Summer is upon us, and there is a myriad of projects you can take on to make the most of the annual four days of sunlight that the British Isles is allowed.
Here are just some of the tech builds that will keep you occupied over the summer.
Build your own drone for the summer
This is the best time of year for flying a drone or other RC contraptions, and you get a real sense of satisfaction knowing that you built yours from scratch.
Depending on how big you want them, and how hard you’re willing to work on them, there are lots of easy-to-access drone parts available to sink your teeth into online. Building one from scratch might seem daunting, but there are plenty of good resources to help you along, such as beginnerflyer.com and makershed.com.
There are also some great tutorials demonstrating the best drones people have made with Arduino’s open-source hardware to help you get started. Some people have even made RC tanks with Arduino!
You can even create these drones utilising the handy-dandy Raspberry Pi. Honestly, is there anything that thing can’t do?
Bring the noise with some custom speakers and boom-boxes
Whether you’re chilling at the beach or star-gazing on a camping trip, you’ll want to play some music this summer.
Try for a makeshift boom box or speaker to bring with you on those trips. Tutorials for these projects range from simplistic, yet effective, to high-end sound systems. So, just like drones, they can be as simple, or as complicated as you want them to be – it’s a very accessible project.
There are practical ways you can dismantle some mains-powered speakers to make them portable if you don’t want to make them from scratch.
They’re much more cost-effective than buying actual Bluetooth speakers as well, as this handsome design proves.
You can even utilise the gorgeous weather and make them solar-powered, which brings us to…
Solar-powered USB charger
You’re going to need something to play the music – too bad you’re phone’s battery is dying. Fear not, because with a makeshift USB Charger that runs off the sun you’ll never be short of battery life.
The sun doesn’t come along often in England, so when it does, you’d be a fool not to take advantage of its rays. The project is easy enough to put together; you won’t need lots of experience soldering. There are plenty of tutorials online to show you how it’s done.
With a 6v solar panel, a diode, a mini breadboard and a handful of other easy-to-obtain materials to hold it all together, you’ll have possibly the most useful piece of kit to build this summer.
Just like Back to the Future II predicted, we’re now living in the age of hover-boards, and they’re pretty expensive, and also look quite silly.
Save your money and have a go at making one of your own. One example shows an easy-to-follow guide on Instructables of how to create one using the power of a leaf blower. Another man managed to create a hover-bike out of two huge fans and an old bike-frame.
This is probably the most work-intensive project on this list, but the pay-off would be worth it. You’d have bragging rights over your friends, plus you would be the owner of an actual hover-board.
These are just a few of the cool things you can build to make the most of summer. There are a wealth of ways solar power can be utilised to our benefit, but for the purposes of this list we’ve pretty much just focused on fun stuff!