Last week I took apart my old and recently-broken Sonicare toothbrush, to remove the batteries before throwing the rest away. I thought the insides were interesting, and that others might like to see.
I pried open the case with two flathead screwdrivers; it cracked cleanly down the sides. Then I snipped the wires connecting the circuit board, and popped out the batteries (which turned out to be really normal “AA” NiCad rechargeables, except that they had leads soldered directly to the contacts — This was actually quite a disappointment, since, with such standard batteries, they should be easily replaceable… but to get at them you have to tear the whole toothbrush apart, breaking the housing, and destroying the whole thing).
The inside contains:
- circuit board
- two coils of wire, one on the bottom (next to where it would sit in the charger), and the other at the top (next to where the brush head attaches)
- a magnet at the base
… seems like the base is magnetically coupled to the charger, so that the current is passed from the charger to the coil in the toothbrush base via a magnetic field. This inductive coupling is not terribly efficient, but allows you to have a toothbrush that is completely sealed/waterproof, and that at least gives the perception of being safer due to a lack of metal contacts ((Draft Battery Charger Energy Star Standard)).
At some advanced point while I was cleaning my desk the other day, I had two piles: assorted paper to recycle, and a collection of pens and pencils. Nowhere to put the pens and pencils. So I took the thickest sheet of paper in the recycle stack (a scratch sheet of 8.5″x11″ Tufte graph paper… ooh…), and folded it into a pencil holder, which I taped to my wall.
There’s something very satisfying about using a piece of trash to make something useful, and the process doesn’t have to be elaborate. I hope to incorporate more re-use like this into my life; it’s one of the best ways to craft daily.
Next half-project: I’ll use cardboard strips to attach shoeboxes to the underside of the door that I’m using as a desk (courtesy of Brent), and attach pulls at the front of the shoeboxes so that they can be used as drawers. When I move out next June, I will just remove the boxes, put the tops back on, and ship ‘em home.
“When we craft, even half-assed, we make something from nothing; we create rather than just consume.”
– from Jean Railla’s blurb in the most recent issue of Craft magazine, defending the “lazy crafter”