This DIY retro audio player is a cute homage to 80s cassette tape recorders

Some of us may laugh at the fashion, designs, and technologies of the past, but sooner or later, they actually become the inspiration for products and designs of today. The number of successful and profitable “retro” recreations has proven the power of nostalgia, especially when you can avoid the limitations of the past. Tape recorders, for example, were rather funky-looking contraptions from our modern point of view, which also makes them a perfect candidate for a retro recreation. Unsurprisingly, someone did take on such an endeavor and gave the venerable cassette record from the 80s a modern makeover, one that relives part of the look and feel of the original but without the physical and mechanical restrictions.

Designer: Max.K

Given the technologies of that era, the cassette tape itself was a revolutionary invention that freed people to listen to music away from the hulking phonographs at home. Cassette players and recorders came in all shapes and sizes, but one of the most iconic forms was a flat box that would lie on a table or desk. You would see these devices even on TV, usually used as a prop for recording interviews, interrogations, or depositions, making their form easily identifiable even today.

A retro cassette player would have to stay true to that form, but it doesn’t need to have loyalties to the same flimsy and unreliable physical medium. In other words, this Retro Audio Player is practically a digital player in old-school clothing, but one with a few tricks and quirks that make it delightful to look at and fun to use.


The 2.8-inch display on top, for example, tries to visualize the spinning reels of an honest-to-goodness cassette player, making it look almost like the real deal from afar. There are no extraneous elements on the screen other than the name of the file being played, the artist, and its progress, sticking closely to the unavoidably bare designs of its predecessors. And yes, it plays files stored on an SD card you slot into its side.

The DIY Retro Audio Player is also simple to use, with only a dial for volume and three buttons that are actually MX keyboard switches in disguise. The bright yellow paint job on top almost makes it look like a toy, and any child can actually operate it thanks to its simplicity. Whether it will survive rough handling from youngsters, however, is a different question entirely.

Its simplicity is also its Achilles’ heel, though, at least as far as audio players are concerned. Its diminutive size only has room for a single speaker, making it better suited for audiobooks than party music, but it does have a headphone jack in case you want more oomph. The three “buttons” can only pause or play the music and switch tracks, nothing to fast-forward or rewind within the same song like modern audio players. That said, the Retro Audio Player wasn’t envisioned to be a full-blown media player and more as a fun-looking nod to the past, and in that regard, it definitely scores an A+.

The post This DIY retro audio player is a cute homage to 80s cassette tape recorders first appeared on Yanko Design.

Retro 35 USB-C Charger Looks Like a 1984 Macintosh Computer

Nostalgia: it’s a great tool to use to sell things to people. In this case, preying on the fond memories of the Macintosh Classic to sell 35W chargers. And it’s working too; I just bought a two-pack. Currently, an already-funded Indiegogo campaign, the Retro 35 GaN Charger by SHARGEEK, is a 35-watt plug capable of high-speed charging of electronic devices, including laptops, but probably not that big laser thing they use to open portals to The Upside Down in Stranger Things.

And not only does this little Mac charge your device, but it also lights up different colors to let you know just what kind of charging it’s doing, with white indicating no charging, yellow normal charging, blue fast-charging, green super-charging, and no light indicating no load for the past five minutes. Now, if only it played sound effects too.

The Indiegogo early bird special will get you this charger for $25. It’s actually not a bad price for a 35W charger, especially not for one with more personality than a boring black or white cube. Granted, it’s going to live the entirety of its life in the rat nest of other cords under my desk and probably never be seen, but I’ll still know it’s there… illuminating the darkness with its smile like an evil clown.

[via DudeIWantThat]

Countertop Slush Puppie Machine Is Brain Freeze Ready

A staple of gas stations when I was growing up, Slush Puppies are hands down one of the best beverages to drink if you want your mom constantly nagging that you’re going to rot all your teeth out. Available from FireBox, the $100 countertop Slush Puppie machine allegedly produces Slush Puppies just like you remember: insanely sweet and painfully cold.

The countertop Slush Puppie machine can produce a liter of slush every 15-25 minutes, with the option for a coarse or fine ice grain. Just add water, ice, salt, and Slush Puppie syrup (sold separately in 500mL bottles – enough to make 4 liters apiece), and you’re well on your way to a debilitating brain freeze! I… I can’t think straight!

FireBox reminds you that if you’re going to add alcohol to your Slush Puppie, you need to do so AFTER making it in the machine. Otherwise, the alcohol will prevent the mix from freezing properly since its freezing temperature is significantly colder than water. Of course, anybody like me who’s tried and failed to make alcohol freezy pops on spring break probably already knows that.

This funky retro-futuristic computer is actually a laptop in disguise

You can actually use this rather fancy computer that looks like a TV prop, but whether it’s usable is a different question entirely.

