You've got an old computer, your're crafty, and you spent way too much time watching "Transformers" as a kid.
October 22, 2012 4:14 PM   Subscribe

Suppose you’ve got an old computer around, just taking up space, and your initial attempts at finding alternate uses for it have not been successful. But you know perfectly well that, according to this super scientific pie graph, there must be better recycling ideas out there on the net. Let’s have a look at some of them, shall we?

If you think your parents' basement cool loft apartment could do with some geeking up, you could make a toothbrush holder for the bathroom, or a coffeemaker, beer keg, bread box, pop vending machine, or sausage slicer for the kitchen. Maybe the living room could use a new coffee table, or a new DVR, or a clock or two. You might make a journal or document folders for your home office. If your home office is more old school than cool, you might like to make a steampunk keyboard. Perhaps you’d like a fire pit for the backyard, or a mailbox for the front of the house. You could use your old tower to grow wheat grass, seedlings, or a micro-herb garden. Your pets might like to get into the geek act with a new cat bed or hamster cage. If you work in a lab, you might like a magnetic stirrer to keep cells agitated, or simply a new way to decide who makes the coffee today.

If you like to express your geekitude sartorially, you can use those old computer parts to make some accessories. You can make an earring holder, cufflinks, a wrist cuff, necklace, a ring or four, a wallet, clutch, or handbag.

At the less practical, more decorative end of the computer craft spectrum, you could make Mac-O-Lanterns for Halloween, a robot, your own Wall-E doll, a horse, an owl, Nike shoes, a cityscape, or other sculptures. For artistic inspiration, check out Sandy Smith’s Mauritania Sunset installation, Alex Andromeda’s sculptures, or the sandals, toilet and many other things Steven Rodig is making over at PCB Creations. More ideas for computer recycling can be found here.
posted by orange swan (19 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
use it to start a campfire.
posted by boo_radley at 4:22 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

nice post, orange swan!
posted by Zed at 4:22 PM on October 22, 2012

Did anyone yell FREE GEEK yet?

...because, FREE GEEK! :)
posted by trackofalljades at 4:25 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

I'm the least steampunk person you've ever met, but that keyboard is totally badass. I switched from a 1935 Royal manual typrewriter to a Mac Centris in about 1993, and I sure miss hammering those round keys home.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:29 PM on October 22, 2012 [3 favorites]

Coffee maker and beer keg go to the same link...

And I needed that beer keg.
posted by deezil at 4:42 PM on October 22, 2012

Sorry, deezil, here's the beer keg link.
posted by orange swan at 4:46 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

Shameless plug for a friend's (relevant) book, and a link to a sample project.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:47 PM on October 22, 2012

Oh evidence of absence, I did come across that book while researching this post, and meant to include it, but I forgot. Thanks for posting about it.
posted by orange swan at 4:48 PM on October 22, 2012

why does the lady have spaghetti on her head
posted by XMLicious at 4:58 PM on October 22, 2012

Don't use a stir bar with your cells - you'll lyse them! Make a bottle roller out of an old windshield wiper motor instead!
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 5:05 PM on October 22, 2012

It's interesting how things have changed in the past ten years with the proliferation of embedded systems. It used to be that an old computer could most certainly find new life as a file server, print server, or internet gateway. Now we have external hard drives and printers with on-board ethernet and functional consumer grade routers and wireless access points that are much cheaper to maintain, consume less power, and take up less space than a general purpose PC.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:41 PM on October 22, 2012

The "cityscape" links reminded me of this Classic Björk Moment.
posted by Sys Rq at 7:52 PM on October 22, 2012

Taking the guts out of a CRT can be dangerous.
posted by snuffleupagus at 8:06 PM on October 22, 2012 [2 favorites]

And here I thought I was clever for turning the ancient MacBook into a jukebox, in combination with my parents' badass receiver from 1977. Mr. Genie made the old desktop into an NES emulator, which was way cooler, but gets less use. Why yes, we do own too many computers.
posted by vortex genie 2 at 8:53 PM on October 22, 2012

You knew I had just stacked up boxes and boxes of old computer equipment and planned to take it all SOMEWHERE later this week, because my house is not large enough to contain a computer history museum ... you knew that, and you made this post to make me second guess my willingness to toss it all in someone else's direction (and out of my house).

I love you. I hate you. I love you!
posted by Orb at 9:10 PM on October 22, 2012 [1 favorite]

I came in here to be sad that I threw away my old AT&T Unix PC.
posted by bleary at 9:22 PM on October 22, 2012

I've got 10-12 partially gutted G4 towers that I can't seem to part with. One day I hope to have the inspiration to make something cool. Until then they will continue to pose as a faux supercomputer array in my spare room. I don't know what I'm doing with all those old iMacs though (except my cat loves gazing at himself in the monitors.)
posted by a humble nudibranch at 12:10 AM on October 23, 2012

I'd be happy with figuring out how I can build a bog-standard PC into my derelict G4 case. The PSU form factor is the major issue.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:34 AM on October 23, 2012

I can't make it into something - that would be like having my old dog mounted by a taxidermist and using him as footrest.

It was bad enough being forced by Mrs Segundus to take the hard disk out of my last PC - alright, the last one I got rid of - and destroy it. It was like stamping on a child's heart. All the bad times, all the frustrations, they were forgotten. Those times I nearly threw it out the window, all the times I pulled my hair out - they meant nothing any more. There were tears running down my cheeks, seriously.
posted by Segundus at 7:08 AM on October 23, 2012

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