Brew Your Own Beer at Home

In the tough economic times we are currently facing, there are certainly some things that you really dont want to go without. I’d have to say that beer is definitely up there on the list! So how can you save some money while still enjoying some great cold beer (and not get stuck drinking Old Milluake like in college)? Brew your own beer at home!

The Simple Dollar blog takes you through the process of homebrewing your own beer and outlines the costs associated with doing so. The recipe he gives  makes about five gallons of righ, dark porter with about 2 hours of actual effort, even less if you choose not to bottle it.

This is a good way to save some money and once you get into it, might even turn into a hobby when you start experimenting with different recipies. You can find the guide over at The Simple Dollar.

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Cheap DIY DSLR Ring Flash

A ring flash around the barrel of your camera will provide you with great diffused light for shooting up close, the problem is, that they will cost you upwards of two or three hundred dollars! You can keep some money in your pocket and still get the same effects with this inexpensive DIY model.

A ring flash is perfect for macro photography because the light comes in from all sides of the lens and provides an even illumination of your subject. Because of the high price point, its not something that the casual  photography will find in their bag too often.

A new website Fring – short for Fiber Optic Ring, has a detailed tutorial that shows you how to build your own with about $5 worth of parts from your local dollar store and use them to channel your on-camera flash’s light into the rim of your lens. If you’re interested in experimenting with macro photography, this is a great way to gry out a ring flash without hurting the wallet. Check out the guide here.

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Salvage Parts From a Computer Mouse

Salvaging electronic parts is a must for any serious DIY’er. Not only to you save on costs to purchase parts new, but you are helping the environment and increasing your changes that when you want to start a project, you already have the parts that you need to complete it. No more waiting for the mail, or driving to the store!

Hack-a-day ripped apart an old school mouse to see what kind of useful stuff they could get out of it and found some great components. They found several buttons and sensors, including rotary encoders which can be used for measuring movements in robotics projects.

The guide details how to take apart the mouse, identify any potentially useful parts, and explains what they could be used for.  It’s pretty interesting to see all of the good stuff you can pull out of there. Go take a look and hopefully it will inspire you not to throw that old ugly mouse out, and instead start working on a cool project with it.

Click here to see the guide.

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How To Build Your First Robot – The BeetleBot v2

The BeetleBot is a small simple robot that is a great project for getting started in robotics. It uses no electronics component to avoid obsticals, instead it uses two SPDT switches to avoid objects by reversing the opposite motor to free itself.

The parts list is pretty simple which will allow you to build this without spending too much money.

Take a look at for a very detailed guide.

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Build Your Own iPod Boombox

If you’re looking for an easy and portable way to listen to your ipod somewhere without headphones, we’ve found a solution for you. The materials for this are pretty cheap, and you can build it pretty quickly. All you need are some small computer speakers that either run on batteries, or dont require a wall outlet, some styrofoam and a cheap tupperwear container.

Cut out the holes for the speakers and ipod controls in the tupperwear and fit everything in there snug with the styrofoam and you’re all set! It may not be the most elegant thing, but it gets the job done without hurting your wallet. It’s also going to be a great conversation piece at a picnic or the beach!

For more details head over to Instructables website.

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Build A Clock Using Analog Meters

I found an interesting blog post about how someone built a clock using three analog meters to show the time, one for hours, one for minutes, and one for seconds. He designs the circuit and uses a PIC microcontroller to control the clock. Although the code isn’t posted, it’s a great article and a really unique idea.

Head over to Chrass Landing to see what Chris was up to.

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How To Build Retractable Headphones

This is another one from the DIY site that shows how you can turn your favorite pair of headphones into a compact retractable pair. All you need is your choice pair of headphones and a retractable cable such as the USB cables that you can buy.

Yes you can go out and buy a pair of retractable headphones, but what if you have a favorite pair that is really comfortable? And besides, isn’t it usually more fun to do it yourself?! So if you’re if you’ve had enough of tangled headphone cables, you can find your guide to a pair of DIY Retractable Headphones here.

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Build Your Own DIY Air Conditioner

Summer is definitely here, and I dont see it geting any cooler until it gets a little warmer still. So if its money, logistics, or whatever might be keeping you from that comfortable air conditioned climate, this project might be a nice investment for you.

We have two levels of DIY Air Conditioners, depending on how big of a project you want to make this. The first one is ood for cooling your shed, garage or school dorm room, as it is pretty low tech. The $30 Air conditioner uses a tall bucket to circulate ice water through the back of a fan, which blows out the cold air. The upgrade to this one, uses a pump to keep recirculating the water, which allows you to use a smaller, less messy cold water source and integrates the fan and bucket quite nicely.

And if it’s just too hot out to work on building something, you can always just stick a nice bowl of ice water behind a fan to get a nice cool breeze!

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How To Make an RGB Combination Door Lock

Adding a custom built electronic lock somewhere in your living quarters can be viewed as a geek’s right of passage. The team over at Hack A Day decided to take this one step further and ditch the boring number keypad and replace it with a custom RGB backlit keypad.

Instead of typing numbers in to unlock the door, you use a unique set of colours as your combination. The guide includes step by step instructions with pictures for building the lock, as well as a full parts list and code to make it work.

You can find the Hack A Day guide here. Or part 2 of the guide where they go from prototype to fully functional dor lock.

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How To Upgrade Your TiVo Hard Drive For More Space

TiVoNo matter what version of the TiVo you may have, if you’re a true TV lover, you are probably constantly being reminded of your storage limits for recorded shows. If this sounds familiar, you might want to think about upgrading the storage capacity for your TiVo. The full process may not be for someone looking for a quick solution as it requires a few special tools and some work with a Linux live CD environment, but if you’re really serious about increasing the space on your TiVO then this might just be for you. Unfortunately the guide doesn’t include any photos but it is very detailed and beginner-friendly.

You can find all the details at NewReleaseVideo’s site. If you upgrade using this guide, or have done so in the past, leave a comment and let us know how it went!

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