You don’t have to be a coder to be a DIY kind of guy. You can even use something as simple as Java or Swift to get your projects up and running. But sometimes, things don’t go as planned no matter how many times you debug. Those are the times when the Swift hits the fan and the project comes to a grinding halt. That is when you hear the voice of Luke Skywalker pushing you to stop running around in circles and just use the force. You roll up your sleeves and that is when the magic begins.
Electronic tinkering is for people of all skill levels. Here are a few projects that reflect different skill levels:
- As a Youngling, you can build your own Bluetooth speaker. - simple concepts, accessible supplies, low time commitment
- Once you advance to Padawan, you will be ready to build your own gaming PC. - medium concepts, not very accessible supplies, moderate time commitment
- As a Jedi Master, you will be ready for bio-preservation experiments, challenging concepts, challenging supplies, long-term commitment
Let’s start with the highest level and work backward from there.
Jedi Level: Bio-Preservation
If you are into bio-preservation, you are going to need one of those nitrogen freezers. These are a few of the uses for this kind of equipment:
This method of freezing is referred to as cryopreservation and applies to a range of fields that include cryosurgery, food sciences, ecology, plant physiology, biochemistry, molecular biology, and cryopreservation of cells and organs. There are also many medical applications such as blood transfusions, bone marrow transplantation, artificial insemination, and in vitro fertilization.
As you can see, this is serious equipment for serious, scientific work. Most people would not own a nitrogen freezer. They would use the one at the lab where they work. It is not the stuff of casual tinkerers. Just know that you can rent or lease this equipment to eliminate the upfront cost.
A very interesting use for nitrogen freezers is gastro-tech experimentation. If you are into food science, you can do a lot of interesting things with a flash freezer. This is one piece of tech that determines the skill level of the project. Any project you do that utilizes a nitrogen freezer is a master-level project.
Padawan-Level Building a Worthy Gaming PC
The GPU shortage is bursting the dreams of DIY gamers worldwide. You will need more than the requisite $699 if you want to get your hands on the RTX 3080 Founders' Edition. Orders for these cards are being manually examined to limit scalpers and their ability to ruin it for everyone. A few lucky builders are starting to get their hands on these cards that are more valuable than gold-pressed latinum. The real challenge is seldom scoring the CPU. The GPU is always the key. Never settle.
It is relatively easy to slap some parts together and run Lenox on the cheap. Gaming PC’s are far more demanding. The power curve and thermals are not to be taken lightly. You can seriously blow yourself up if you don’t know what you’re doing. There is a fairly substantial cost and a difficult path to getting the perfect parts. But it is so worth it when it all comes together.
Beginner-Level Bluetooth Speakers
This is a fun project for just about anyone and it actually solves a problem. One of the worst things about Apple’s HomePod is that it is completely dependent on WiFi and services. You cannot connect anything to them via a cable. And you cannot use Bluetooth. Even if you could, they would be too expensive for casual needs. You don’t have to spend a fortune on bluetooth speakers if you are willing to put in a little elbow grease and build a bluetooth speaker yourself. It is easier than you might imagine.
Speakers are not overly complicated. They are mechanical objects for the most part. Sure, big companies are using a lot of software and additional hardware to produce computational audio. But as a music purist, you don’t want your audio computed. You just want it played by a not so smart speaker that reproduces the input as faithfully as possible. At the end of the day, you need a good driver and a good cabinet for pushing sound waves and air. Don’t get overly caught up in the rest. Get a good DAC and you will be most of the way there.
Nitrogen freezers, bluetooth DACs and GPUs are just some of the equipment necessary to build the world of tomorrow. But they are all useless without your ability and willingness to dare the impossible today.