September 24, 2011

The best appropriate technology DIY plans

In off-grid communities where lights at night could improve grades and keep businesses open later, and where a homemade bicycle trailer can become a small delivery business, a little know-how may be the only thing missing. The right skills can turn low-cost materials into moneymakers, but learning to build, or just having the idea, is a challenge. To help, we’ve rounded up Do-It- Yourself guides to making energy, transportation, coolers, water filters and more. This is the best in appropriate technology from the legion of creative projects at Instructables.

1. How to build a clean-burning institutional cookstove
If this looks familiar, it’s because we posted our own stove-building plans on Instructables. These are our plans for building a clean-burning institutional stove, hand-drawn by E4C member Charles Newman. This is our first foray into the Instructables community, and we plan to share more of our own DIY guides in the coming months.



2. How to make a solar panel from broken solar cells
Solar panels are expensive, but manufacturers may part with a sack full of broken solar cells for just a few dollars. Here’s how to combine the broken shards into a working, power-generating solar panel.

More DIY solar energy guides
Make a high-powered solar panel from broken solar cells
How to make PV panels
How to make a solar PV tracker
Non-PV solar power


3. How to build a high-efficiency LED desk light
In many off-grid communities, lights at night are all it takes to improve students’ grades and families’ incomes. Students can study and businesses can stay open later.



4. How to build a bamboo bicycle
A bamboo frame outfitted with a few bicycle parts makes for a locally-sourced and eco-chic ride.








5. Bicycle cargo trailer plans
Where households get water from a well or river, a trailer like this can save days every week in hauling jugs. It could even turn a bicycle into a small delivery business.







6. How to purify water
This is a simple water filter that can remove sediment and even disease-causing microbes from water. To be safe, though, we recommend boiling the water orsterilizing it in the sun after filtering.





7. How to build a Niftymitter
The Niftymitter is an open-source, short-range FM transmitter. It works for small scale radio broadcasts, building a PA system or for public performances. Volunteer developers continue to tweak and improve the design. It has a home on, and the Instructable below also shows how to build one.





8. Rocket Grill!
Here’s another take on the clean-burning stove.








9. Solar cooler in a can
This is a spin on the ceramic fridge, an evaporative cooler for food and beverages.

Comments from the Community


  1. Isabel says:

    What do you recommend for the crisis in Puerto Rico?

  2. ayaan says:

    I am a big fan of the water purifyer

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