We love it when people bring out their inner MacGyvers and share with us all how to make one thing into a very useful, or just entirely cool, other thing. Here's some of our favourite DIY conversions from the past year.
Photo remixed from an original by Matt Katzenberger
With Wireless N routers starting to nudge the standard a/b/g Linksys routers out of the way, we suggested a use for that trusty blue box: install DD-WRT, set it up as a repeater, and carry your Wi-Fi into the hard-to-reach corners of your home or yard.
Take your older laptop or tiny desktop system and put it to good use in places beyond the desk: in the kitchen, under your TV, in the bedroom (for streaming video!), and even inside your car.
Jason tore apart the many pieces of a hard drive and offered both practical and nerd-tacular uses for its magnetic parts (hanging knife block), spinning discs (crazy clock), and other kinds of handy or geek-cred uses. Photo by ArtMast.
It's strange to think that there are so many outdated and abandoned models of a smartphone first introduced in 2007. But when you get your upgrade, you can keep your old phone around as a dedicated ebook reader, a fancy alarm clock, or as a play-around device for jailbreaking, installing Android or other tinkering. Image via Gonzalo Baeza Hernández.
Two things you're likely to have with you on a trip come together in efficient make-shift fashion, via this great tip from Conceptual Devices.
If you happen to have an Asus WL-520GU wireless router and an external USB sound card available, you can keep web music constantly streaming to nearly any speakers you have without having to keep a computer nearby. And when guests at a party ask how you did it, you've got a free bit of show-off indulgence to run through.
It's the great conundrum of handiwork: the harder you try to take a screw out, the more you'll strip the head of its indented grips, and the harder it will be to get it out. Next time you're cursing the god named Phillips, try putting a rubber band between the screw and the driver, as Apartment Therapy suggests. You might get back just enough grip to get your stubborn screw out.
Reader Mike Osborne made a beautiful, custom-crafted wooden enclosure for his precious backup drive, and was kind enough to share it with us. Lots of crisp, detailed pictures detail the process for anyone who wants to follow along.
OK, we heard you - not everybody has film canisters hanging around, at least not these days. But if you have any kind of small canister with a non-screw lid, you can use a can of compressed air and some paper scraps to set up the "confetti bomb" that Wired's How-To Wiki so enjoys.
For just the cost of a touch-friendly screen, you can take a MacBook and mod it into a functional tablet that's running Mac OS X. Enigma-Penguin's ongoing project keeps improving its functionality and instructions, and if you've got the willpower to take apart your silver screen, it's definitely a worthwhile hack.
Home automation kits are becoming widely available and increasingly popular, but they're still pretty darned pricey. You can pony up, or do what one handy Instructables user suggests and linking together a router, an Arduino-based tool you build yourself, and RF-switched outlets to automate any device in your home from a web browser or smartphone.
It has something to do with the oxygen getting into the bite, or possibly the entrance to all those nerve endings, or maybe it's somehow related to coagulation. In any case, even without hard science behind it, the notion that nail polish and clear tape do wonders for itchy bites is borne out by many of our readers and favourite web sources.
When the resealing lock or handles on a plastic bag start to fail - oh well, grab another one, right? Unless you've already got easy-to-spill contents in there. Using a bottle cap snatched from a soda, you can reseal that bag in air-tight fashion, as Re-Nest found out.
We can't help but love this Instructables gem, as it does a few great things at once. It encourages getting inside an old desktop case and learning, recycling outdated parts, using renewable energy, and helping to keep your gadgets charged.
There you have it - 15 of the most popular repurposing tricks from 2010. Not enough this-thing-into-that-thing action for you? Check out our biggest repurposing hits from 2009 and 2008. Keep on reusin' in the new year, too - and tell us about it.