

is the one they put the printer to in Office Space.

PC Load Letter?

Re:My favorite use for old hardware... (4, Funny)

SCSI-Wan (168595) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104067)

PC Load Letter?

What f**k does that mean?

Re:My favorite use for old hardware... (1)

0racle (667029) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104081)

No seriously, what does it mean?

Re:My favorite use for old hardware... (1)

jonjohnson (568941) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104092)

Fax machine.

Die mutha f****r, Die!

Classic CPU Keychain? (1)

maskedbishounen (772174) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103996)

I was going to make one, myself, out of a dead XP 1800+. Took out the Dremel, pins flew everywhere and hurt a whee bit hitting your skin, but it was finally ready to go.

..until I realized I was insane for wanting to stick that sucker in my pocket. Now, it's hanging from the ceiling instead, over my monitor. Drilled a little hole in one corner, transparent thread, thumb tack, and voila!

The air from my ceiling fan keeps it constantly spinning, so I'm happy. Might want to give it a try. Doubt it works well for whole keyboards, though. ;P

IF you want some entertainment (2, Funny)

LeahofRivendell (797671) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103997)

I suggest finding a microwave you don't particularly value and put your motherboard in it. If that doesn't entertain you enough, a light bulb can have an entertaining reaction.

Fridge Magnets (2, Interesting)

RobYoung (451535) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103998)

I'd imagine it would be difficult to write anything with only one of each letter.

Re:Fridge Magnets (1)

the_seal (758154) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104084)

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog isn't poetry?

Re:Fridge Magnets (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104140)

The word "the" is used twice, and the letter "O" is used four times.

Re:Fridge Magnets (2, Informative)

xs650 (741277) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104119)

You could start with "uncopyrightable" but that wouldn't leave many useful letters for additional words.

Maybe you could write something in Welsh with DFJKQSWXYZ. Actually, that looks like the name of a town I drove through in Wales.

386 Artwork (1)

fejes (799784) | more than 10 years ago | (#10103999)

There is a pile of 386's and 486's in my basement that could be considered as an art project...

MC HyperSPARC (2, Funny)

tokki (604363) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104005)

A friend of mine a while ago would make neck chains out of old HyperSPARC and SuperSPARC processor modules, ala Flavah Flav from Public Enemy.

heh (1)

runderwo (609077) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104007)

Well, I can't help you with the computer stuff, but this girl [] probably wants her purple octopus back...

I can explain the second (1)

TheDarkener (198348) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104010)

The octopus wants to eat the keyboard cord.

Memory sticks (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104013)

I found a MoBo from an old Mac and it had the RAM still stuck in it. So I took a stick out, and it conveniently had a whole in it, so I put it on my keychain. I also bought four boards with etching, all cut to the same dimensions and smooth with holes in the corners. A buck a piece. Now I just need to put them together in a box shape, and put a light inside with a base, and I'll have a nice glowing green lamp.

Re:Memory sticks (2, Funny)

Judg3 (88435) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104064)

haha! I did the exact same thing, though it wasn't a mac, it was an old 386. The ram was only 256kb in size! I remember we tried to install linux on it back in 99 or so, but even though it had a dozen or so sticks in it, it didn't meet the 3mb of ram minimum - so on the keychain it went!

The ladies have some ideas.. (4, Funny)

fadeaway (531137) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104018)

The answer is three weeks.

Three weeks until your girlfriend gets sick of asking you to clean up the overflowing pile of old and unused components that's steadily taking over the office. Three weeks until you come home and find your monitor decorated, in a most Martha Stewart-like fashion, with superglued sticks of RAM and old CPU's.

Message recieved.. loud and clear. Over and out.

486DX Back Scratcher! (2, Funny)

Xocet_00 (635069) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104019)

Back when I worked in the computer room at K-W Surplus [] (please excuse the horrid website, it isn't mine) we took this box of old 486DX chips and glued them onto the ends of these long thin plastic pencils. They made excellent back scratchers. We sold them for $0.99CA I think.

Use everything! (2, Informative)

Neo's Nemesis (679728) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104021)

I use my ex-speaker magnets for finding lost metal items.

My ex-cabinet houses 3 birds.

I use my earlier corrupted HD for slicing soft items after making some big changes in its circuitry.

I have mounted my CDROM's tray on wall, cut out a piece of plastic artistically and now it holds abt 10 pens, a cup of water, and upto 5 CDs, all separately in diff slots.

