In the spirit of a hands-on approach to technology, I decided to scour the popular tutorial site Instructables in search of cool hardware hacks to upgrade the right gadgets to something more fun and decidedly more disgusting.

I was looking for beginner tutorials for cool gadgets you can build yourself that don’t require too much dangerous or complex work to help us become confident enough to work on complex projects.

Carefully: this article contains solder, wires and all sorts of adventures. If you don’t want to rip apart a couple of flash drives or glue a few fingers together, you’re better off just freaking out and leaving the tools for another, better day.

Lego USB stick

cool gadgets you can build yourself

This is my favorite hardware hack of all time because it’s not only quirky and nostalgic (at least for me, who loved creating Lego landscapes as a kid), but also incredibly useful.


  • Flash drive Preferably one that can be easily hacked.
  • Lego . The tutorial author used 2×4, 2×2, 1×4 and 1×2 sticks to make it USB. Use any combination of bricks to create a case that fits snugly around your flash drive.
  • transparent silicone . The author used this to mount a usb stick in a lego brick and make sure it wouldn’t wobble, but there seem to be some commenters in the comments who have tried hot glue with equal success. Just make sure the glue isn’t so hot that it melts the board!
  • metal polish . This is used mainly for aesthetic effect to make the block look smooth and shiny so you can easily do without it if you want. Someone in the comments suggested using a paste (not a gel) to erase imperfections in the brick.
  • Super glue . Like I said, be prepared to stick your fingers together.
  • Tools: knife to cut through Lego. A soldering iron works too, but beware of burning your fingers! Pliers tear out the inside of the lego.

Projected cost (assuming you already have a flash drive): about 15 dollars . Silicone costs almost $10, but if you prefer to use hot glue, there are many places that sell glue guns for less than $5.

Options A: Instructibles also has a USB eraser, but if you use silicone or hot glue to protect the circuit board, you could theoretically make a USB flash drive out of anything. Among other things, commentators tried toy cars, NES controllers, and Altoid cans.

I myself will someday want to put it in a small stuffed animal with the USB plug sticking out of its head or butt (or… I could rip the head off and use it as a cap), so there are many ways you can innovate.

stun gun

cool gadgets to build yourself

While this project has no practical use (unless you’re subjected to corporal punishment), it’s a fun way to learn about circuitry and rewire it. This project is relatively dangerous and you could end up hurting yourself if you’re not careful, but there’s nothing but a bit of painful motivation for you to keep going, right?


  • Disposable Camera any will do.
  • Screwdriver, to move the chamber and discharge the capacitor. You might want to use a screwdriver that you don’t really like, because discharging the capacitor will leave a scar on it.
  • wires A: The author just ripped apart a piece of broken electronics, but you can find insulated wire pretty cheap at hardware stores.
  • Wire strippers : They are not needed because they are easy to trim using scissors.
  • electrical tape A: Using electrical tape would be most efficient, as electrical tape does not conduct a charge, but any type of non-flammable tape could theoretically work.

Projected cost : less $10 . The cost is a little higher if you have to buy wire, but insulated wire is very cheap, so even if you buy it, the purchase shouldn’t increase the cost of this project much more than ten dollars. There’s not much you can add to this project other than maybe a pimp on the body, but hey, maybe if the taser was hot pink, your friends would be less likely to mind being the subject of your experiments.

Amazing Harry Potter Wand

cool gadgets you can build yourself

Okay, I admit, I couldn’t resist. I’m a huge Potterhead and I’m sure a lot of the people you know are too, so it’s going to be a double whammy: you can learn about the basic circuits. and make a cool gift for a friend / family member / random kid!

The wiring involved in this project is not difficult at all, and the hardest part of the whole shebang is figuring out how you want to decorate your wand. But don’t worry, even if you’re not Ollivander, the end result will still be amazing.


It’s a very fun project, and it’s relatively simple technically. If you want to orientate this family, you can even pre-assemble the chopstick bodies for the kids and let them decorate them themselves. Each stick costs approx. 5-6 dollars if you already have all the tools. If not, you’re looking at an extra fifteen dollars.

I hope these projects have taught you a little about basic circuits and how to use them to turn a few individual components into a cool toy or device. I hope you enjoy the experience of using the hardware in the hardware articles and continue to support us as we grow.

If you’d like to let us know what you’d like to see from us as we improve our writing and expand our knowledge base, please let us know by leaving your comments below! Oh, and don’t forget to tell us how you got on with the above 3 projects!

Похожие записи