Do you like to do nothing?

Introducing the Do-nothing Machine. As the name suggest it does absolutely positively nothing useful. Sure it may entertain some people for a few minutes, last about an hour on me, but it still does nothing.

This is a fairly easy machine to build. Takes a few hours to cut out the pieces and a few more to glue together and let dry. I have chosen a simple layered design so that those without a router or other means of cutting a T slot could easily complete this project.

I used Pro/Engineer 4.0, a CAD program, to draw up my design and to determine the dimensions. The drawings are provided as a .PDF at this step for download. They will also be provided as pictures in the next step.

Step 1: Cut Everything Out.

  • 1/4 inch plywood. I found some cabinet grade scraps in my shop. Any type will do it just depends on how well you wish the finish to look.
  • 4X 1/8 inch washers
  • 2X 1/8 inch by 3/4 inch long pop rivets
  • 1/2 inch by 1/8 inch steel, brass or other strong material to make a lever.

Cut out all the required pieces any way you find easy. I used a miter saw so that I could keep them a square as possible. You could use any assortment of tools such as a miter saw, table saw, jig saw, hand saw, mill (if you really like things square) and any other type of saw. How they are cut out is not as important as the parts and dimensions themselves. The important thing is that you keep as close the the dimensions as possible, especially the slider parts and lever. See step four before you cut out the slider pieces. Also refer to this step and step six before cutting the lever.

The pictures provided are exactly the same as those in the .PDF

If you find any of the drawings unclear please point that out to me so that I may correct them.
<p>cool machine! now at least i have something to accompany me to do nothing.</p>
I do a lot of nothing already... It's great that now I have a machine to help me with doing nothing!
Just has a quick look through the comments, but a few people have got it right - its for drawing elipses as it turns rotary motion into an elliptical path - if you ever see an old mirror or window thats elliptical, chances are it was cut using one of these
thanks for the idea, i just made a knex version with a motor ;-)
Ooo... Very nice. I want to hear it sing!
well, if you want to try to hear knex rub each other over the motor then i could post a video...(and i put more powerful motor on it to make it go faster ;-)
I made a version out of Legos that has a 5:1 gear ratio so if you turn the handle 2x per second, you can get 600 RPMs!
I rememer making on of these machines out of Lego's form this one little book. It really is entertaining!
Same here I believe it had 4 pieces that moved instead of the 2 here.
yeah i remember that lego book
It was the Klutz book of lego... i loved that book.....
i have that book
Did it have like a lego candy machine? Thats one of the book's projects.
yeah it had the m&m dispensor
how did ALL of you have that. me myself LOVE to build with legos. i invented a lego gun. what year did the lego book you guys are talking about come out?
I got mine at a target, like 2 years ago.
It's called Lego Crazy Action Contraptions. It's by Klutz and it comes with all the necessary pieces. There are actually two versions of it. The older one is better though.<br>http://www.amazon.com/Lego-Crazy-Action-Contraptions-Inventions/dp/1570541574 (older)<br><br>http://www.klutz.com/book/Lego-Crazy-Action-Contraptions (newer)<br>
i see a fellow gimper :)
What, you mean my avatar? I made in Photoshop =]<br/>
oh lol im to broke to use photoshop
GIMPer! (you do know its an acronym, right?)
YES!!! Lego Crazy Action Contraptions by Klutz!!
&gt;Scanning&lt;<br><br>&gt;Huge grin here&lt;<br><br>[Insert chuckle of laughter here.]
u do realize that this does nthn, right? haha 5 stars love it :)
Well done ! Good Instructable :D
these things are quite interesting, when i was younger i had always wondered how they worked, but isnt it surprising that it can be so fun to do nothing?
I made one too out of wood.. Its excellent to play with!<br><br>I call mine the &quot;Fascination Grinder&quot; I also added some walking gears to the pivots.. because its not interesting enough already.. :P<br><br>http://fle33.com/content/the-fascination-grinder/<br><br>Without reading your instructable at all I will give the following tip.. If you lightly sand the pieces in the direction of the travel of the shuttles. Then you shouldnt need lube. Also after about an hour of use mine is now much easier to turn. Just needs to bed in a little I guess.<br><br>Mart.
I suggest adding some sort of lubricant. It will slide easier. Some kind of grease or something.
Apparently it is called a &quot;Trammel of Archimedes&quot;.<br><br><br>Wikipedia confirms that, and they are never wrong.
sometimes wikipedia is wrong
Did I forget to sign my post with /s?
This is not a do nothing machine. It is a mechanical computer. You could use it to determine orbits, vectors, curves, and ellipses.<br> <br> <a href="http://www.constructorscorner.net/ideas_and_gadgets/math/math_hunch/hunch_00001/hunches_section0006/do_nothing_machine.html">Click Here</a>
I made one something like this in shop a few years ago, except it was square block of wood with two perpendicular &nbsp;grooves in it and two slightly smaller corresponding parts attached to a handle.
I had one of these from many years ago. It was from the Redding Railroad Museum in California. It actually has a purpose. It was a demonstration of converting linear motion to elliptical. Break out your old model train set and have a look.
&nbsp;It can draw elipses :D so its not a do nothing machine ^^
Lego made a set similar to this I think.
One of my customers had one of these and showed it to me asking if I could if I could figure out what it was for. After playing with it for a few minutes he showed me the label on the bottom - it said "Bullshit Grinder"
that is seriously coooooooooooooool........
I have one of these, they are an antique toy.
Absolutely marvelous machine! I have to make one for myself and know already that I will spent countless time playing with it.<br/>I googled for do-nothing-machine and found <a rel="nofollow" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing_grinder">this link</a> on wikipedia.<br/>I just love the name &quot;bullshit grinder&quot;....<br/>Thanks for posting!<br/>
Only after I posted the above I looked at the statistics of my google search. It found an amazing 23,900,000 links for the search words "do nothing machine". Man if definitively an passionate for anything that "works", even if it does nothing (that is not true for this one).
If you went fast enough with it, you could use it to light fires... :P
perhaps if the sides were of flint and the middle pieces were metal...
Not if you base it on the "Rubbing 2 sticks together" principle, friction generates heat, heat creates hot embers, hot embers on tinder become fire... :)
But then the thing would light on fire in your hand XD
That was the joke... :P
lolz I get it now.
Tis called a Kentucky do-nothing if I am correct. Very cool, anyway.
The colloquial name across the country is "Bullsh*t Grinder". When someone was telling a tall-tale you'd get it out and start turning it until they asked what you were doing. "I'm running that story of yours through my bullsh*t grinder!" They've been around for centuries (both, grinder and bullsh*t stories, well mated, the internet could use a massive digital one). And as others have discovered, the motion is eloquently elliptical. A friend built one out of aluminum stock on his Unimat decades ago using dovetail slots and sliders, putting in arm-length adjusters for the length of the axes so he can cut bevelled oval-mats for artwork in any dimensions and eccentricity desired. Quite the handy device for being just an old-timer's "Bullsh*t Grinder". :)
I'm pretty sure it depends on the region you are in, the first time i read about one of these is wast just called an elliptical machine, or something like that.

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Bio: Full time Mechanical Engineer
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