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If it weren’t for build-it-yourself tech projects, you wouldn’t be reading this article—at least not on a computer. Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, and Michael Dell were just some of the self-starters from the pre-PC era.
Today, you have more DIY learning options than ever before: from Radioshack to online electronic component shops, from local makerspaces to Kickstarter, from Raspberry Pi to real miniature satellites.
Want to build some cool techy gadgets of your own? These five do-it-yourself learning projects will show you how to start small but dream big.
Total students enrolled: 3,934
Course length: 12.5 hours
Key lesson: Learn how a computer works and how to build it from scratch.
Most of us are more interested in unboxing a new computer than putting one together from scratch. But there are many benefits to building your own PC. One of the abstract reasons is that it is a skill which will always stay useful. A practical advantage is that you can upgrade your PC on your own anytime.
But it is always cheaper to custom build a PC? For the most part, yes!
Nathan Cope shows you how to get the most value from your first customized PC. He teaches you the basic terms you need to learn, how to shop for the best computer parts, and how to put them together.
The course will evolve over time. The latest one goes into high-end gaming PC builds and how to install water cooling.
Total students enrolled: 35,726
Course length: 23 hours
Key lesson: Learn how to begin with Arduino programming.
The best way to learn about Arduino is to buy one. The cheap Open Source microcontroller board isn’t only for electronic buffs. It can be used by any tinkerer who is interested in interactivity between devices and human commands. An Arduino can be the building block for more advanced electronic projects—like a satellite in space!
This Arduino step-by-step guide is a precursor to the more advanced Tech Explorations Arduino Step-by-Step Getting Serious course.
But the former lays the foundation and may just help you if you are unfamiliar with the Arduino board. Even without any electronics experience, you can learn how to create interactive electronic devices.
Total students enrolled: 1,494
Course length: 9.5 hours
Key lesson: How to develop web applications on the Raspberry Pi.
An Arduino is a building block that runs simple commands. A Raspberry Pi is a general purpose computer that commonly runs on Linux. Yes, you can combine them to create smarter applications like an AI robot.
But learn the differences between Arduino and Raspberry Pi before you decide your learning path. It will help you decide the direction of your project.
The 88 lectures will take you through the development of an IoT (Internet of Things) web application. The “gadget” will capture sensor data and feed it to a web interface via the cloud.
The course by Dr. Peter Dalmaris is an updated version of the best-selling Tech Explorations Raspberry Pi: Full Stack Minibian course. Minibian is a simpler version of Raspbian, so you will be upgrading yourself with the latest course.
Total students enrolled: 1,722
Course length: 5.5 hours
Key lesson: Build a quadcopter and understand a bit about avionics.
The drone “revolution” is showing us that these aren’t just fly toys. They are serious electronic gadgets that are changing our daily life. The best news is that you can buy a drone for any budget today. But where’s the fun in that? Go build one with the help of Dr. Peter Dalmaris’s online course.
This electronic project will take you into the basics of how any flying machine is put together. You will learn about motors, flight controllers, speed controllers, power distribution, and batteries.
Apart from the hardware, the course also covers flight mechanics and safety issues. If you have ever enjoyed an aviation game, this course could be for you.
Total students enrolled: 7,613
Course length: 9.5 hours
Key lesson: The principles of automation as you build a basic robot.
NASA has a little page where their best robotics engineers reveal their career paths. Most of the answers reveal that their interest came from some hands-on project in school.
If you’re fiddler of any sort, a robotic course might just protect your future job from the very machines you build. And yes, you can go back to an Arduino to build your tiny robot army.
The end goal here isn’t so fantastical because you will put together a 3D printer from scratch, hook it up to a desktop computer and make your own plastic parts.
To begin, you will need some basic electronic parts for your DIY printer robot. But you don’t need any prior knowledge of electricity of electronics. Remember, you are learning by building.
Learn to Be a Tinkerer With These DIY Projects
The above DIY electronic gadgets aren’t about learning a single concept. They can teach you many skills simultaneously. Think about it—parts are cheap, information is aplenty, and there are several ways to use these as mini-projects to inspire your children, improve your home, and even bring them to the market.
Just start with the electronic project that interests you. Any of these Udemy DIY courses will give you the structure and knowledge. As you know, every paid course on Udemy comes with:
- Lifetime access
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Certificate of completion
Have another idea for a DIY gadget? Take the first step to turn your unique electronic ideas into reality.