If you are like most people who enjoy computers and technology, you have gradually gathered a collection of computers and electronics that don't quite work well enough to be used for their original use, but may not be broken enough that you feel good about disposing of them. Also, at least for me, small broken items like keyboards, mice and small electronics don't seem worth a trip to the electronics disposal center in their own right so they build up gathering dust until something larger breaks. Randy Sarafan has come to our rescue with directions and ideas to recycle these items ourselves, turning e-waste into useful household items and personal accessories with 62 Projects To Make With A Dead Computer (and Other Discarded Electronics): The Eco-Friendly Guide for Today's Techno-Crafter.
The projects in 62 Projects to Make With A Dead Computer range from those using traditional craft skills (ear muffs and earrings) to construction skills (scanner side table) to electronics projects (hard drive speaker) as well as combinations of all three. If you don't know how to sew or solder, don't worry, the first chapter covers instructions in all of the techniques as well as necessary safety precautions. In fact, the book is well worth the purchase price ($14.95 US suggested retail), just for this information. I consider myself fairly comfortable with all three domains and I got quite a bit from it. The projects range from the purely practical (a worm composting bin – which is on my project shortlist) to whimsical (music monster – a fuzzy cd player) to luxurious (projection television.)
62 Projects To Make With A Dead Computer (and Other Discarded Electronics) could also be used as a coffee table (or scanner side table) book. I purchased this book when I was visiting my brother and his wife and we had fun just looking through it and looking at the projects. One feature I particularly liked was Mr. Resistor. Mr. Resistor is one of the more artistic projects, a man (or woman or dog or whatever your imagination desires) created by bending and soldering resistors and other small components together. However, Mr. Resistor also appears through out the book with speech balloons featuring various bits of trivia about electronics, computing and e-waste. A number of projects are both humorous and practical, such as converting a broken iPod into a first aid kit (the Don't Die Pod), which adds to the entertainment value. However, unlike many of the project books that double as coffee table books, these projects are all accessible and within reach of the average person.
Finally, 62 Projects To Make With A Dead Computer (and Other Discarded Electronics) is also a highly practical guide to building useful and often expensive items like worm bins, computer cell phone chargers, Infrared cameras, digital photo frames, light pads and projectors out of items that would otherwise go to waste.
I am really enjoying 62 Projects To Make With A Dead Computer (and Other Discarded Electronics) and expect that it will be well used in my home. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to find new uses for their old electronics.
Randy Sarafan. 62 Projects To Make With A Dead Computer (and Other Discarded Electronics): The Eco-Friendly Guide for Today's Techno-Crafter. (New York: Workman, 2009.)
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