Clutter (1)

RobM9999 (191476) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104026)

I take all the bits and pieces of old systems and strategically around my office on shelves, in boxes, and on the floor to give it the productive, lived-in look of a technological genius. I might just have them fooled.

1.) Tear apart old crappy computers nobody else wanted
2.) ???
3.) Profit.

Stepper motors for CNC, UPS batteries for RC boat (5, Interesting)

hajo (74449) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104031)

First of; I make my living buying discarded computer stuff and reselling it. A lot of this stuff is broken and gets trashed. When I do have time I tend to strip the stepper motors out of disk drives and printers as well as the printer guides for CNC / robotics stuff. UPS batteries are an excellent power supply.
However mostly I use discarded equipment to put a working system together again which can be used for all kinds of things: If you are handy with linux you can make excellent routers; web servers, media servers, a TIVO, CNC control equipment out of the oldest stuff.

Things done... (1)

julesh (229690) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104037)

* I have a motherboard from an ICL 286 (complete with EGA graphics card [8-bit ISA] and I/O card [16-bit ISA, connects to MFM hard disks]) hanging on my wall. I call it a "talking point".

* I have a friend who used an old keyboard to practice his martial arts skills. He eventually cracked the back board with a fingertip thrust, after a number of kicks and punches failed to have much impact -- apparently, they're flexible enough that a gentler but more persistent strike does more damage.

What to do with the rest of the keyboard (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10104040)

If you've still got the rest of the keyboard you can wire up the controller to some buttons and make yourself an arcade controller. If you're really ambitious you could even go the whole hog and build yourself one of these []

You'll find the answer... (1)

Judg3 (88435) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104041)

You'll find the answer to this question quite a few times over at [] .

The people there shove a mini-itx board into everything - the front page shows a Commodor 1541 drive and a Sega Master System.

Granted, some of them are absolutely horrible (There was this God-awful Mac SE mod that looked terrible, ill-fitting pieces, a huge cut for the optical drives, etc - though I can't find it, but I did find this beautiful one [] instead. Damn, suppose I'll stop doing my mod now hehe) but they give you a pretty good idea of what can be done with those little motherboards

Re:You'll find the answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10104110)

You mean this one? []


The pinnacle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10104043)

The best I've heard is a gutted SNES system used as a tissue dispenser. Not bad, huh?

A Manual Keyboard (1) (805518) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104046)

I never got around to doing anything with it, but one day my obsession with manual transmission vehicles game me the idea to make a "manual keyboard". This idea came about a year ago.

At first this had literally no practical application, however in the beginning of this summer I realized that, at least for me, if it was done right it could be very useful.

My prime thought being: typing numbers. When I program, or even when I am just typing. It's a pain to move my hands to type numbers, and if I'm trying to type them while still keeping the rest of my hands in the "home position" errors are too high for my liking. What if the "clutch" in my manual keyboard would allow you to type numbers, but on letters. I guess having a whole pedal on the ground devoted to this would be completely unecessary, you could simply put another key on the keyboard, perhaps just above the shift key.

It may be worthless and useless, but I still like the idea.

Re:A Manual Keyboard (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10104164)

Ever use a laptop? This feature is on just about every laptop keyboard I've ever seen. The Fn key used to access the virtual keypad is often just below the left shift key. Look closely at the pictures here [] , for example. The virtual keypad is usually around the u-l keys.

The virtual keypad isn't on normal keyboards, for the simple reason that they're far more of a pain in the ass to use than just moving your right hand across to the arrow keys.

I have a keyring - how exciting. (1)

ttlgDaveh (798546) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104049)

I have a P3 800MHz keyring after one broke at work and was a mere week outside of it's warranty.
Fifteen minutes with some clippers and a soldering iron removed the pins and a further minute with a Dremel to drill a holy for the ring and it was done!
Unfortunately, 2+ years in my pocket have taken their toll on it [] - the core has been virtually destroyed and there are some nasty chips out of the side of it. Looks like I need to blow up some more hardware to replace it, an AMD64 would be a nice keyring upgrade ;).

I've been working (2, Interesting)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104051)

On a project to turn some old scsi drives into a MIDI instrument, I *LOVE* the sounds really old scsi drives make (think 4GB micropolis drives). Plan to use it in a composition :)

Re:I've been working (1)

back_pages (600753) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104107)

On a project to turn some old scsi drives into a MIDI instrument, I *LOVE* the sounds really old scsi drives make (think 4GB micropolis drives). Plan to use it in a composition :)

I'm not trying to be a smartass, but wha?? Do you mean that you're tying to make a MIDI patch of the hard drive sounds? If you make a MIDI instrument out of the hard drive, it won't sound like the hard drive..

