Whether you’re looking for a new hobby or want to level up on your tinkering knowledge, we’ve got the tips and tricks for you! The satisfaction of creating something with your own two hands far outweighs the instant gratification of buying your tech from a big box retailer. Get ready to nerd out with your DiY Guru, Grant!
Why should I do a DiY project instead of buying the end product?
This is an easy question. DiY projects have many benefits that are worth more than the instant gratification of buying something. Sure, you’re probably thinking, “I would spend less money just buying something, and I don’t have the time to do it anyways.” Truth is, you’re probably right. Parts and tools are expensive…initially. But in the grand scheme of things, you won’t have to buy all of the tools and parts EVERY time. If you’re not a project person or someone who likes to tinker, it’s okay. However, reading this may make you want to give it a shot!
What are the benefits of doing it yourself?
There are several! We’ll start off simple, a DiY project is a great (and productive) way to spend free time! In that time, you will most likely learn something new and put it into practice. The feeling you get from creating something yourself is awesome. It’s a mix of personal achievement, pride, and a “cool” factor knowing you now have the skill to do this. Another benefit is that it is a great bonding experience! Whether it’s passing tools back and forth, going to the store for parts together, or just hashing out the project side by side, there is always room for another with DiY (plus…we all need help every now and then).
Okay…so what are some DiY tech projects?
There are more than you can count! Some DiY projects are a quick and fun way to spend your afternoon with LEDs and circuits, and some are a great way to upgrade your house over time like smart home automation and security! I am going to post a few links of projects I have seen in person to show you what I mean.
The Adalight project is a simple way to add ambient lighting to a TV/Monitor. This project provides all the technical things you need to know but requires you to buy the parts (they supply the lights/power cables in their store). They do require the user to supply/buy an Arduino microcontroller and a USB cable third party though. Once you have the parts, all of the code (along with the software to run it) is available for free on their site. There are tons of lighting projects with Arduinos and LEDs. This project is a great first step toward exploring how easy tech DiY projects can be!
The smart mirror is one of the cooler projects I’ve seen that doesn’t require a lot of technical know-how. The parts needed are fairly cheap (even more so if you can find an old flat screen monitor to use). The software is free to install on the Raspberry Pi, and the guides to set it up are numerous and relatively easy to follow. This is a really cool way to possibly recycle some old tech and create something that could easily show up on the market in the coming years.
Home automation is seriously fun. However, this fun comes at a price. The equipment available on the market can get very expensive, very quickly. However, the return on investment comes back tenfold. With a home automation project, you can accomplish several feats. Imagine being able to control lights/temperature/locks/cameras with just your voice. Most smart objects allow you to schedule tasks – so at sunset, your outdoor lights turn on, and at bedtime, they turn off! When you are getting close to home on your commute, your thermostat can adjust to a more comfortable temperature to prepare for your arrival. And even if you forget to set the alarm because you are in a hurry, your phone can handle all of these tasks with ease. With smart home connectivity and automation, you can let your housework for you!
There are plenty of ways to secure your home, and I imagine this is one topic people probably wouldn’t mind spending money on. However, there are alternatives to getting a professional to come install your security system. Companies exist that provide monitoring for your home, but the installation is DiY. This allows the upfront cost of securing your home to be much cheaper, but the monitoring is more expensive. It balances out in the long run, but if you like to tinker this might be a good (and safe) first step!
Okay, I did some projects…now what?
Now that you’ve done some projects, you have some parts left over right? Well then get back to tinkering! Projects can be as simple or as complex as you’d like. The point of doing them is to enjoy the process, and come out with a product you are proud of! There were only four examples listed in this article, but believe me, there are TONS of projects out there, for all skill levels! Adafruit and Reddit are two places I often look at for help with new tech projects, and both have active communities. So go ahead and dive in! You might just find a new hobby! And, no matter where you go, or what you do, enjoy doing it…and happy tinkering!