So many useless machines are built, why building another one? Simply, it is really fun :), fun to build and fun to play with.

I tried to give this version a character, as I always felt there is somebody  "thinking inside the box", so here I tried, I hope I succeeded to give "her" a life!

I am really happy to share with you all the steps, with all hopes that you will be easily building yours and giving it a bitter or better character! My version is based on Arduino, you may think it is an overkill, but given the flexibility it gave me, I think it is worth it.

Here is a video of everything  put all together. Later, we will move into the parts, steps, schematics and code

Let me know your comments and/or questions if any.

Hope you enjoy!

Step 1: How it works?

Everything is connected to an Arduino board, the board waits till the switch is set to logic HIGH , that is, when you flick the switch, the board signals two servo motors to move in a specific way (more on that later), after which, the servo connected to the "hand" will flick the switch back to OFF-position, and return back into the box, followed by the "door" servo. then everything repeats.

If you saw the above video, each time the switch is toggled, the machine responds in a different way, and this is done by simply writing different functions with different timings in the Arduino code, (I am calling them "Moves"). Each time the switch is toggled, I am calling a new move until all are done, I start over. note that in step 9, I provided another version of the code that picks random moves instead of sequential. You can add as many moves as you want, as long you have enough memory on the Arduino.

The Arduino is always ON, this is why I added a switch for the battery to save some power when the machine is not in use. I am already planning to use an interrupt on the switch, instead of the current simple HIGH/LOW detection, and coupling it with sleep mode. This shall save power when the machine is not in use ,and also allowing it to be always ready (but this will also complicate the code) So, for now, it is just a simple ON/OFF switch, and the board is always powered.
<p>Thanks for this! I made my first Arduino project based on this instructable: a useless dragon!</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="281" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/LH0Lt-SLcoc" width="500"></iframe></p>
<p>Your dragon machine is awesome. !!! Artistic</p>
<p>You are awesome :) !!!</p><p>Great personality for a Dragon! I wish you can redo the video while having the dragon directly facing the camera (top-view), I feel this will be hilarious, so see the tongue sneaking<span style="font-size: 15.0px;"> out!</span></p><p>Thanks for sharing your video and glad my i'able has helped</p>
<p>I tried top view in an earlier stage but it didn't work (saw too much of the messy insides) so I dismissed it when I took this video. I think you are right though: in the final stage it would've looked great! Unfortunately I already gave the dragon away... So on to the next project!</p>
Code helped a lot. Thanks
<p>AWESOME!! :) would be great if you an post a video too :)</p>
Very fun! hard job fixing the servos and design the hand. Thanks for this instructable!
<p>Great work man! really nice :) any video?</p>
Watch the video on it first then laugh you ass off
<p>I know I did ! :D </p>
Super cool the video made it seem like it had a mind of its own<br>
My useless machine with arduino and riachis code! Made into a tardis from Dr.who. :) <br> <br>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDs0T52o6-M
LOVE IT!!!! :)) really well done man, so happy to see your bombbox alive! I also the dramatization and the music :p just can't stop myself to suggest 3 small modifications if i may:)? <br> <br>- it would be great to put the machine in standing position, i know that this will make lose the help of gravity to close the door, but a simple solution is to put 2 rubber bands attached to the inside of the door on one side and to the inner side of the box for the other end, this will make the door close when the door servo is closing...check my build steps,you will see the rubber band in Step 6... <br> <br>- also what about painting the hands in black, it will be more sneaky and slick <br>! Also the hand tip can be painted in bloody red or decorated with a crazy face or something like that.. <br> <br>- remove the last move as nothing happens in it(supposed to be the one the moves the box) and write your own move... <br> <br>Nevertheless, forget the suggestions,i loved your machineeee! And thanks for the so many thanks man, please you can reduce them and keep the video focused on the machine :) <br> <br>Hope your gf liked it!
Hahah Thank you for the compliments :) I actually wanted to do much more to it but because of the time crunch I couldn't fit in a lot of the details i wanted to. I would like to add some color to the arms but didn't have time for those. And I wanted to draw a face on the arm with a sharpie but its already wrapped up and ready to give to her for Christmas. Hehehe. I think she'll love it. I also did want to have it stand up but was afraid the rubber bands would put too much weight on the servos. The door is already pretty heavy. The last move I kept because it keeps you in suspense waiting for it to pop out. Hahaha but I appreciate all the help my friend! Definitely worth it!
This I have to make...it's awesome
This is the first project I've seen using an Arduino where I thought, &quot;Yeah, that's worth it. Now I have to get one.&quot; Fantastic job!
Wow, awesome take on a common project! Love your spin on making it more interesting!
One man's useless device is another's totally awesome, out of this world, we'll thought out, fun to have, coveted by many, useless device. Thanks for your updates to the project. Thanks for posting.
Thought 1: Using an Arduino for this is just ridiculous overkill <br>Thought 2: After watching the video-Using an Arduino for this is just pure genius! <br> <br>I bow down to your creativity!
Thats seriously great! Kind of reminds me of a Wall-E personality. Thanks for such a great project!
Truly useless! Nice 'ible. I'm inspired and need to build one for my desk. Thanks.
PLEASE TAKE MY MONEY <br>i realy realy want that thing
Glad I watched the video to the end. It was already entertaining, but the twist was brilliant.
