Build Your Own Portable 8-Bit Nintendo Entertainment System

Portable NESSure, the Nintendo DS is great. But let’s face it, few things beat the satisfaction of sliding one of those big old cartridges into place. Using the “NES on a Chip,” (which can be found inside many grey-market Famicim clones) Ben Heck has put together a truly amazing portable NES. The finished product is only slightly larger than the cartridge itself, which slides neatly into the back side. There’s even a slide-out battery pack and what looks to be about a 5″ screen. Though not a complete “project plan,” Ben does detail his build process step-by-step with lots of photos. If you don’t want to try and replicate his design, Ben will even build one for you…for a price, of course. (via Kotaku)

How to Make Your Own Playdough (or is it “Pla-Doh?”)

playdough.jpgGot a hankering to get your old Playdough (or “Pla-Doh,” for the purists among us) out and make an animated monkey stop motion movie? Well, who doesn’t? The problem with the original Playdough was that it was kinda stinky (and, as some of us know, didn’t taste all that great either. If you want to make your own Playdough, in any color you can imagine, and fragranced any way you’d like, Instructables once again comes to the rescue. As it turns out, Playdough is really just flour and oil…which may be what makes it so delicious.

“Hacking” Your Local Best Buy Store Codes

Best Buy NumbersEver notice the big weird yellow numbers on the wall when you walk into a Best Buy, one of the most nightmarish of electronics retailers? Cabel did, and he didn’t rest until he deciphered them. It turns out these coded numbers are for store employees, and what’s better than the secret communication that goes on for chain store workers? Ever crane your neck over the counter and see the instructional posters at McDonald’s teaching employees the proper way to place pickles on a Big Mac? The numbers at Best Buy are similar. Through extensive research, Cabel deciphers what each number means, including current “shrink” percentage, number of extended warranties that have been forced down customers’ throats, and much more. Definitely interesting reading for chain-store hackers, with an unhealthy interest in how those poor blue-shirted bastards are living.

Build Your Own Super Energy-Efficient Outdoor Refrigerator

outdoorfridge.jpgFor those of you living in the Northeast, or, for that matter, anywhere it gets blindingly cold, you may have wondered why you are spending perfectly good money running your refrigerator when it is so chilly outside. Surely, there has to be a way to harness the power of Papa Winter in order to keep your yogurt and milk cold. When I was in college, I used to simply keep my dairy (okay, beer) items on the outside windowsill during the winter months, but there is bound to be a more elegant solution.

And there is! The always-excellent The Daily Green posts detailed instructions for cutting your energy costs and keeping your food fresh, all at the same time.  The idea is simple enough; build a simple box out of wood, insulate it, mount it outside during the winter months, and (if you’re really fancy), install a thermostat which will kick a small fan on and off to suck the cold winter air in when the temperature inside the box rises. This project requires only basic carpentry and wiring skills, and will go a long way toward breaking you free from the shackles of your refrigerator.

Build Your Own Leaf Blower Hoverboard

HoverboardOh, man, I have been dreaming of a hoverboard ever since I saw A.P.K. zipping around on one in Back to the Future II. But as far as I can tell, not only do hoverboards not work on water, unless you have power, but they don’t exist, period. Until now. Viewers in the UK are lucky to have “The Gadget Show,” where the recent featured project was a working hoverboard, made out of a leaf blower engine, a sheet of plywood, and some heavy duty plastic sheeting. This thing really works, as seen on the photos on their site…and what’s more, there is a full, free project plan complete with materials list and assembly instuctions. In a weekend, you too can be zooming around on a cushion of air, for £150 (that’s close to $300 bucks for those of us on this side of the pond). Great scott…this is heavy.

25 Skills Every Man Should Know

manskills.jpgPopular Mechanics has narrowed the list of man-knowledge down to 25 entries in this indispensable guide. And guess what? There’s no mention whatsoever of which men’s fragrances will match your chi, which color ties will ensure success in the boardroom, or what your girlfriend’s body language says about her sexual proclivities. Nope…this is real knowledge every man should have, including, “How to Frame a Wall,” “How to Build a Campfire,” and, “How to Fillet a Fish.” File this information away…your future son will thank you one day.

Build Your Own Television Pixelator

Groovetube LiteLooking for a way to recreate the joy of trying to watch scrambled Spice Channel when you were 12 years old, only with more overt nightclub overtones? When we first saw the GrooveTube back in December, it was love at first sight. This translucent box suction cups to the front of your television screen, and diffuses light from the TV, resulting in a disco abstraction of colored blocks. But at $45, this neat trick seemed a TINY bit too pricey for something we would only use once in a while.

ReadyMade magazine came to the rescue yet again with their low cost budget version, that creates a similar effect. By cutting the bottom out of a carboard box the size of the television, covering the hole with heavy duty vellum, and then filling the box with white-centered toilet paper tubes, they have acheived a similarly striking effect for almost zero cost. Check out the project details here, at the bottom of the page.

Build Your Own Coffee Can Cell Phone Booster

cellboost1.jpgJust hang in there, and get past the lame 43 second introduction of this cast of wacky science characters (why does Popular Science, a fairly respectable brand, feel the need to do stuff like this?), and you’ll see a great video on how to build your own low-cost, easy cell phone reception booster using just two old coffee cans and your bare wits. Just solder the two cans together, attach an aftermarket antenna, and plug into your phone for a fast, cheap boost in signal reception. Now, you don’t mind talking on your cell phone while waving around two giant, soldered-together coffee cans, do you?

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“Hacking” the New Breed of Soda Vending Machines

Soda MachineMost modern soda machines, like the Coca-Cola machine shown at left, with the curvy faceplate, have tiny computers inside them controlling their every function. And as we know, any appliance with a computer in it can be manipulated. Just look for soda machines that have a tiny red LCD on them, displaying messages like, “Enjoy some soda please.” This is your tipoff that they are programmable, usually through a series of presses on the selection buttons. Skatter Tech has a great tutorial on accessing the machine’s menu, checking inventory, money collected, and internal case temperature. And, if the owner/operator of the machine is a little naive, even more:

“But if they happen to be enabled here they are: CPO- Coin payment mode, which will dump coins out of the machine. You will be able to specify the type (dime, nickel, ect.) and the amount. tvFL- tube fill mode, which lets you fill the machine w/ coins. (retarded huh) PASS- allows you to change the default password from 4231 to something else. PrlC- change the price of a drink! (1 cent!) StOS change what each button links to (so if some1 presses coke you can make it go 2 sprite.) COn- are machine configuration settings too much to tell just experiment. TIME- Set TIME. LANG- change language.”

Check it out, and learn to unlock the fury of the local vending machine.

Build Your Own Portable Skype Phone Handset

skypephone.jpgDo you have an old cordless phone (preferably one with an intercom) kicking around that you’re no longer using? Instructables makes it easy to transform that old-school phone into a slick portable Skype handset. In this build log, Sam details how to crack the phone apart, find the sound output on the board, solder on headphones, and presto…free-roaming Skype goodness. Enjoy.