I guess I'm asking if you're trying to sample the hard drive or use the scsi port wiring and connector to directly interface to a MIDI port. If it's the sampling, I might be able to help.

Re:I've been working (2, Interesting)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104137)

Nah, I'm trying to turn a PC+SCSI CARD+Two Micropolis drives into a MIDI instrument. Software on the PC (will eventually) read midi signals and convert them into head movements which will make the pretty noises :)

Lots of stuff (1)

g3head (771421) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104057)

Personally I've make a keyring out of a set of PCI bridge chips here [] I've also built coasters out of a cut up logic board and some plexiglass, similar to the ones at thinkgeek [] The light elements from old scanners are nothing more than CCFLs so there are any number of uses for them when you pair them with an old wall wart.

Dead HDD magnets (1)

WormholeFiend (674934) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104058)

I use a dead HDD's magnet to hold all my spare change together in my pocket.

I've seen... (1)

inode_buddha (576844) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104059)

Old hard disk packs make excellent Klingon prayer wheels. BTW, the purple octopus is wondering if you're edible.

front garden (1)

bvdbos (724595) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104061)

Currently I'm colleting stuff to put in my front garden as decoration and an ode to the tchnology. But remember to take all the boards out as they should be recycled. You don't want to have that high concentrations of heavy metals in the wild (your garden in this case). Also I'm thinking about a fishbowl from a monitor...

Gerbilssss (1)

coffin_birth (808593) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104069)

I used a server case as a small pool for my gerbils to swim in. they found all the fans, holes and etc as a sweet deal to swim through and such. Much fun. Just... use a lot of packing tape. A lot.

Here's one... (1)

Misch (158807) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104071)

THis horse is called "All Keyed Up [] " and was aprt of the 2003 "Horses on Parade" exhibit in Rochester, NY.

more pictures []

Nightstand (1)

zokum (650994) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104078)

Personally, I got an old and LARGE 386 server from HP as a nightstand next to my bed. Quite sturdy and gives my bedroom that geeky/functional look.

B.E.A.M. (2, Interesting)

Veridium (752431) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104085) []

I've been working on a project for a few months now, utilizing parts from old drives. I'm time deficient of late, but I'm hoping when I finish a current work project, I'll have more time.
All you tinkerer nerds out there, if you haven't looked into BEAM robotics, look into it. You can utilize a good deal of junk electronics.

For those old 387's... (1)

Tmack (593755) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104087)

After I fried it good (burned a pin clean off it), I took a 387 math co-proc and bent a few of the pins in one corner around a peice of string. Now it hangs from the rear-view mirror of my old car.


Purple Octopus... (4, Funny)

selderrr (523988) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104097)

that, my dear friend, is what the sun-walkers out there call a woman

don't touch it, don't feed it, don't talk to it. If you stop washing yourself & brushing your teeth, it's supposed to go away by itself.

dunno if this matters, but you have all slahsdotters sympathy. We're standing right behind you like one geek. Let us know how it turns out.

Daft idea (5, Interesting)

ledow (319597) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104102)

I once had similar ideas for reusing the bits out of all the old PC's that collect around me (mostly P233's and desktop cases, for some reason, but I've got a PS/2 hiding somewhere).

Was going to use the old fans to make sure airflow went through my PC and even throughout the wooden cabinet that my PC is in so that it wouldn't get too hot.


Actually once crafted a primitive noise baffle for the exhaust fan from a PC by using an empty 5.25" casing and some defunct floppies arranged so that the air would zig-zag through the 5.25 case (off of a CDROM if I remember rightly, with the bits taken out).


The metal casing of an old PC is good for keeping all those ADSL routers, printer server boxes, ethernet hubs etc. that are on 24/7 but just get in the way when you're rereouting cables.

Bung them inside an old desktop case (even mount them in the drivebays or whatnot), run all the cables through the PCI backplates and power them off the inside of the power socket (even room for a power strip with a few "brick" power adaptors in there). If your stuff needs 12 or 5v, you could even run it direct off of the old PSU, I suppose.

That way, one box and plug powers all the silly peripherals but you haven't got millions of wires tangling and twenty brick adaptors stuck to the wall.

You can move the bits inside around so that you can see the LED status of things from the drive bays etc., can power from the power supply, can even re-use the PSU or case fans to make sure they have adequate cooling etc.


