Kevin Gardner
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Getting the Most Out of What You Have on Hand with DIY

How-to tips for the tech world

DIY has been a big trend for a while now. And there's a good reason why it's growing in popularity. The more people try their hand at it, the more skill they develop, and the more skill they develop, the more they're able to show it off to friends and family. However, some DIY projects are more popular than others, and some will save you more money. We'll examine some of the more popular projects and what materials you'll want to have on hand for them. And in the process, it's almost certain that you'll find a bit of extra inspiration. 

Single board computers

Do it yourself computers have changed a lot over the years. In the 1970s, they were just about the only type of personal computer on the market. The mid to late 80s brought about the rise of microcomputers. The kits were more popular in Europe than anywhere else. But they still had some popularity almost everywhere on earth. In the late 90s, people started putting together desktop computers for fun. But today, people are working on do-it-yourself projects involving single board computers. This allows people a chance to put together a computer of their own fairly easily. Some of the boards are so complete that they really only require an SD card with an operating system to get basic functionality going. From there, it's a matter of learning as one works with it. 

Bringing fiction to life with cosplay

Speculative fiction is big news these days. It includes horror, fantasy, sci-fi and a variety of other genres. But one interesting point it also contains is cosplay. This involves creating a costume based on characters from various stories. One of the more entertaining aspects of cosplay is how easy it is to find inspiration. For example, consider a situation where you have some fleece fabric. That's enough to get a start on a costume. And from there, you can simply buy more and different colors of fleece to further compliment what you've already put together. It's basically just a matter of matching up what you have on hand to familiar characters out of fiction.

Solar power for your electronics

Solar power tends to conjure up intimidating images of huge panels on your roof. But this really just involves any conversion of light into energy. Solar panels have become more efficient in the past decade. And this makes solar conversions easier than you might imagine.

Basically, just look around for areas that get a huge amount of sunlight on a regular basis. If you have a window that the sun hits bright and early than you've found the perfect spot. From there, you'll just need some portable solar panels. These are often sold as camping gear. But just because it's intended for the great outdoors, doesn't mean that it won't work just as well in a window. You'll start by simply hanging up the portable solar panel on your window. Many people find that just attaching a little velcro to the panel and then to a spot above the window makes for a secure connection. Next, find a battery that can charge devices while also receiving a charge of its own. From there you just need to hook a standard USB connection between the solar panel and the battery. And you can now charge any USB powered device from the battery, at least once it has a charge built up over time. The point of the battery is twofold. It stores excess solar energy that you're not using and it regulates the output so that a stray cloud doesn't stress your portable device. Portable USB batteries stand up to that type of intermittent charging better than most phones or tablets.

It's all about creativity

It's important to keep in mind that this is only the start. The more you look at do it yourself projects the more you'll learn. And the more you learn the more capable you'll become.

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