Eccentric iPod Alternatives

Put away your iPod. These music players don’t hold thousands of songs, movies and audiobooks. Their features are limited, but you will get more of a “wow” reaction from them.

First up–the Foxhole Radio. These simple radios were built from scraps of wire, cardboard tubes, razor blades and safety pins by GIs in WWII. Instructions are here–the real challenge is to scrounge up the parts for one of these without spending a dime. Most of the components should be found in the layers of debris in any well-disorganized workbench, though finding a suitable earpiece might be a challenge. If your workbench is too clean to harbor such debris, a kit can be purchased for $23 here, though it seems a bit counter to the spirit of the thing to pay someone to send a piece of wood, nails, and some bits of wire.

How about making your own recordings instead? Think Edison meets the plastic cup–this kit available from the MAKE store is a beautifully-designed Thomas Edison-style device that replaces wax cylinders with common plastic cups that lets you record and play back your own (or someone else’s, I suppose) voice.

Finally, if you want to get really retro, get a music box. But I can never find one with the song I want–that’s where this DIY Music Box kit comes in. You punch out the tune you want on a strip of paper that is played by the mechanism as you wind the crank. Included on the site is a PDF for making the Super Mario Brothers theme! What could be cooler than that?