Upcycling Computer Gadgets

Here on Hobbies on a Budget, I get to “meet” alot of crafters and hobbyist who are passionately pursuing their hobbies. Sometimes I find an idea that is just really off the wall and cool. This is one of those ideas. I’ve never thought about taking outdated, obsolete technology and turning it into art or new products. Who in ‘my world’ has an aquarium that used to be a computer monitor? Thanks to Jessy for sending this article to encourage me to always look for ways to repurpose, reuse and create out of just about anything – even electronics!

Upcycling Computer Gadgets

Practically anything can be uncycled. That isn’t some false boast, it is very true; almost any product or item can be turned into something else, or upgraded to be used in a better way. Even donation is technically an upcycle, as you are offering it to another for their own purposes, rather than what was originally intended at purchase.

If you want a good example of how literally anything can be thrown into an more eco-friendly light, check out these amazing examples of upcycled Apple products.

Repurposed Click Wheel

The iPod completely changed the way people used MP3’s, and the design of the original is considered one of the more iconic images of the digital age. Namely it is the wheel that has been praised for its unique, four button design. Which can be used for other purposes, if you so choose.

Jason Garr used one in one of his many hardware hack projects. In it, he attaches the wheel to an LCD screen to work as a controller. He has a video showing him going through the setup, and there are details on his WordPress blog.

Coffee Machine

Kiwidee is an awesome company that is dedicated to taking out of date Apple products and turning them into useful household appliances. Their signature piece is the iMac coffee machine, almost with a dock cup warmer that attaches to it. They also have an optional top dock, a multi-plug AC adapter and even a popcorn maker.

Basically, you send in your old products and they make it for you. They cost a bit, but they are really, really cool.

Wall Clock

This interesting clock was made out of a recycled Apple iBook G4 case. It features a working mechanism, and time is told by hand position rather than through any numbers around the surface. But the coolest part is probably the hanging, swinging mouse that is a modern take on the traditional pendulum.

It was sold, but they have a store full of cool, reused stuff you can check out. Here’s the huge collection of geeky computer clocks for your inspiration.


Here is another really awesome product idea: an iMac aquarium. These babies are made from the iMac case, which has been gutted and lit with a backlight. They then fill them with jewels or polished rocks, miniature plant life and seal it. Then, it is safe to add water and fish.

The pre-made ones are $299, so a pretty penny. But you can always make your own, as long as you are careful to clean it properly and seal it to hold in moisture. It could technically work with any CRT type monitor, including old television sets.

Apple iNecklace

Usually, recycled computer jewelry has a lot to be desired. But this actually manages to keep the sleek look of Apple designs itself, and is very attractive in its simplicity. It is also well made, unlike the flimsier home-crafted items you sometimes see on Etsy.

The store has all sorts of keyboard jewelry, and some of it is really great. Just as the power button stud earrings.

Just because it is out of date, doesn’t mean there is no function. These examples are inspiring, and should show you how creativity really will lead you to create amazing things if you take the time to think it through.

Jessy is a aspiring writer for Broadband Plan Finder.

About Sharon Williams

Sharon Williams is a mom of 3 who loves to read, travel, take pictures, work in the flowers and spend time with family. When she's not blogging, she's probably out enjoying life so she'll have something fun to blog about tomorrow!

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