Engineers seldom have enough time for anything other than completing their professional projects before the deadline arrives.

In those rare instances when free time does become available, some engineers do what they do best ─ design and build projects at home that are both fun and functional. With the abundance of single board computers (SBCs) like the Udoo or Raspberry Pi, designing is easier than ever. No more laying our full PCBs for raw components for our hobbies anymore. This type of development is our heart’s desire… just pure creativity. Think outside the norm, and catapult off of these compact powerhouses.

I have often written about what SBCs are available or coming out. I never delve into what you can do with these boards in short order, and effort is some cases.

Simply Google ‘engineering projects’ and you’ll find literally countless ideas (with a lot geared towards kids) that deal with everything from robotics to automation and everything in between. Most entries provide a ‘how-to’ so others can build their own, others go beyond that with making their tech open-source, so not only can you replicate them, you can also modify them to your liking without any legal ramifications. It’s inspiring to see the deluge SBCs have brought.

If SBCs still find themselves on your back-burning, now’s the time to bring them front and center. These boards can take anyone beyond their skill level, through projects already worked out. Hand-holding in the beginning is great, then we get to refine. Overcome and obstacle and learn at the same time. No nothing of motion control? RF still a mystery? New programming languages? RFID experience? Robotics? There is nothing an SBC hasn’t been used for. It’s the challenge that makes it fun and continued learning is embedded in almost every engineer on the planet and is one of the main mitigating factors behind innovation.

In the slideshow, we will take a look at some projects that standout from the typical designs plastered on most every Maker/engineering website. These projects link to DIY guides for each, so you know. Feel like automating a vehicle, stop-motion movies or creating your own DSLR photo booth? Alternatively, maybe RC vehicles and drones are your idea of fun projects. Those and other unusual projects can be found in this roundup.

Click here to continue to the gallery.