Let’s face it: following the events of 2020, you’ve found yourself spending more time in the house than you ever imagined. While being holed up can be boring and uninspiring, it’s the best time to get your creative juice flowing.

Now that your summer vacation is fast-approaching, how will you keep yourself busy knowing that you can’t travel or visit places as much as you’d like due to Coronavirus? Here are some interesting DIY tech projects that are worth your time.

1. DIY Image Hosting Service

Facebook and Google Photos are some of the popular platforms where most people host their photos. However, being at the mercy of a company’s privacy policy and terms of service may not give you full true control of your files. Why not roll out your hosting service using tools such as JAlbum and the Gallery Project?

If you want to organize and control your own galleries, it’s advisable to auto-sync with a tool or app of your choice. The next step is managing files locally but keeping a backup off-sight.

2. DIY Amazon Echo

Although it’s not the most budget-friendly project, you’ll learn a ton about how Echo works by creating an Amazon Echo using Raspberry Pi. You’ll not only understand how the Raspberry Pi works but also how to unlock its potential.

For this project, you need a microphone, Ethernet cable, line-in speaker, Raspberry Pi 3 or 2, Wi-Fi dongle, and USB power supply. You can get some of these components from your old gadgets.

3. Add Wi-Fi to Your Mirrorless/DSLR Camera

If you still use your mirrorless or DSLR camera, manually transferring videos or photos to your computer for sharing or processing can be a daunting task. Give that camera a Wi-Fi upgrade and forget those inconveniences of sharing files. You only need the right SD card.

Some of the ways of adding wireless features to your camera are using Wi-Fi-enabled SD cards and third-party adapters. Weye feye, iUSBportCamera, and CamRanger are incredible options. Alternatively, you can pair the camera with your smartphone.

4. Gamer Night Lights

How about changing the ambience in your gaming room with LED night lights? Decorate each side of the cubes with gamer-themed images that depict classic characters and games. These lights offer some amazingly nostalgic themes.

Such decor ideas offer gaming enthusiasts a chance to pay tribute to their favorite or classic gaming characters, allowing them to infuse a playful sentiment into their rooms.

5. DIY Streaming Dash Cam

Dash cameras aren’t vital but they can capture amazing moments. They’re also fun to watch, especially when you visit new places. The best thing is that you can make your own, and learn a lot about mobile recording and electronics in general.

To get started, grab that old smartphone you barely use. Add livestreaming capabilities to that camera using Raspberry Pi. When ready, you could include other advanced features such as GPS and status LEDs.

6. Build a DIY Computer

Building your own gaming rig or home theater PC is a project that could save you a lot of money. Use your understanding of software, RAM, hard disk, streaming media, and downloadable movies to create a system you can connect to your TV.

Take your time to choose hardware that suits your intended purpose. Some of the components to keep in mind are the motherboard, CPU, and the case. You don’t have to buy new components as you can reuse some from your old computer.

Related: How to Build a Cheap Android PC With Inexpensive Parts

7. DIY Functional Arcade Cabinet or Table

Combine woodworking and carpentry skills with electronics to build something fascinating and functional. If you have an old console gathering dust somewhere in your room, it’s time to squeeze some life out of it.

The other components you need for this project are buttons and joystick, arcade stick motherboard, monitor, HDMI cables, black stickers, a desk, a stool, speakers, and a panel.

8. DIY Spray Can Lighting

This DIY LEAD reading lamp is made out of an aerosol deodorant can. It’s a great way to repurpose and recycle old cans. The best thing about using spray cans made from aluminum is that they create an effective reflector.

At first glance, this handmade lamp may not be the prettiest, but it’s cool and interesting. Remember to paint the exterior to complement your interior decor.

9. DIY PCB Jewelry

Circuit boards are covered in resistors, conductors, capacitors, other interesting electronic components that can be viewed as works of art. With such delicate and intricate designs, PCB is perfect for making unique jewelry.

Related: How to Recycle Old PCs, Phones, and Other Tech

Wipe dust off your old cell phone or computer, and get started. Other materials you’ll need are electrician scissors, needle-nosed pliers, clear nail polish, and earring hooks. Cut rectangular, square, circular, or triangular shapes, based on your taste and preferences. Paint the PCB with clear nail polish to give it a glossy look.

10. DIY Smartphone Speaker System

You need two party cups and a paper towel roll to build this interesting speaker system. The two cups are connected to each end of the paper towel roll. The cups work as amplifiers, so they make the speakers louder. In addition, they support the entire system.

This is a perfect accessory for your outdoor activities during your summer vacation. And if you haven’t booked a vacation, try these apps and websites for the best summer vacation ideas.

11. Circuit Board Keychain

This accessory is made of a real circuit board covered with clear nail polish or resin to give it a glossy look. If you’d like to surprise a friend or family member who is a techie lover, try making this uncommon keychain. Put those old computer parts to use.

12. DIY Syncing Cloud Storage

Dropbox is easy, and most people have an account, but having full control of your data is vital. Therefore, it’s important to build your own syncing cloud storage where you are not limited to anyone’s private policy. You can easily create a Dropbox clone. On the other hand, you could create one with a Raspberry Pi, then look for file sharing apps.

For this project, you’ll need to expand your knowledge and skills of file sharing and networking. Resilio (formerly known as BitTorrent Sync) can do the job. You’ll learn a lot during the process, but most importantly, you protect your data.

Find Ways to Recycle Your Old Tech

As you’ve probably noted with all the above projects, your old gadgets can have a host of alternative uses. Instead of throwing away non-functional electronics, repurpose them to reduce e-waste.

What to Do With Old Computer Monitors: 5 Useful Ideas

Unused electronics are the bane of the modern life. Perfectly functional gadgets sit quietly in a corner of the store room, doing nothing. Old LCD monitors are a perfect example of that.

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