My home office is a technology graveyard. With any large collection of new technology, you inevitably end up with an equally large collection of broken, outdated or otherwise useless tech. Broken keyboards, old cassette tapes and players, broken iPods, non-functioning Nintendo DSs... None of it works, and none of it is worth getting fixed.
But just because something is broken and gathering dust in a closet somewhere doesn't mean it's entirely useless. Upcycling old technology can help it find a new, perhaps humbler, purpose in life (not to mention earning you some good kharma points for keeping trash out of landfills).
This great little idea was shared by listener Eric. Revamp your old cassette tapes by turning them into small MP3 players!
This instructable by BrettLiv walks you through step by step, but it's not for the feint of heart. This requires a number of tools and electrical skill, but the result is pretty awesome.
A unique - and useful - way to upcycle a keyboard is to turn the keys into magnets.
Use a flathead screwdriver to pry the keys off an old, broken keyboard. If the keys are flat, you can use a hot glue gun (or, if you're feeling really industrious, some 2-part epoxy) to glue magnets to the back. If the keys are tall, fill the inside with a bit of silicone bathroom caulk and glue the magnet to that.
Break apart a few keyboards and you've got a really unique magnetic poetry set.
It's no secret that cats love computers. And it's also no secret that the giant monitors of old are not only an eyesore, but are also a pain to move around and get rid of.
This instructable tells you not only how to gut one (which can be useful for turning it into many other things), but also gives a step-by-step on how to turn that clunker into something your kitties will love for a long time.
Don't stress if you can't find some cool new thing to do with broken tech. You would be surprised who out there would be willing to take it off your hands - for free or for cash.
A good place to start is by listing your articles on your Facebook page or on an online auction site like eBay. Smaller tech is easy to mail to anyone who wants it, and for larger pieces you can specify in your listings that they are for pick-up only.
In addition, a lot of stores offer recycling for broken, old tech. Check your local big box electronics stores and see who has recycling options. You won't earn any cash, but it's a lot better than your old cell phone ending up in a landfill.
Do you have an idea for a neat weekend project? Share them in the comments, especially if you've got pictures.
Ashley Jefcoat is the co-host of MPB's Everyday Tech, a weekly call-in show focused on making technology accessible to everyone. You can listen to it live every Wednesday at 10:00 am CST on MPB Think Radio. She also serves as the Digital Media Director for Mississippi Public Broadcasting, where she provides guidance in all things digital. Ashley resides in Jackson, MS, in a cute little house full of animals, video games, and books.