Ha, i nearly pissed my self watching the vid! <br>Got some personality. <br>Way cool, well done. <br>
Finally! A Christmas present my in-laws will enjoy! I love thus!
Best useless machine I've seen! It is on my build list... for sure! I have lots of RC stuff, so all I need is an arduino now :) <br> <br>thanks for sharing!
fantastic! <br>
So awesome!
This is useless... <br>I like it !! ^.^ <br>nice job, like how you make it &quot;come to life&quot;
This is awesome. Can't wait to see all your improvements and (maybe) a new video. This is a great candidate for a halloween candy bowl... thingiee! Instead of physical switch, a photo resistor to detect candy removal. KEWL.... keep it up!
go for it chaosrob! let me know if i can help!
Cool. Very creative adding the &quot;taunting&quot; and &quot;side&quot; moves. You have inspired me to add this to my list of projects . Thanks for posting and sharing.
Please let me know when you build yours! thanks
I like the personality! Very funny
<p>I'm not able to make a hardware debouce, how would I wire the SPST switch and where would the code be added?</p>
You was right the problem was with the code. one more issue I'm having the door servo just needed to change from 80 to 40 to work with my box but the hand needs to be at 110 instead of 0 in your code to be hiding and 11 is where it cuts the switch off I went thru and changed the 0 to 110 the 129 to 11 changed the &gt; to&lt; and + to - and vise versa yet the hand still doesn't function properly I'm assuming my servo is 180 out and the box I used swapping the servo isn't really an option is there anything else that would need to be changed in the code in order for this to work? also I changed the values at the beginning of the code to 40 for the door and 110 for the hand so they start from the hiding position also should note your code worked as intended if I flipped the switch when it was suppose to trigger it the hand just starts at the switch and goes to hiding instead of hiding then hitting the switch. any help would be greatly appreciated!!
I got everything wired up and the code loaded but it just continues to go thru all the moves regardless of the switch position. I done the hardware denounce with no reset button or the motor shelf as I did not do the DC motor to make the box move. I undid the switch and with a wire in the #2 pin hooked to nothing on the other end it still good thru the moves continuously. I'm sure I've got something wired up wrong. could you clarify where the resistor and capacitor connects to and also clarify the wires hooked to the inverter. I bought everything exactly as you mentioned and using the uno board.
Hello,<br><br>put the switch wire to Ground, will it continue? if yes, then most probably the issue is in the code.. avoid copy/paste the code from the form, but instead use the code file attached in the instruct able.<br><br>you can also send me the code you are using, I can have a quick look.<br><br>cheers<br>f.
Ok will do thank you!!!<br>
I had a quick question i was hoping someone could answer. I found that the board you recommended was no longer sold and reading the comments you recommended the nano board. My question is does the schematic you drawed still work for that board to hook everything up and will the code to run it be the same. I'm a newbie to electronics this is my first project and hate to go in blind seeing i can't get the exact parts you used. Any advice would be greatly appriciated!
Hello,<br>get the Uno. It will work exactly the same.<br><br>Enjoy!
Using a nano board instead of the decimila does everything wire up the same and does the code to program it the same also? Looking up the nano board I'm showing different types could you shed some light on what I'm looking for as I'm new to all this? Thanks for your time!
<p>Thank you for sharing this with us. I started making my box. But instead of the rc engine i have a 5v smoke generator. I ordered the same parts you listed eaven the engine shield. Can i just change the dc engine with my smoke and change the code a little in the end? Eaven if its not nessesary will it work? And also will my batteri be okei to use? </p>
<p>problem: the code works, but it does th emoves over and over, even if the switch isn't on. i think that is a problem with the debounce, i don't understand how i implement a software debounce? can anyone help me?</p>
<p>Well, it's finished. The hardest part is definitely the woodworking to create the mounts for the servos, and mostly the fingers to lift the lid and turn the switch off, and affixing it all to the box/servos.</p><p>BUT, I'm having an issue with the code. The moves work fine individually when I set TestMove to a single move, but when I turn it back to sequence through, the sequence doesn't progress through as I expect. It seems to mostly do the main move, and occasionally throw one or two of the other moves in, yet never hit a couple of the later moves at all.</p>
<p>Well, I figured out WHAT is wrong, but haven't figured out WHY yet. I noticed that almost every time the switch is thrown and the unit operates, the yellow light on the board flashes like the Reset button is being pressed, or the power switch was turned off and back on. But every now and then, it does NOT reset (the yellow light does not flash) on an operation, and then it transitions to the next routine correctly. But it never makes it beyond about the 3rd routine before the board resets again. So I've got to have something in the electrical circuit that's causing the board to reset. OR, I wonder if the board has enough power that maybe the power dips low enough when the servos are moving that it resets the board. I'm powering it off of 8 AA batteries. Eventually I'll used rechargeables but right now they are just alkalines.</p>
great, you are almost done :). nice catch about the board reset!<br>I would definitely recommend changing the battery to a rechargeable one with higher discharge capacity, this to cater for sudden demand on current when the switch being moved by the hand and if the user is resisting the servo..also you can add a 100mF polarised capacitor parallel to the +/- leads of the servos, to help smoothing the voltage dips upon move of the servo. make sure you correctly put the positive lead of the capacitor on the +5v, and the negative on the ground<br>good luck! <br>would love to see a video once you are done! :)

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