March 28, 2011, 10:01 PM — Ingenuity: It's the stuff of legends in the geek world. After all, why should you waste your hard-earned cash or spend hours at the old electronics store to purchase items that you can otherwise make yourself? We're not suggesting that you need to become an everyday geek MacGyver, but it's worth knowing that a number of household goods can serve as excellent substitutes for computer or gadget accessories that you'd otherwise spend a chunk of change on.
From laptop stands and cable-management tools to wrist-pain reducers and car GPS holders, the world of do-it-yourself accessory building is limited only by your imagination--not your skills. The DIY contraptions we'll be covering in this brief how-to article won't require a ton of tools, parts, or headaches. In our DIY land, you should be able to construct something to improve your geek life in 30 minutes or less.
Car Smartphone Holder
Why buy an expensive dashboard mount for your smartphone when you can build one in a variety of ways? We'll start with the iPhone, since half of the components you need for the project come right in the box--the carrying tray that the iPhone sits in is what you'll be using to attach the device to your car.
You may be wondering: How are you going to get your iPhone to sit comfortably in the tray if it's vertical? You have three solutions.
One, buy some heavy-duty Velcro and adhere four strips to the side of the tray in line with the iPhone's top speaker and its Home button. Use two longer strips to tuck the iPhone into the case securely, and then use Velcro to adhere the case itself to a spot in your car. Two, thread a larger piece of Velcro through the carrying tray's center hole to form a loop, and use that to hold your iPhone in place (this approach, though, will limit your ability to see part of the screen). Three, find some small but sturdy pieces of plastic, heat them up and bend them to form little clips, and glue these clips to the frame of the iPhone carrying tray to secure the phone in place.
Fear not, Android/BlackBerry/other users, for we haven't forgotten about you. In your case, try making a phone holder by taking a regular old soda cup--the specific size depends on the size of your phone and/or cup holder--and cutting what amounts to a high-back chair out of it.
We're borrowing this technique from Steph of the blog Upcycle Us, because it's just that cool: using chopsticks to make a stand for your tablet PC.