Picture of Turn a generic plastic gadget in to something a little more beautiful
During the Summer I'm either surfing or working on projects around our small garden/farm. Winter is upon us here in Boston and I'm ready to start attacking the long list of projects I've postponed for the 'indoor months'.

However, I have hit the problem I face every Winter. I suffer from Season Affective Disorder which can result in a lack of energy in the dark Winter months. I have many ideas waiting to be made - but I've lacked a degree of motivation, until now that is.

Instructables to the rescue:
Eric's dawn simulator put me on to the Soleil lamp: I purchased a Soleil on ebay and I'm very happy with the lamp, my boss is happy I'm turning up for work on time... but...

The problems with the current design...
Feature creep is defined as the proliferation of features in a product such as computer software. Extra features go beyond the basic function of the product and so can result in baroque over-complication rather than simple, elegant design.

I'm a designer and believe that design, in part, is the art of removing the non-essential such as a 'Demo' mode. This is an alarm clock folks... my microwave oven has fewer buttons. I continue this critique in step 2.

The other major aspect of design is the visual aesthetic. I've included an image comparing the Soleil with its twin sister Mrs. Dalek and its cousin Robbie the robot. Danger Will Robinson.. you're about to be woken up by an eye sore.

Electronics devices do not have to be so drab
You don't need a laundry list of expensive tools nor a degree in industrial design to remake manufactured products.

With this Instructable I hope to demonstrate how you can both construct a new home for almost any gadget and utilise a simple hand drill for any number of jobs; achieving some pretty nice results.

Even if you do not particularly like the final outcome of this project I hope it motivates you to take a second look at those generic plastic products that clutter our lives and re-make them in to objects that suite your needs and please your senses.

So, with superfluous functions and the looks of a Dalek from Dr. Who on the chopping block.... my first project of Winter '09 is the Alarm Clock Retrofit.

NOTE: many people have reported problems watching the videos for this instructable. It seems google video is having problems. I recommend hitting your browser's reload button and clicking the play button again

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Apolo82 years ago
Nice info all around the post! thanks for publishing
ggardner72 years ago
That's what meat tenderizers for. LoL
nof-z2 years ago
i am doing exactly this with my ratty old guitar amp, but putting it into a wall area where there used to be a whole home speaker.
Berkin5 years ago
Lol. You have a pet rooster??
mjt8 Berkin5 years ago
its a chicken :P
I have a question. Are chickens (female) the only ones that get eaten up?
radiorental (author)  superMacaroni4 years ago
generally speaking yes, chickens (female) are the ones that are eaten. Roosters (male) can be eaten but they're tougher and require special recipes like Coq au Vin
Oh, wait... Her name is Arduino. I guess that means she's not edible...
Berkin mjt85 years ago
Newblit6 years ago
LOl just curious very nice but what's up with the chicken lol??
radiorental (author)  Newblit6 years ago
We keep chickens, I thought it would be a laugh to take a picture of Arduino (the chicken) 'reviewing' the build.
It was a good laugh lol just was like wtf lol.
radiorental (author)  Newblit6 years ago
when you keep chickens you have a lot of wft moments. They are the dumbest, funniest and most adorable pets you will ever come across. All the best /pauric
I love them! So fun! I named one of mine Mrs. Featherfoot! She was the best!
I think it would be amusing if, in some future -ibles, to have Arduino pop in once in a while. kind of like a running joke, or maybe a mascot. That's what I would do. I don't know, however, if you feel the same way I do.
radiorental (author)  Bigev6 years ago
I like it! Arduino will be a regular feature from now on. Thanks! (o;
mickgoth4 years ago
as usual 420 ftw, love the design beautiful work
zchampine5 years ago
 That silver clock one looks a little bit like the head of a protectron in fallout 3 lol
sickdog745 years ago
Incredible! I love it!
Zetheros5 years ago
Wow... Just imagine if you program the radio to play the GNR radio from Fallout 3 and added a Pip Boy decal to it!
ODDJOBS6 years ago
Fantastic Instructable. What a Community.
benz_z6 years ago
lovin' the retro look.. but me and wood dont get along well
radiorental (author)  benz_z6 years ago
Doesnt have to be wood, in fact, you dont even have to make the case. You could retrofit an alarm clock in to some old school electronics such as an antique army radio...
I was thinking more along the lines of concrete but it would be one heavy alarm clock... anyway the retrofitting is a really good idea
Derin benz_z6 years ago
where can you get one of those radios?
radiorental (author)  golddigger15596 years ago
Check out the community section of makezine.com I created a few maps; users, places of interest etc. In Places you will find interesting shops - hopefully one is near you. Alternatively check out army surplus stores or ebay
This is fantastic.
mman15066 years ago
is the chicken name arduino (of course it is) because of the microcontroolller and do you have any other neat chicken names
thinker6 years ago
see, i was going to get one of those alarm clocks like you i was less then impressed by the design though so i instead simply used a cheap alarm/radio and took off my curtains >.< the light alone doesnt wake me, but accompanied with the radio its perfect
radiorental (author)  thinker6 years ago
for sure, but unfortunate for me is that sunrise is too late here in Winter for me to rely on that alone to wake up.
yeah, it is always more effective in summer xD in winter its a bit of a bugger but i always find my sleep cycle goes nutty in winter anyway
daywalker426 years ago
great instructable man! I love what you did with it. Great mantra by the way, I have been trying to get some trihead screwdrivers to mercilessly mutilate an antique Game Boy I have(yes, it is the original and yes, it still works) good job on this....now to find a way to make my "Clocky" look a little better...... XD
radiorental (author)  daywalker426 years ago
Thanks! If I remember those gameboy screw will work with a flat head screwdriver - you might need a file to mod the screwdriver so it -just- fits the triheads. You'll figure it out! best of luck /pauric
Bigev6 years ago
I happen to have a CD/radio/ nature sounds alarm clock. The CD player is broken, I hate the nature sounds, and it has some really small buttons to operate the darn thing. This seems to be a great solution to trim the features I don't want! Thank you.
radiorental (author)  Bigev6 years ago
Sound perfect for an extreme makeover. Please document your project and post it here. Let me know if you have any questions if you get stuck... there's more than one way to skin a cat (o;
Ask and ye shall receive. The clock took five days to finish and is nine inches to a side. I'm now terribly proud of it and have you to thank for the inspiration.
radiorental (author)  Bigev6 years ago
cooool! what kind of case is that?
In short, wood. I found a couple of pre-made boxes at Pat Catan's that are supposed to be used as modern art display boxes or some artsy fartsy thing like that, removed the brackets, pegged them togather (pegs have no external hardware and are better than glue), painted, and installed. I found the clock display cover, a piece of plexiglas, in a parking lot about five or six years ago. The front and back are 1/8 in. plywood. I keep forgetting the span of time that things like this take. I had to borrow my brother's alarm clock to wake myself for those five days. Boy I missed the comforting orange glow of an old friend. Now I call it the battery clock. I think it looks like a car battery, the red and black buttons resemble positive and negative terminals.
radiorental (author)  Bigev6 years ago
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