Popular Mechanics (USA)

Make Something Old Into Something Cool


that has lived a good life and giving it a second chance.” That was the case with the Cadillac vacuum cleaner he salvaged from his late grandmothe­r’s junk pile. His idea: turn the beat-up appliance into a functionin­g Bluetooth speaker.

Once Coulter stripped the vacuum down and discovered it was a sheet-metal cylinder, he fetched a few basic materials—including deconstruc­ted Sony speakers, a Lepai mini amplifier, and 5- and 12-volt power bricks for the USB and power, respective­ly—and figured out how to make them all fit together.

It wasn’t easy. “The hardest part was choosing the order of operations—there was a lot of standing and staring into space before each step,” Coulter says. Plus, he’s still honing his electrical skills, “so I don’t leave [the speaker] plugged in when it isn’t in use,” he says. “I’d rather not burn my apartment down if I messed something up in there.”

Still, after a couple weeks of work and expected bumps, Coulter has a retrotasti­c device that

“sounds great and gets plenty loud,” he says. “I got exactly what I wanted out of the process.”

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