Within the hidden world of junk electronic devices, there are components that have the potential to become great looking pieces of modern art. In this instructable, I will show you how to find and convert thrown away electronic devices into amazing art displays that look like surreal alien forests. The video below will compliment this instructable with additional instructions on how to create this art. I made this as a Christmas present for my Grandma.
Lets Get Started.
Step 1: Finding the RF Modulator
The electrical component that will be used to create this art is called an RF modulator/tuner. It is a silver enclosed box that encodes video signals into radio frequency signals. It can also be used to filter out all the other radio signals and single out a specific one for display on the TV. These are typically found in old CRT TVs and VCRs. The modulator box is roughly 3"x1.5"x.25". I found one inside a small portable CRT TV. The TV that I found it in is in the picture above. I found my TV at a garage sale for 50 cents,but you can find old CRT's on the side of the road from people who throw them away.
Step 2: Removing the RF Modulator
After you have found a device containing an RF modulator, it is time to remove it. I removed mine using a soldering iron and a desoldering pump. Just heat up each point where the modulator connects to the circuit board, and suck up the solder on the pins with the pump. You should now be able to remove the RF modulator.
Step 3: Opening the Modulator
To open the RF modulator, use a screwdriver to pry open the top metal cover. Make sure to open the side that has the coils in it. If you open the wrong side at first, just put the cover back on and open the other side. You can discard the cover, it will not be used.
Step 4: Whats Inside?
After opening the modulator/tuner, you should see many different coils of varying sizes and colors. These coils are inductors that form LC filters that discriminate frequencies. They will also form the art that makes the final product.
Step 5: Pulling Up the Coils
To make this boring old RF modulator look interesting and artistic, you will need to pull up the inductor coils. This is where you can be creative. Just use a small flat-head screwdriver to gently lift up each coil to varying heights. I left a majority of my coils still partially coiled to give it a cool look. Pull up as many of the coils as you can. Do whatever you think looks good.
Step 6: Bending the Coils
After you have your coils all pulled up, its time to bend them to any shape or curve that you think looks good. I bent all of my coils at varying curves and angles, while leaving some of them straight up. You can do this with your fingers. Remember to be creative with this step, there is no right or wrong way to do it.
Step 7: Its Finished!
After everything is done, you should have a really cool looking piece of art. You can either put it on a shelf or mount it on a wall. To mount it on a wall, just partially hammer 2 nails into the drywall. You can then bend the bottom plate of the RF modulator to form to openings. Finally, just slide it onto the nails sticking out of the wall. A white wall perfectly accents the different colored coils. I think this piece of art represents some kind of surreal otherworldly forest. The coils look like untamed trees growing in a wild alien landscape. I gave this piece of art to my Grandma for Christmas because she likes collecting little sculptures and figurines. This made a perfect addition to her collection. She really liked it! This art also makes an excellent subject for photography.
Good luck building and by the way, please vote for me in the Handmade Presents and Green Electronics contests.
Thanks for reading!