Some people try to hide their computers in their furniture (e.g. wooden cabinets/cupboards/desks), why not go the other way... convert the front of a desktop case to become a fold-open drawer or storage area. :-)


See how many LED's you can fit onto the outside of an old PC case so that you can have that authentic "Star Trek" feel. Bonus points for them actually working, extra for flashing effects etc.


Build a race track using old PCI cards as barriers, upside-down motherboards as the floor and the balls from mice as the "cars", like blow football, only more geeky.

Two words: (1)

DoraLives (622001) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104104)

Art Car.

Take one old jalopy, a couple of hundred dead cards/motherboards/memory stix/etc., and a large bucket of epoxy, and mix well.

Instant Art Car.

Parts - art? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10104105)

A couple friends of mine went to an art fair in a division that went by the name of 'machinery art' or something along those lines. Anyway, the rules were simple. They were presented with 3 computers, including monitors, mice, keyboards, speakers, the works, a few other pieces of industrial machinery, and what came down to a couple baseball bats. They could demolish the materials in any way they say fit, to make something artsy fartsy. The result? I don't have pictures, but it ended up being a 6-foot, 70-pound behemoth that was reminiscent of the robot from Short Circuit. They named it Trogdor, and actually managed 2nd place after someone they swear had bought the judges. It wasn't actually functional (obviously) but it was darn cool looking.

build from it, or donate it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10104108)

You know what really irks me as a technology enthusiast, often wanting to obtain older parts? People convinced by the Great Marketing Machine that anything more than 6 months old is worthy for no more than scrap. Yeah, I know if you live in the USA many old parts have supply >> demand, but that just isn't the case in most other countries.

Let me give you an example. I have been looking for weeks in the UK for a newer VAXstation (my first hunt was for the 4000/60, since everyone I spoke to US-side said these boxes are rather nippy but also exist in stacks in warehouses).. now there are about 5 companies here who sell the refurbished parts, but for at least four times the final price of US sales on eBay. I'm an hobbyist and student, and I want to learn about these machines, what made them successful, what ideas we can re-use from them, etc. - I neither intend to make a mint, nor can I afford to spend a mint on them.

So, for the sake of my sanity (and yes, this is a selfish request, but it will also benefit lots of geeks like me with similar interests, and we are geeks, right?), please, please, if you have some even mildly interesting hardware, consider offering it up to those who would willingly pay a fair price for it, or at least to ship it away from you, on eBay if you like, or better on some of the specialist newsgroups / boards. We will be eternally grateful.

Wind generators. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104117)

Some of the wind power people use the magnets from the disk drive head actuators for making magnetos or converting motors to magnetos.

Sometimes they use the disk bearings for small mills, too.

Re-use electronic components! (4, Interesting)

enosys (705759) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104124)

If I have a useless board with at least some components that aren't surface mount I use a hot air paint stripper to remove the components. Then I reuse them in various projects. I have a well over 90% success rate with ICs.

A hot air paint stripper will surface mount components even more easily but it's hard to use surface mount components.

Not all computer equipment is safe for this (4, Insightful)

banz23 (737504) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104125)

I think many people neglect to realize that the computer components were designed to operate in a closed box and to have very little direct contact with people. There is plenty of lead and other nasties in these components that I certainly wouldn't want to handle them frequently or for that matter my kids. Now things like keyboard key are obviously safe, but motherboards are another thing.

Question (2, Interesting)

timeOday (582209) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104128)

Since you're only using the keys from a single keyboard for your fridge magnets, a question arises: what's the longest english word that only uses each letter once? How about the longest sentence?

recycle (1)

holmengraa (542124) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104133)

i use my former state of the art kyocera laserprinter as an anchor for the family boat

Stuff (0, Offtopic)

coffin_birth (808593) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104134)

This is just a joke, my clan's server isn't quite that bad...

That's just the server. The real treat is the actual gaming machine.

Toys for the girls (5, Funny)

pilybaby (638883) | more than 10 years ago | (#10104153)

I'm sure I've seen "toys for girls" that look just like my MS wheel mouse. I'm sure it can't be that hard to plug in a vibrating motor and some batteries. If you make it a wireless one you could even use a caddy to charge it. And the best thing is that you don't have to worry about someone finding it in your desk draw. You just say it's an old broken mouse. Kill two bird with one stone. Hell you could do it and have it stay as a fully functioning mouse too.
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