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62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer: (And Other Discarded Electronics)

The branches may have been used for firewood, ax handles, or possibly spears. With the spears, he could then hunt animals, which in turn may have provided him with meat for food, oil for cooking, a pelt for clothing, and bones out of which more tools could be made.

When, as a modern human, we kill a computer, we simply discard it, leaving it to rot in spite of the fact that the components inside can still be used for countless other applications. Nor do we really know how the coltan is then assembled into a capacitor. Without fully understanding these complex beings that have been created to exist among us, of course we are hesitant to hack open our dead computer and use its guts to make new and better tools.

So, not seeing any potential further value to its parts, when something breaks, we throw it away, ending its life cycle. When we throw away a dead computer, we are not sending it off to some other planet, but rather we are sending it to some large hole in the ground a couple of miles away where it can stagnate in an environmentally unfriendly manner.

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Unlike poor Fluffy R. So if left with the choice of a having a big toxic hole in the ground of every city on the planet filled with computers or b converting these computers into clothing, furniture, planters, pet beds, or even just toys, I think the decision is quite simple. Our collective future is dependent upon repurposing old computers and other dead technologies to extend their life cycle and make the old new again. It is up to us to be good shepherds of the Earth through creative reuse. Perhaps, what I mean can be best illustrated with this simple story.

From this collection of old recordings I was able to deduce that, in a distant time and space, my parents were once human.

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  • 62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer?

This enabled me to better understand who my parents were as people and also learn a little about myself and where I came from. Fortunately, this particular technology continued to work long enough to be able to be passed on. With the lifespan of current audio technology being around 4 to 5 years, it makes me wonder what my children will have the chance to discover about me?

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Where will they discover my record collection? By repurposing it to make it uniquely my own, not only am I doing the Earth a favor, but I am reclaiming that dead MP3 player and imbuing it with a new meaning. It is no longer a poorly built consumer electronic device at the end of its brief life, but a unique and special handmade object that can be used and cherished for many years to come. Are you now psyched to get going ripping apart old computers but still mildly intimidated and unsure where to begin?

62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer: (And Other Discarded Electronics)

Start with Chapter 1, a massive crash course on the computer and electronics basics. Then dive headlong into the tools, techniques, and safety considerations you need to have and understand in order to make the various projects. From there, dig in. To help determine which project is right for you, each project starts with a listing of the main ingredient Tech Trash , a list of supplies and an overall level of difficulty rating. This rating combines a measure of skill level, the time you need to complete the project more involved projects get a higher rating , and safety considerations.

For instance, a project rated 1 is quick, easy, and fun for any beginner, whereas a project rated 5 is an expert project which will require lots of time, skill, and a higher level of safety precautions. To guide you along the way, Mr. Resistor Man offers up fun and useful facts relating to the project you are working on.

You should also pay close attention to the Safety First boxes which provide important safety considerations relating to the project at hand. Resistor Man pocket pal on page First, look to the right, and start by familiarizing yourself with the anatomy of a dead computer. Sometimes the farthest you have to go to find dead electronics is your own garage, attic, or storage closet. Just pick up the phone, call everyone you know and start asking if they have what you are looking for—and you might explain why you want it, too.

If it turns out that asking friends and family for their e-waste is a fruitless endeavor, look online yes, consult your live electronics to locate the dead ones. One great website to check out is Freecycle. Simply post a message to your local Freecycle list saying that you are looking for broken computers or NES systems, or.

The free section on Craigslist. A computer is any device that computes. The print edition of this book includes a diagram called The Anatomy of a Computer. Another option, for the more adventurous: walk or bicycle around your neighborhood on garbage day and see what people dump out on the curb especially on big item collection day. You will be amazed at the amount of electronics that get dumped next to the trash bins once you start paying attention. Also keep an eye out for garage and estate sales.

While buying things at these events may cost you a few dollars, it is still a cheap and reliable treasure trove of obsolete electronics. Ultimately, if you are dead set on getting your broken electronics for free, the last thing you can try is asking for handouts at your local recycling center. Some of these centers are more open to give people broken electronics than others, but I have had luck when I tell them that I am an artist and it was imperative that I get broken electronics in order to make my art. Everyone loves supporting the arts!

However they turn up, once you get the broken electronic item of your dreams, start to get to know it.

62 projects to make with a dead computer pdf

Respect its power even in its deadness and know your way around its circuitry. There is no way that I can teach you all, or even a fraction, of the electronics necessary to fully understand how a circuit functions.

62 Projects to Make with a Dead Computer And Other Discarded Electronics PDF

However, I can give you a crash course to help you start to formulate an idea of what is inside those dead computers of yours—and how you can use this new-found knowledge for good. A circuit is a complete path formed by various conductors and components through which electricity can pass.

To better grasp what this means, we need to understand the two types of electric current that we will encounter: AC alternating current and DC direct current.

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The difference between the two is that with DC power the electrons always flow in a constant direction from the source of power to ground. However, with AC power, the electrons are constantly and rapidly alternating direction through the circuit and at any given time can be traveling either way through the circuit. Current that comes out of a wall is AC power as AC is better suited for traveling long distances through a wire and current that comes out of a battery is DC.

Throughout the course of this book we will be dealing primarily with DC power, as most electronics mainly use this type of power. There are a few basic things we need to understand about DC electricity before we can start controlling its flow with various electronic components. The first rule we need to keep in mind is that electricity always follows the path of least resistance to ground. What this means is that a source of electricity is looking for the easiest way to discharge all of its power. Check the blog for behind the scenes info about how he made it all happen. Randy Sarafan is a new-media artist who is currently a Virtual Fellow with the cutting-edge F.

Free Art and Technology Lab; is a top project contributor and community manager at Instructables.

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School of Art, Media, and Technology. Written by: amt. Tags: bfa dt , Parsons. Congrats Randy! And keep us posted on all your upcoming projects.