So, your old computer is at the end of its rope. One or more parts are broken. It’s outdated. It called your cousin Marie a terrible name and it’s no longer allowed around the house. For one reason or another, the computer is no longer going to function as a… you know, computer.
However, that doesn’t mean you have to go through the arduous electronics recycling process, nor does it mean you have to toss your beloved/loathed system in the trash. Here are five creative ways you can “upcycle” your system – reincarnating it to a better, or at least a very different, life.
Option One: A “Vintage” Gaming System
If the system still works at all, you may want to consider turning it into a “niche system.” While that “niche” could be anything from working as an email or site server to functioning as a child’s computer, our favorite is actually old-school gaming (yes, we chose it over saving lives; at least we’re honest).
Install a distro of Linux and download a Windows program player (Wine has the best reputation). You’ll be surprised; old systems running Linux actually play older games better than current Windows systems, and this will allow you to jump back in time to games like King’s Quest, Tie Fighter, and Leisure Suit Larry.
Option Two: Some Stylish Jewelry
Pull the letters from your keyboard and fasten them to some wire (or even a mini-mouse) for a great necklace. Attach sections of the mother board to earring backs for some stylish lobe gear or use your keyboard to create a keyboard ring and a necklace.
Twist wire into a fancy ring. When you’re pulling apart the many-pieced PC system, the possibilities here are limited only by your creativity (or, when applicable, sanity).
Option Three: Home Decor
Don’t think your old computer parts belong on the mantle? Maybe this cool motorcycle will change your mind. If you don’t have the skill to create a masterpiece like that, you may still be able to fashion something gander-worthy using the old computer parts.
A few ideas in this area include a clock, calendar, or nameplate with keyboard pieces; an LED light using your chassis’ front display; or even the craziest hand-held fan you ever had the pleasure to create.
Option Four: Ultra-Geek Accessories
If you’re looking for the most dazzlingly geeky accessories possible, look no further than those versatile electronic strips – which can make everything from watches to pocket protectors (oh no! Geekness overload!).
Option Five: A Sustainable Power Generator
Instructibles tells us how a computer fan can be combined with a plastic bottle, some diodes, an old CD, super glue, and a few other household items to create a fully functional natural power generator. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s official: MacGyver is real, and he writes instruction manuals on the Web.
There are plenty of other ways you can upcycle your old computer parts. Just remember to be careful in your creativity: Your computer internals have more dangerous elements than a typical land-mine.
Jessy Troy is a geeky blogger behind Credit Card Finder, the registration-free utility to compare credit cards.