We’ve seen a lot of makers, tinkerers, engineers, and even designers take a stab at making their own personal computers, with an emphasis on “personal.” Thanks to the availability of off-the-shelf parts for computers and the ubiquity of 3D printing, it has become easier but still not trivial to bring some of those dream designs and visions to life. Many of the DIY computer projects we’ve seen, while admirable, often fall short of looking ready for use or having enough power to actually be useful. That is what sets this “Mainboard Terminal” apart from the crowd for not only looking quite striking but also for having the literal guts of a modern laptop.

Designer: Penk Chen

The majority of projects we see that involve crafting your own computer often involve the Raspberry Pi or one of its cousins. These are small, low-power single-board computers or SBCs that are very easy on the pocket, making them a crowd favorite. The catch is that they don’t exactly have enough muscle to run most computing tasks, let alone something as heavy as Windows, not unless you’re an experienced Linux user that can get by with very minimal computing resources.

The RPi, as it is lovingly nicknamed, isn’t the only game in town, of course, and there are other SBCs out there that take things up a notch in terms of performance and software support, but the newest addition to that roster really changes the game. Although it’s primarily meant to repair or upgrade the world’s most modular and most repairable laptop, the Framework Mainboard can also be used as a standalone computer if you have the right parts to make it work. The catch? Prices start at $399 versus a Raspberry Pi’s humble $35.

Needless to say, hacker and modder extraordinaire Penk Chen took advantage of that openness to craft another out of this world computer. The same engineer introduced the world to his Penkesu pocket computer, ala a cyberdeck, and is now taking inspiration from a different genre. The off-white colorway, the chunky keycaps, and the curved silhouette will make it look at home on a retropunk TV set.

It’s not all looks, of course, because it has the beating heart of a typical laptop. It can run any operating system in theory, though its creator went with the free (as in speech) and open source Ubuntu Linux distribution for simplicity. As with his other projects, Chen provides the list of parts used as well as the files for 3D printing that oddly-shaped chassis. Most of these parts can be bought from online retailers, but, as usual, you’ll need access to a 3D printer one way or another.

The biggest strike against this otherwise usable computer is the 5-inch 1080×1080 round LCD screen. In addition to being smaller than your smartphone’s display, the square aspect ratio doesn’t work well with content and software that were designed with a rectangular screen in mind. Plus, the circular display means that parts of the screen will be cut off all the time. It’s a case of form over function, but since it’s a “normal” computer, it’s probably possible to design an external port that will connect to a second, more “normal” monitor as well.

The post This funky retro-futuristic computer is actually a laptop in disguise first appeared on Yanko Design.

Sci-Fi Inspired Computer Terminal With Round Monitor Is Space Ready

The Mainboard Terminal is the brainchild of computer modder Penk Chen, who drew inspiration from old sci-movies, which imagined a future a lot cooler than it actually is. The all-in-one computer uses a Framework Mainboard (which, unlike a Rasberry Pi, is capable of running x86 operating systems) running a version of Ubuntu 22.04 LT that’s been slightly modified to account for the round display. Commander, an enemy ship just appeared on our radar! God, I love playing space rangers.

The Mainboard, which replaces a traditional motherboard and most other hardware (it’s basically an Intel-powered, single-board computer), sits inside a custom 3D-printed case, which also houses a OLKB Preonic mechanical keyboard, perfect for complementing the computer’s retrofuturistic style. I love retrofuturistic style. Maybe that’s why I spend so much time playing Fallout. Plus, you know, it’s a great escape from real life.

Now Penk just needs to make it run off an onboard battery instead of AC power so it’s portable, and I’ve got myself a new mobile workstation! Are people going to stare at me on the subway? Of course, but is it the computer they’re staring at or my space suit? Who knows!

[via TechEBlog]

Bowler Hat Wall Sconces: Head Lights

Do you know what your home has been missing? Bowler hat wall sconces. It’s kind of hard to believe you’ve gone this long without them. Thankfully, LDLED has you covered with these 12W bowler-inspired sconces (affiliate link). I can’t see a bowler hat without thinking of René Magritte’s iconic painting The Son Of Man. But that’s just me, and I’m cultured. Like a pearl, except I’m terrified of the ocean and don’t even like dipping my toes in it.

The bowler hat wall sconces are available in black or white and either cool or warm-colored LEDs. The hats have to be hard-wired directly to a home’s existing electrical system though, meaning they’re NOT battery powered. That’s a shame because electricity and I don’t get along.

How many are you buying? I just bought one for every room in my apartment, which is one. It’s a studio. I guess I could technically count the bathroom as a second room, but it doesn’t actually have a door, just a curtain. This may explain why I’ve never had any friends come to more than one of my apartment parties.

