Author Topic: Old/completed projects collecting dust  (Read 911 times)

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Offline theleakydiode

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Old/completed projects collecting dust
« on: February 04, 2020, 10:25:30 pm »
Be honest, how many of you have got old projects tossed in a box somewhere which haven't seen the light of day for years? What do you do with them in the end?

I'm just thinking of all those long hours researching, designing, buying parts for and assembling only for it become practically useless soon after. I had a component clear out last year (there's a thread about it on here), now I've moved onto sorting the stuff I've actually built over the years or those little 9 day wonder ebay kits.

Anyone have some words of wisdom to share? Did any of you stop building personal projects eventually because of the accumulation factor?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2020, 10:39:28 pm by theleakydiode »
 

Offline sokoloff

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2020, 10:36:41 pm »
I have some packrat tendencies for sure (my wife would argue that's an understatement  :-DD ).

Even with that, I'm OK to throw away something where the intention was learning and where the learning has happened. If the practical value is zero, the only reason to keep it around is sentimental. I still keep a strobe light I made in high school shop class. I've thrown out countless projects in-between then and now, though.
 

Online rdl

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2020, 10:39:11 pm »
I'm not sure I have any completed projects.
 

Offline theleakydiode

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2020, 10:51:35 pm »
I have some packrat tendencies for sure (my wife would argue that's an understatement  :-DD ).

Even with that, I'm OK to throw away something where the intention was learning and where the learning has happened. If the practical value is zero, the only reason to keep it around is sentimental. I still keep a strobe light I made in high school shop class. I've thrown out countless projects in-between then and now, though.

Oh I can definitely relate on the sentimental part, combined with the waste aspect of throwing working items out and I've become a slave to the junk! For example I've just found this little IR detector thing, useless but I remember making it for some weird reason.

I'm not sure I have any completed projects.
Just one big backburner then? Ever take something out and get the urge to tinker with it?
« Last Edit: February 04, 2020, 10:59:34 pm by theleakydiode »
 

Offline Mr Evil

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2020, 11:17:06 pm »
Hardly any that are unused. If I make something that turns out to be not useful, it is usually thrown out or disassembled for parts. More of a problem is that I often feel a desire to make a project of a certain type, but the last one I made is still working fine, so I can't justify making a new one :(

Offline theleakydiode

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2020, 11:23:05 pm »
Hardly any that are unused. If I make something that turns out to be not useful, it is usually thrown out or disassembled for parts. More of a problem is that I often feel a desire to make a project of a certain type, but the last one I made is still working fine, so I can't justify making a new one :(
Oh I've been there too, end up gaining more knowledge along the way and suddenly the urge to go back and make one properly from the get go takes over.

Most of the stuff I'm coming across now are things I made back in my teens to early 20's, suddenly I had the knowledge to produce such items and did so to get it out of my system. And like the other person said it's effectively worthless, not even schools around here want such items anymore.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2020, 11:24:47 pm by theleakydiode »
 

Online ebastler

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2020, 07:07:32 am »
I'm just thinking of all those long hours researching, designing, buying parts for and assembling only for it become practically useless soon after.
[...]
Anyone have some words of wisdom to share?

The Journey is the Destination.  8)

Seriously -- for me, the "long hours researching, designing, buying parts for and assembling" is where a lot of the value lies in these hobby projects. I am learning new things, sometimes get surprising and delightful insights, and in the end have this happy "look what I've built!" moment.

I have long since realized that I enjoy the process of learning, designing and building much more than actually using the resulting device; whether that's a ham radio transmitter, vintage computer replica or vintage game, whatever. And I am happy with that state of affairs!

I do tend to hang on to the finished (or sometimes not-quite-finished) gadgets I have built. Maybe that's a bad habit, but I do enjoy looking at the stuff every now and then, thinking back to the journey of having figured things out -- certainly without any guilty feelings that I don't use the resulting gizmos much!  :)
 
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Offline CJay

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2020, 09:25:22 am »
I've got the prototypes of most of the products I designed, gathering dust in various states of disrepair because I'll have salvaged and repurposed bits, the only one that I can think of that's still complete is a tiny probe for sensing magnetic fields from ignition coils, 'solenoid' coils (fuel injectors) etc. because it's still useful to me, and, TBH, it's a cute little project that worked first time as desgined with no need for revisions so it pleases me.

Projects tend to be worked to a specific point and then abandoned unless they fill a regular need, in which case it might get a box and a place on 'the bench'.

 

Online duak

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2020, 08:35:27 pm »
It seems that anything involving digital, logic or microprocessor stuff will likely be superceded more quickly than analog.

In the mid 80s I started on a Direct Digital Synthesizer to make a 0.01 Hz to 2.5 MHz function generator.  I used an 80C88 for the main control, an optical encoder for the frequency set and an hp 8 digit LED alphanumeric display.  I used F TTL logic for the phase accumulator and some fast EPROMs for the look up tables that limited the clock to about  10.7 MHz.  I got a fast Brooktree 12 bit DAC and found a commercial 7th order Bessel filter.  I got the digital section wired and working on a Vero double VME speedwire board - this part still works to this day.

