But I got good stuff. I built myself a computer from used parts and new parts that I bought in Taiwan! :D
Gigabyte GA-G31M-G2L Mobo
2.0 GHz Pentium Duo
4 GB DDR2 RAM
80 GB + 1 TB HDD's
Back in US, I stuck it in a cardboard box and hooked everything together to make sure it all worked.
The initial setup of the computer when I came back from Taiwan:
For the record, we own a Macbook Pro and an upgrade disk so yea. Closer view of the cardboard box setup I had running. Airflow went straight up.
Even closer view of the box computer.
So then I stuck it in an old case and then I hooked it up to the sound system we have in our house with an RCA cable I cut and soldered to a 1/8-inch jack cable. I also hooked up the TV to it. My dad and I also built a nice "floating" desk to go with the new computer and monitor/TV combination.
Full view of computer with TV with sound system. Little center speakers on the floor under the TV. :D
Desktop view. With card reader jutting out unaesthetically. :P I can get those Wiimotes to work as pointers for the computer too! DarwiinRemote.
Underneath the desk. This desk came from the top of an old cabinet that my dad and I ripped off. We bought the supports and non-OEM screws from Home Depot and spent like several hours trying to get everything right. Ended up we had to prop it up on wooden blocks, which you can see in the top left corner. Still kinda rickety but good enough for non-heavy use.
I also got a used chemical ice pack from a friend, so I decided to have a little fun and try to recrystallize the ammonium nitrate in the water in the ice pack. I first did it by pouring some in a metal cup and putting the cup under a halogen lamp for like an hour. It worked - stuff boiled off and I got nice crystals. But it took way too long and wasted too much energy. So I made alcohol stoves from Altoids tins. :D
The base for the alcohol stove also acts as a carry case! :D
Grille for holding whatever you're heating, and the altoids stove on the right.
Little holes drilled in the side of the base so that air can go in and burn the alcohol. It'll make sense by the next next picture.
So we open the altoids tin with two rolls of gauze inside for absorbing and wicking off alcohol to burn...
So this is the stove fully set up, with that metal cup on top. The holes in the base draw in air which mixes with the alcohol in the gauze-roll wicks. That is lit through the hole on the lid and the flames reach up and heat the cup. :D Simple and effective. The grille was made from a computer fan grille with 4 bolts and nuts. Pretty simple.
Crystallized ammonium nitrate. Too wet to be used for anything, mostly proof of concept. You can see a few drops of liquid on the sides there near the top.
And that was what I did over the summer.