[via DudeIWantThat]

Artist Creates Spaceballs Pizza the Hutt Toy Playset

Handcrafted in the style of vintage Kenner Star Wars toys, Retro Custom Art’s andytdesigns made this Spaceballs Pizza the Hutt action toy playset. Andy imagines the toy was made for a national Spaceballs x Pizza Hutt line of toys that were released to the public. I don’t know about you, but I need this in my life. In my office specifically, but only because I know my wife won’t allow it on my nightstand where it actually belongs.

Andy has also made several other custom Spaceballs action figures, most of which are available in his Etsy and eBay stores for around $50 – $75. Unfortunately, I didn’t see the Pizza the Hutt playset for sale (I dug deeper and found out he’s not selling it and only made it for an upcoming art show), which is a shame because that’s the one I wanted the most. Granted, I wouldn’t be able to afford it even if it was listed, but a boy can dream. I’m going to be a space ranger when I grow up!

I guess I’m left with no choice but to make my own. And if my version just so happens to be an actual piece of pizza with a pair of googly eyes stuck in the cheese, so be it. It’s not like my apartment doesn’t already have a rodent problem anyways.

[via LaughingSquid]

Giant Cassette Tape Pool Float Is The Perfect Summer Mixtape

Designed to look almost identical to a Maxell UR90 cassette tape, the Maxchill Classic Cassette Tape Pool Float (affiliate link) from LÔTELI is perfect for floating around a pool reminiscing about all the mixtapes you used to make for girlfriends or boyfriends back in the ’80s and ’90s. And I made the best mixtapes, just so we’re clear. I only wish I’d asked for them back when we inevitably broke up.

The oversized float measures 72″ x 46″ to comfortably fit one adult or two children or uncomfortably fit two adults or four children. Stop elbowing me; I’m trying to tan! Gosh, I bet I still have a whole bunch of random Maxell tapes lying around here somewhere. And probably in a box labeled JUNK.

Is my body summer and pool ready? Of course not, but that’s not going to stop me from showing off my ghost-white physique at every pool party I’m invited to. Or, I should say, IF I’m invited to any. I swear, you pee in the pool one time, and all of a sudden, the invites dry up like a desert.

[via DudeIWantThat]

Cassette Tape Power Bank Keeps Your Music Playing Longer

Because retro is always in, tech company Remax has created a portable power bank in the form factor of a cassette tape. That sure brings back memories, doesn’t it? I wonder if you have to stick a pencil in the reel to rewind it. I’m joking, there is no rewinding – it’s a power bank. In that case, I’d like to make a withdrawal. Joking again, different kind of bank.

Available through AliExpress, the power bank cassette is available in red and yellow, packs a 10000mAh battery, and features 18W USB/USB-C ports for fast charging, and a 22.5W USB-C for super-fast charging, allowing for a full charge in around 60-minutes. That’s not bad. Granted it’s not instantaneous, but we’re not living in the future just quite yet.

Now they just need to make compact disc and 8-track versions and the holy trinity of bygone media power banks will be complete! And if they were smart, the 8-track power bank would be oversized and powerful enough to charge the car battery and vibrating bed in a shaggin’ wagon. Groovy!

Guy Mods ’90s Hot Wheels PC Into High Performance Gaming System

The 1990s Hot Wheels PC: it made the top of my Christmas list three years in a row, and I never got one. But enough about how expensive therapy is now, below is a video of Shank Mod’s journey to pack a top-of-the-line gaming PC into the body of one of those bright blue PCs with the flame job. And what a journey it is! You know they say every journey starts with a single step, but I’ve started many with a stumble and skinned knees.

The original Hot Wheels PC came with an Intel Celeron 333MHz processor, 3GB hard drive, 32MB of memory, a 56k modem, 32X CD ROM drive, a 15″ CRT monitor and ran Windows 98. It retailed for $899 and was worth every penny as far as I was concerned. Of course, it’s basically an electric-powered rock by today’s standards.

All said and done; Shank managed to stuff the old case with an AMD Ryzen 9 5950X processor, Gigabyte X570 Aorus Mini-ITX motherboard, ASUS X570-I ROG Strix Mini-ITX motherboard, an EVGA NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 XC graphics card, G.Skill Trident Z Neo Series RGB 128GB (4 x 32GB) RAM, a Samsung 980 Pro 2TB SSD, and an LG WH16NS40 16x Internal Blu-Ray Rewriter.

Interestingly, he uses three original Hot Wheels CRT monitors for the display, citing the frame rate benefits of CRTs and the ability to crank all game settings up to max without hindrance. It’s so beautiful I could cry. I could also cry remembering 10-year old me opening a box I thought was a Hot Wheels PC but turned out to be a popcorn maker. Now I can’t even smell popcorn without getting nauseous.

[via Gizmodo]