National and Comlinear had come out with fast op-amps, voltage controlled amplifiers and buffers.  I breadboarded most of the pieces but never built them up.  What remains then is the analog portion and the overall packaging. 

The design files are in P-CAD on 5-1/4 floppies.  I haven't tried to read them since they were written.

I got a synthesized Wavetek function generator for free that needed a power transformer (a story in itself) so I put my synthesizer on hold.  I occasionally think of finishing it and adding a RAM based look up table to make an arbitrary waveform generator.  I suppose it would need a USB interface to be useful.  Unless I use an Arduino, I'll bet implementing the USB stuff would be more work than the rest.
 

Offline david77

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2020, 09:25:49 pm »
I usually build stuff that I have an immediate need for and I try to finish the projects, too. A gizmo that is just a board with wires hanging off it does not usually please me. If it is something that I want to keep using in the future it needs to have a proper case with nicely designed front panel. And of course it has to work.

Of course there is a box somewhere with unfinished, dead end project boards mostly on veroboard somwhere around here, who hasn't got one? I pull that box out and salvage the still usable parts every now and then, the rest gets unceremoniously dumped at the recycling centre.

Most of the early stuff from my teens and twenties I regard as unusable today. It is what helped me get where I am today but it is also inferior to what I can achieve now. It has served its purpose, it can go. There are still some bits and pieces buried in boxes around the house, I regularly find something and it is a nice trip to the past.
 

Offline jmelson

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2020, 11:41:01 pm »
Be honest, how many of you have got old projects tossed in a box somewhere which haven't seen the light of day for years? What do you do with them in the end?
Oh my God, don't tell my wife!  I have a whole basement full of them.  On the other hand, a number of old projects are still used in my shop for all sorts of things.
So, I'm not exactly sure which projects are never going to be used again - and that's where the problem is!

Jon

 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2020, 01:49:57 am »
I'm in the 'don't have this problem because I never complete anything' camp.  I'll pull out an old project from time to time and tinker with it some more.

A 'show pics of old projects' thread like the show your workbench thread might be fun.
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2020, 02:31:55 am »
Too many.  Not just electronics, but stuff around the house.  Deck is half built, garage is half finished, basement is half finished.... and that's not even talking about all the parts I bought for "future projects" that I never started.   :-DD

And then there's all the project ideas I have which I never even started on.   I really need to make a list of everything I want to do and start setting goals.   I have a shift work job which means I get more time off, so I don't really have an excuse.
 

Offline sokoloff

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2020, 10:28:21 am »
I literally signed up for JIRA cloud (free for small use) and use it to track house and car maintenance projects. It’s helped, but it’s no silver bullet.

I used to keep notes in Apple notes app, but JIRA seems to work smoother. If I have 30 minutes, it’s easier to open it and find something productive to knock out.
 

Offline eugenenine

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2020, 04:17:25 pm »
basement is half finished....

Here we are taxed on livable space where livable = finished.  So when they come and ask my basement is 'not finished yet' and I could show them its still not finished if they ever wanted proof.  So this unfinished project saves me money :)
 

Offline frogg

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2020, 07:18:27 pm »
This is one my literal dust-gatherers :)

I designed and built this IP54 Vector Impedance Analyzer around an esp32, inspired by tactical radios

The face plate is CNC machined from a plate of 6061-T6, mechanically attached to a die-cast enclosure. Powdercoated in tacticool colors, laser-etched markings, o-ring sealed encoders...lithium ion battery and pass-through serial programming on the front panel...I think overall I spent $300-400 on building this thing not counting the time...now you can buy a nano-VNA that goes up to 900MHz for $40!

Just a memento of the many things I learned while designing and building it. Now it's a knick-knack :)
« Last Edit: February 07, 2020, 07:24:14 pm by frogg »
 

Offline Red Squirrel

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2020, 10:25:27 pm »
basement is half finished....

Here we are taxed on livable space where livable = finished.  So when they come and ask my basement is 'not finished yet' and I could show them its still not finished if they ever wanted proof.  So this unfinished project saves me money :)

I hate stuff like that, as if we don't already pay enough taxes not to mention they go up every year.  I think here basement is exempt surprisingly, but either way I did not get any permits so what they don't know don't hurt.    Anything indoors they can go screw themselves really.   Easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission.  >:D    Lot of people chance that with outside structures but then they end up getting dinged but like nobody here bothers with permits for inside stuff, it just makes your taxes go up and the whole project ends up costing too much.   I hate how the government always has their nose in our affairs even on our own property though.  But that's another topic and I won't get started on that. :P

 

Offline iworkwithelectrics

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Re: Old/completed projects collecting dust
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2020, 09:45:44 am »
Holy moly, where do I even begin... I own a TV Repair business in Australia and you would not BELIEVE the kinds of crap we've got lying around from years ago.
We've got projects from the early 2000s that haven't seen the light of day. We've got a homemade CNC machine, fully functional and yet never been used (not even related to TVs in the slightest!)

I wonder what kind of gold mine we'd be sitting on if we ever tried to sell it all...

https://www.baysidetvrepairs.com/
 


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