Thursday, September 6, 2018

Hacking And Making Are Best Friends! #MakerEd

One of the things that I love about Making is taking something older and doing something different with it or altering it in some way. I've done this in many different ways over the past few years. One that stands out is turning this old rotary phone into an Airplay device with a Raspberry Pi.

It was a fun projects that really tested my design skills and my soldering skills as well. It was one of my first big projects using Raspberry Pi that was not just recreating something someone else had designed and made.

I was thinking about doing something kind of fun and retro with an old Nintendo cartridge and came up with something pretty fun. I was able to take apart The Adventures of Zelda and place a Raspberry Pi Zero W inside of it.

A post shared by Nicholas Provenzano (@thenerdyteacher) on

For those interested, here are the steps.

1. Unscrew the back of the cartridge.
2. Remove the hardware on the inside of the cartridge.
3. On the piece that is the back, there is a little plastic lip near the bottom of the cartridge. You need to clip this away so the ports of the Raspberry Pi Zero W will fit.
4. Secure the Raspberry Pi Zero W in place. I used hot glue in the corners. It needs to be secure so it does not shift when you plug into the device.
5. Attach the HDMI mini adapter, a micro USB dongle, and the micro USB power cord. Make sure the cords you are using fit nicely when the lid is placed on. You can easily check this without screwing the cartridge together.
6. Place your micro SD card in the Pi with the image you would like.
7. Screw it all together and you are ready to go.

It was fun taking something from an idea and getting to work on it in my makerspace at home. I encountered some problems and was worried it would not come together, but it all worked out in the end.

These are one of the types of projects I will be encouraging students to explore in the school makerspace. Hacking something to change it in a way that allows it to be used differently is part of the Maker Mentality and it is a wonderful exercise in creative problem solving and design thinking. How have you hacked different projects in your home/school? I'd love to see them and share them around. Tweet me (@TheNerdyTeacher) and use the hashtag #MakerMentality and we can all share in the hacking fun.

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