Upcycling A Flat Bed Scanner

[Piffpaffpoltrie] had a 20-year-old Acer flatbed scanner that they just couldn’t justify keeping. But it does seem a shame to throw away a working piece of gear. Instead, the old scanner became a light table. We’ll admit, as projects go, it isn’t the most technically sophisticated thing we’ve ever seen, but we do think it is a worthy way to upcycle something that would otherwise be filling up a landfill.

The scanner was old enough to have a CCFL light source inside. However, it was too small, so it came out along with many other components that may yet find use in another project. If you didn’t know , scanners are good sources for small stepper motors, straight rods, and first-surface mirrors.

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Beautiful lamp made from recycled can

Another Way To Recycle Those Empty Beverage Cans

Do you ever sit around thinking of ways to repurpose things in your house? Well [BevCanTech] found a way to recycle some of his empty beverage cans by turning them into homemade wire.

Beautiful, decorative, and functional lamp made from soda can. Also showing the positive and negative voltage terminals.

The premise is simple. He cut 2 mm thick strips of wire from the beverage can along its circumference, creating a thin, long “wire” spool. He sanded the ends of each strip to crimp pieces of his homemade wire together. He found he could get about four meters from a standard-sized beverage can, probably roughly 12 oz, as he unraveled the can. He then used crimp connectors to connect his homemade wires to the battery terminals and also to the end of a flashlight. He used a red cap from another can as a pseudo light diffuser and lampshade, creating a pretty cool, almost lava lamp-like glow.

Maybe the meat of this project won’t be as filling as your Thanksgiving meal, but hopefully, it can serve as a bit of inspiration for your next freeform circuit design. Though you’ll probably want to smooth those sharp edges along your homemade wire.

Power Supply Uses Thin Form Factor

We’ve seen lots of power supply projects that start with an ATX PC power supply. Why not? They are cheap and readily available. Generally, they perform well and have a good deal of possible output. [Maco2229’s] design, though, looks a lot different. First, it is in a handsome 3D-printed enclosure. But besides that, it uses a TFX power supply — the kind of supply made for very small PCs as you’d find in a point of sale terminal or a set-top box.

Like normal PC supplies, these are inexpensive and plentiful. Unlike a regular supply, though, they are long and skinny. A typical supply will be about 85x65x175mm, although the depth (175mm) will often be a little shorter. Compare this to a standard ATX supply at  150x86x140mm, although many are shorter in depth. Volume-wise, that’s nearly 967 cubic centimeters versus over 1,800. That allows the project to be more compact than a similar one based on ATX.

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Satellite Ground Station Upcycles Trash

While the term “upcycle” is relatively recent, we feel like [saveitforparts] has been doing it for a long time. He’d previously built gear to pick up low-Earth orbit satellites, but now wants to pick up geosynchronous birds which requires a better antenna. While his setup won’t win a beauty contest, it does seem to work, and saved some trash from a landfill, too. (Video, embedded below.)

Small dishes are cheap on the surplus market. A can makes a nice feedhorn using a classic cantenna design, although that required aluminum tape since the only can in the trash was a cardboard oatmeal carton. The tape came in handy when the dish turned out to be about 25% too small, as well.

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How To Keep Your Head Warm With A Skirt

We’re not sure what we like better about this upcycled trapper hat — that [ellygibson] made it as a tribute to Holden Caulfield, the anti-hero of the classic teen angst novel The Catcher in the Rye, or the fact that she made it out of a skirt that cost a dollar from the thrift store. Oddly enough, one dollar is exactly what Holden paid for his hat in the book.

To make this hat, [elly] started by measuring the circumference of her head, then used math to figure out the radius of the circle for the top part. She made a prototype first to get the fit right, then cut the pieces from the skirt and the lining pieces from black flannel. We love that [elly] used the tiny pocket from the skirt in one of the ear flaps, because it will surely come in handy one day.

[elly] doesn’t provide pattern pieces, but that’s okay — between the explanation of how she arrived at the hat band circumference and the step-by-step instructions, it should be easy to make one of these for yourself from whatever fabric you’ve got.

Before you go cutting up an old coat, consider whether it could be fixed. Remember when [Ted Yapo] fixed the zipper box on his son’s winter coat by printing a replacement? Or how about the time [Gerrit Coetzee] cast his own pea coat buttons?

Upcycled Dryer Motor Makes Budget Disk Sander

At the most basic level, most shop tools are just a motor with the right attachments. But the details are often far from simple. [DuctTapeMechanic] took a junker clothes dryer, yanked the electric motor from it, and converted it into a disk sander. The price was right at about $10. You can see it all after the break.

As you might imagine, having the motor is only half the battle. You also need a way to mount the thing securely and a way to affix the sanding disk. While this doesn’t pose the same challenges as, say, a drill press, it does take some thought. The motor in the donor dryer didn’t have threads on the shaft, so a bolt and some welding time took care of that. We suspect that’s tricky because you need the shaft and the bolt to be concentric and level.

Once you have a threaded shaft, the rest of the build is anti-climatic. A little carpentry and a little electrical. We would probably cover up the electrical connections a bit more. It seems like you’d want to know which way the motor spins so you could use a reverse thread, if necessary. From the video, we think the motor he has was spinning the right way, but we don’t know if that’s always true.

There’s something satisfying about building your own tools. If you work on smaller things, we’ve seen a miniature sander that might be handy to have around. If you want to go the other way, try finding an old floor polisher instead of a dryer.

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BEAM Dragonfly Causes A Flap

Normal people throw away stuff when it breaks. But not people like us. Or, apparently, [NanoRobotGeek]. A cheap robotic dragonfly died, and he cannibalized it for robot parts. But he kept the gearbox hoping to build a new dragonfly and, using some brass rod, he did just that.

The dragonfly’s circuitry uses a solar panel for power and a couple of flashing LEDs. This is a BEAM robot, so not a microcontroller in sight. You can see a brief video of how the dragonfly moves.

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