How to Make Your Own Wireless Adapter

By Marshal M. Rosenthal

A wireless adapter lets your laptop receive Wi-Fi signals from a Wi-Fi transmitter that is part of your wireless home network. Build your own wireless adapter that will be able to receive signals from the transmitter even though you are far away, for example, in your backyard. Building a directional wireless adapter requires a few supplies that you can obtain from a grocery store, hobby shop and electronics supplier. Tools that most households already have are needed as well. The cost of your wireless adapter will be minimal, but its receptive capabilities will be as good, if not better, than those costing much more.

Things You'll Need

  • Potato chip tube
  • Bowl
  • Paper towel
  • White glue
  • Aluminum foil roll
  • Ruler
  • Utility knife
  • #000 sandpaper
  • USB cable, 6 feet
  • USB Wi-Fi adapter
  • Laptop

Step 1

Remove the lid and the foil covering from the top of an empty potato chip tube. Wipe out the tube with a paper towel moistened in tap water. Dry out the tube with a dry paper towel. Dispose of the used paper towels, the foil and the potato chip lid.

Step 2

Stand the tube on a table. Put white glue on your index finger. Rub the white glue from your finger down the length of the tube on one side. Repeat this procedure with more white glue after rotating the tube in a one-quarter turn. Rotate the tube another one-quarter turn and repeat the procedure with the white glue. Use a paper towel to wipe off the glue on your finger.

Step 3

Place strips of aluminum foil vertically into the tube so that they cover the sides. Press the foil against the sides with your fingers to adhere them to the glued sides. Let the glue set for 1 hour before proceeding. Apply a line of white glue around the open end of the tube. Wrap a strip of aluminum foil around the top of the tube so that the rim is covered. Smooth down the foil with your fingers. Let the glue set for 1 hour before proceeding.

Step 4

Use a ruler to measure 4 inches up from the bottom of the tube. Cut a hole in the side of the tube with a utility knife that is 1 inch in diameter. Scrape inside the hole with the utility knife's blade to smooth the edges. Further smooth the edges with sandpaper.

Step 5

Wad a ball of aluminum foil. Apply white glue to the bottom of the ball. Drop the ball into the tube. Push the ball against the bottom of the tube with the end of a ruler. Let the glue set for 1 hour before proceeding.

Step 6

Insert one end of a USB cable into the USB connector on the bottom of the USB Wi-Fi adapter. Push the USB Wi-Fi adapter through the hole into the tube. Up-end the tube and catch the adapter in your hand.

Step 7

Apply white glue to one side of the adapter. Place the adapter into the tube, USB connector down. Press the side of the adapter that has the glue on it against the side of the tube just above the hole. Hold the adapter against the side of the tube for 2 minutes so that the glue can take hold. Release the adapter. Let the glue set for 1 hour before proceeding.

Step 8

Go outside in your backyard. Place the tube next to your laptop. Plug the free end of the USB cable into a USB port on the laptop. Turn the open end of your wireless directional adapter in the general direction of the Wi-Fi transmitter that is in your home.