Getting free electronic stuff is easier than you thing, you just need to look around...
- Schools - If you nicely ask your headmaster that you can have the electronic stuff they might throw out, they might give it to you...
- Computer Repair Store - If you ask the manager nicely for blown electronic equipment, they will usually give it to you. If you get a blown DVD/CD burner, you are very lucky, you had got a laser that cost several hundred bucks! Check out this instructable if you do get a burner.
- Skips - For those Americans that does not know, it is an english word for huge trash containers, what you would call dumpsters. And that is where I thrive, I find not only electronic stuff, but a lot of other great stuff as well. In England it is legal to collect stuff from skips, you just only need to watch out for the territorial people, you don't want to see them...
- Trash Days- Go for a drive or walk around on your trash day, you can find a lot of great stuff as well. I had even found a still-working 400 british pounds ($800) pressure washer!
What you can get:
They have a variety of parts inside them for example:
- VGA cable
- Potentiometers/Variable resistors
- Bridge Rectifiers
Though if you are into electronics and high-voltage, they can be very useful!ahem AND FREE
How to get it:
Have a look around, If you see a CRT monitor (the one that isn't a flatscreen) be sure to pick it up. They are usually found at landfills, in dumpsters/garbage bins, outside places with lots of computers etc. They may not be as easy to find as other stuff on this site, but keep looking! They'll be well worth it!
If you wanted, you could modify it to be a oscilloscope, Use it for parts, Use the screen as a vacuum bomb (don't do this at home, not enviromentaly friendly either) and you can even make a high voltage powersupply out of the flyback transformer here's how