Top 7 Most Unusual DIY Projects

We’ve covered some cool DIY projects on HardTechTV, from home automation systems to drones, from gaming systems to robots and many more. And most of these projects are usually pretty easy to categorize. But we also find quite a few projects that defy convention, here are a few of our faves.

DIY 3D Scanner

3d-scannerWhy a 3D scanner? For starters, you can use it to create digital versions of real-life objects or even digital characters of people. Then you can use those scanned objects or characters to 3D print objects, personalized action figures or maybe even designing video games.

Richard’s scanner is built with 40 Raspberry Pis, 40 Raspberry Pi supported cameras and 40 8GB SD cards.

Instructables user Richard  created this project to scan 3D models of his kids. This is actually a pretty revolutionary design since it doesn’t force people to stand still for a long time during the scan. Instead, this 3D scanner instantly snaps multiple photos from different angles and assembles the images as a 3D scan.

Somewhat mind blowing note: Richard’s scanner is built with 40 Raspberry Pis, 40 Raspberry Pi supported cameras and 40 8GB SD cards. So, as you might imagine, this project will set you back a few hundred bucks.  However, you can shave some of the cost if you’re willing to sacrifice some level of detail by using fewer than 40 camera angles.

The project also uses a 60A 5v power supply to power up all the Raspberry Pis and a few LED Strips with a 12v power supply.  So, if you need a scale model “mini-me” for your desk, you can start building the project by following the instructions here.

DIY Photo Booth

photo-boothHave kids with birthday parties coming up?  Or is someone you know soon to be married?  This project will come in very handy.

Instructables user Scott Fay’s project works just like any other photo booth, including snapping photos and printing them right away. Not bad for a first-time Raspberry Pi project.

While a camera and a photo printer do the bulk of the work, obviously, the brains of the photo booth is the Raspberry Pi.  It takes charge of controlling the camera, assembling the photo montage and delivering it to the printer.

As for the user interface, there’s a start button with indicator lights to make sure everyone’s smiling before the photo shoot begins. Designing a cool enclosure for the booth is entirely up to you.

With some knowledge of Linux/bash and basic soldering skills, you’ll be able to build a photo booth just like this one for your own party. Find the full list of required parts and the step-by-step instructions here.

DIY Word Clock

word-clockLet’s face it, traditional analog and digital clocks have lost some of the cool factor in the age of the connected device.  These days, you need a clock that stands out as a piece of art.  But with the overtly hipsterish popularity of unusual clock designs comes the inevitability that it takes forever to tell the time. The Word Clock is a happy medium.

This clock lets you literally read the time with its word-based clock face.

Instructables user drj113 has made this project by using an Arduino Duemilanove to control the clock and a 12V DC power supply to power it up (batteries are good too).

The designers here point out that you could always program a controller board with an ATMega168 and a few support components to make the clock work without the Arduino, saving it for use in another project.

Follow the instructions here to get started. Or, an improved version of the project can be found here, including a better enclosure design and customization instructions for various languages.

DIY Swimming Robo Snake

robo-snakeSnakes are scary enough on dry land as it is — the last thing anyone wants to think about when they’re in the water are snakes that swim.  So next time you’re at the lake with some friends, you can have some fun if you take one of these along for some devious antics. Make no bones about it, this somewhat terrifying project is ideal for scaring and pranking your friends.

The robo-snake was designed by Gabriella Levine to explore sinuous motion in a robot.

Sneel (snake+eel) the robo-snake was designed by Instructables user Gabriella Levine to explore sinuous motion in an aquatic robot and also to navigate extreme terrain. This design is made possible by an Arduino Uno, lots of servo motors and plenty of other electronics. You can find the building instructions here.

As you can see in the video, this amazing robot snake not only has the ability to float above water, but can also swim just like a real snake!

More Great Projects

Laugh Track Jacket

Ready to unleash your inner Jerry Seinfeld?  This weird jacket turns real life into situation comedy by adding a background laugh track to all your jokes, even the bad ones. The Laugh Track Jacket is an Adafruit project that uses an Audio FX sound board with a pair of speakers hidden in the pockets to make the magic happen. Laughing is contagious, hopefully.  And if so, this might come in handy in your next standup comedy act, or your next date.  Whichever is more likely, we’re not the ones to judge…



 Kid’s Room Spaceship

Interested in adding a cool spaceship to your room your kid’s room? This project by Jeff Highsmith will explain how to build one. Complete with joystick controlled lights and space sounds, Jeff crafted this spaceship for his son using an Arduino microcontroller to control the strand and the LEDs. You can read more about the construction process here.



Self Balancing Electric Skateboard

If you have an old skateboard laying around, check out this project to turn it into an awesome electric self-balancing skateboard. Similar to the recent Kickstarter funded Onewheel project, this skateboard uses a “PID” control system to keep the wheels always under your center of gravity by controlling the wheels with motors. You can read more about it here.



Of course, the sky’s the limit when it comes to quirky DIY.  Let your imagination run wild and see what unique creation you can come up with using Raspberry Pi and Arduino. And remember to come back and share all your fun concepts with us!


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