7 of the Most Genius Self-Made Projects by Engineers

Here are some great homemade products to whet your DIY-engineering appetite.
Christopher McFadden
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Looking for some inspiration for your next DIY-engineering project at home? Then some of these great little homemade projects might be right up your street. 

Good luck and happy building!

What should I make for an engineering project?

If you are looking for some inspiration for a DIY-engineering project, you might want to consider some of these examples: 

  • Build a Beautiful Patio Table
  • Learn to Pick a Lock

  • Build a Fan Cell Phone Charger
  • Make a Spare House Key
  • Clean-Up All That Rust
  • Build a homemade robot

Alternatively, you could think of some areas of your life that could do with an engineering solution. 

What are some examples of great DIY engineering projects?

So, without further ado, here are some examples of great self-made products by engineers. This list is far from exhaustive and is in no particular order.

1. This genius made a smart screen that puts a newspaper on your wall

self made engineering projects paper
Source: Max Braun/onezero.medium/New York Times

A Robotics and Machine Learning engineer at Google X recently detailed their amazing DIY engineering project -- a wall-mounted digital newspaper display. Called "Paper", the build is relatively simple and looks great.

In an article, he wrote on onezero.medium.com, Max Braun takes the reader through the process and explains his choice of materials. 


"I wanted to preserve this analog feeling and infuse it with the possibilities of smart home technology. That’s why I made Paper, a radically simple prototype that does exactly one thing: show today’s front page on a large e-paper display." - Max Braun. 

Paper automatically downloads the latest front-page PDF of a paper, converts it to the correct image format, and sends it to the display. All in time for Braun to read it while getting ready for the day.

Why not make your own?

2. This genius made their very own distraction-free cellphone

home made engineering cellphone
Source: Justine Haupt

Using an old rotary dial phone (a what?), this genius made an awesome distraction-free cell phone. Justine Haupt decided to create the device in order to save her from the constant annoyance of push messages and other distractions offered by the latest cellphones. 

The final product is aesthetically pleasing and looks like it could have been created over 40 years ago. Haupt, on her website, provides very detailed instructions on the build as well as explains her choice of materials. 

The dial, for example, was salvaged from an old Western Electric Trimline telephone. This was combined with the necessary electronics to integrate with a modern cellular chipset. 

The phone's main body was 3D printed to fit everything inside. Why not have a go at making your very own?

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3. This chap made an explosive alarm clock

Here is another great DIY-engineering project you might want to consider emulating. Devised by the YouTuber "MrGear," his guide video takes you through the process step by step.

Using little more than an AA battery, a clothes peg, a tripwire, and some other components, this trip-wire alarm could have many fantastic applications. Ideal for keeping your campsite secure from roaming Yautja (Predators), this simple homemade engineering project is fun for all the family. 

The alarm sounds when a circuit is completed as the string is pulled loose from the peg. But it's not just any alarm, the tripwire ignites a flammable substance to really give the intruder the message!

4. Check out this electric-powered skateboard

Here is another amazing homemade engineering project that can be replicated with ease. Using simple materials like an old skateboard, brass wire wheel brush, a power drill, and some other bits and piece, you too can have your very own motorized skateboard.

Created by the YouTuber "Inspire To Make", the project could really be simpler to copy. It is also pretty cheap to make.

So long as you have a power-drill and skateboard, the entire project shouldn't cost more than $100. It also looks pretty badass!

5. This bike-mounted cellphone charger could come in handy

If you are constantly plagued by your cellphone's battery running out of juice while out on your bike, this might be a perfect homemade engineering project. Designed by the YouTuber KipKay, this project is fun to make and very handy indeed. 

Making use of an old computer fan, the charger tops up your battery as you cycle around. At speed, the air spins the fan which, in turn, generates electricity to charge your phone's battery. 

Simple and effective. The total build cost for KipKay was under $10 and took less than an hour to complete. 

6. Make your own vacuum cleaner out of an old plastic bottle

homemade engineering projects vacuum cleaner
Source: Navin Khambhala#crazyNK/YouTube

If you are fed up with forking out tons of cash for a new vacuum cleaner and like to recycle, why not consider making your own? Apart from a decently sized plastic bottle, you'll also need some other components for this build.

The project is relatively simple and, mostly, uses materials you should have around the home. You could always salvage parts, like the motor, from other old electronic devices too. 

Obviously, this isn't a direct replacement for a purpose-built vacuum cleaner, but it is a fun project nonetheless. 

7. How about this fire and ice-powered emergency light?

homemade engineering projects fire-ice light
Source: Joohansson/Instructables

And lastly, how about building a fire and ice/water generator to power a handy nightlight? Yes? Then this simple thermoelectric emergency generator is just the ticket. 

It works using a thermoelectric module, aka a Peltier element, TEC or TEG, to generate electricity using a temperature gradient. This gadget effectively works using something called the Seebeck effect (or the reverse of the Peltier effect). 

Other than the thermoelectric module, the project requires some basic materials like food tins and some other basic electrical components. This really is a fun and handy DIY-engineering project that you might want to replicate fo yourself. 

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