Hot Hacks, Mods & Circuitry Posts

How To: Turn a flashlight into a laser

Kipkay demonstrates how to extract the laser from a DVD burner and mount it in a small flashlight to create a handheld laser burner that can light matches and burst balloons, all in this how-to video. All you need is a 16x DVD burner, a laser housing, and a flashlight. Watch this video tutorial and learn how to modify a flashlight into a relatively strong laser.

How To: Draw a part in CAD and cut it out with the CNC router

A CNC router machine is probably the most useful tool a hobbyist can own, but the price for a CNC machine on the market is way more than the average hobbyist is willing to spend. You can build your own CNC with very basic tools, little knowledge of machinery, mechanics, or electronics, but be warned, these machines are inherently dangerous, so wear the proper protection and use common sense. At the very least, read the instructions and precautions on every tool you use.

How To: Solder a wire onto a switch when building circuits

This is an instructional video featuring Doug Prime, founder of the Future Engineers Center at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Strip the wire and make sure the wire is tied on tightly before soldering. Don't drip balls of solder. Make sure the tip is clean. Then hold it on the joint to be soldered for 4 seconds. Then poke the solder on the surface and it will melt with the heat.

How To: Repair or Replace Your Broken Headphone Jacks

If you haven't met a person that's broken a pair of headphones, you might need to get out more. No matter how expensive or cheap a pair of headphones are, the sound can get buggy, the wire can get cut, or the headphone jack itself can be broken or ripped off the cord. But instead of buying a new set of headphones or borrowing the ones from your cousin with the earwax problem, you can easily fix it yourself.

How To: Make a rechargeable, solar-powered USB battery

An emergency battery charger for your mobile phone comes in handy, but it's not the ultimate solution; once it's dead it's useless (what a waste). If you want to really get off the metaphorical grid, you can follow the steps in this video to construct a more robust circuit that will not only bail you out of an inconvenient situation but also recharge in between uses. The simple addition of a low voltage solar panel and rechargeable batteries makes this possible. Enjoy!

How To: Make a Blu-Ray Laser Phaser

Build your very own Trek-style Blu-Ray laser phaser with this hacker's how-to video from Kip Kay of Make Magazine. To replicate this hack at home, you'll need the following materials: (1) a PS3 Blu-Ray laser assembly (which can be had on eBay for roughly $45), (2) an original series-style Star Trek phaser gun (a good quality replica of which can be found for roughly $30), (3) a 9-volt battery, (4) a 9-volt battery snap, (5) a 150 Ohm resistor, and (5) a new switch to replace the phaser trigge...

How To: Put Gameboy emulator (Gba) on your Blackberry Storm

Well your friend's won't stop dissing your BlackBerry Storm, and you need to show them it can actually play some games. This video shows how-to install the Gameboy emulator on your BlackBerry Storm so that you can play a whole host of cool video games. This method is pretty simple and requires your smart phone be connected to your PC, and that you go and get some software as described in the video. Give it a try and show them you ARE cool!

How To: Build the motor mount for a CNC router

A CNC router machine is probably the most useful tool a hobbyist can own, but the price for a CNC machine on the market is way more than the average hobbyist is willing to spend. You can build your own CNC with very basic tools, little knowledge of machinery, mechanics, or electronics, but be warned, these machines are inherently dangerous, so wear the proper protection and use common sense. At the very least, read the instructions and precautions on every tool you use.

How To: Increase the range of a USB Bluetooth adapter with a high performance antenna

Watch this amazing USB Bluetooth adapter hack from Kipkay. It's easy and effective, plus it will work with other wireless devices, too. Bluetooth works on a 2.4GHz short wavelength radio frequency, but it's only effective over short distances. Well, Kipkay's going to show you how to increase the range by swapping out the antenna in the bluetooth adapter with a HyperGain 2.4GHz high performance antenna.

How To: Run USB through the phone lines

Take a look at this instructional video and learn how to run a USB cable through existing phone cords. You'll need two phone jacks, a USB extender, and a phone cord. Although dual jacks are featured in this video tutorial, single jacks are preferred. The process is fairly simple, what you need to do is open up the jack and cut the USB extender in half. Strip to the multicolored wires and match up the the wires with the opened phone jack's, all except for the white wire which will go to the ye...

How To: Build Your Own Internet Radio Player, AKA Pandora's Box

Growing up, my family would get together in the living room every Saturday night and gather around my mom's old boombox radio and listen to Disco Saturday Night on 104.3 FM from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. (the show ended in 2008 after 14 years of consecutive shows). The old ladies in the picture below are the best representation of these nights that I could find. Now, the radio is all but dead (just like the old ladies above) in this world of music streaming services and torrenting. All of our music is...

How To: Get free electricity from a phone jack

Learn how to get free electricity from your home telephone line just by watching this video. Save money on your power bill, and hack into the electricity coming out of the phone jack. The phone company doesn't monitor electricity usage, so you can probably get away with this con. Check out this video tutorial and learn how to tap into the electrical energy source in your phone line.

How To: Turn Your Old NES into an All-In-One Retro Gaming Console

While the PlayStation and Xbox models may rule the current world of gaming, there are still those who love to keep it old school. The grittiness, toughness and nostalgia that is laced throughout old gaming consoles appeals to many people. Every time I play Donkey Kong 64 (with the expansion pack of course!), I revert back to the days of Sunday morning cartoons and only worrying about homework.

How To: Build a laser tripwire that can trigger anything out of a photoresistor

This video, incredibly short for it's massive content, will teach you how to make a laser tripwire that, combined with a photoresistor, can trigger just about any device. You can make traps, alarms, awesome party decorations, and all sorts of other awesome things with this easy-to-make device, provided you have a soldering iron and a local electronics store to buy some parts.