Introduction: The Headache Machine

Picture of The Headache Machine

No this is not a Virtual Boy from 1994, it is however an amazing device that you yourself can create in about 30 minutes. To good to be true you say? That’s what people said about the Flowbee. This Instructable is for those of you who have a complete disregard for yourself and those unfortunate enough to be anywhere near you. Actually building this device can lead to hearing damage, loss of balance and other inner ear problems, and a sudden loss of friends. You may also find that your pets and loved ones have abandoned you.

Step 1: Ingredients:

Picture of Ingredients:


This is our first Instructable so we decided to keep it simple. These are the parts you will need in order of importance. Feel free to substitute any of these items for what you have available to you of course why even bother making it if you’re going to be like that.

1. A Holy Relic: We chose a fine paraffin candle from our local pharmacy. While obviously a reproduction it will still bestow luck and fortune to your device.

2. A Project Box: It’s like an Altoids tin for someone who wants what they are working on to look good and not smell like a curiously strong piece of crap.

3. A Battery: We chose a 9-volt in case this device functioned properly and we were attacked by a roommate or loved one. The added weight of the battery will make the Headache machine more lethal if thrown in the vicinity of a person’s face or groin.

4. A Battery Harness: You could just solder the leads directly to the battery. You could also cut your own hand off if you really wanted to but just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it.

5. A Switch: We chose a 12VDC Toggle Switch with Safety Cover. While you can purchase these at your local electronics retail store we recommend springing for the “real deal” and getting one out of a Soviet era Mig fighter. It’s really worth the extra effort.

6. A Piezo Buzzer: This is also known as a Piezo Speaker. We chose a 76dB 6-18VDC buzzer. This guy is a nice balance of price, size, and obnoxious noise. You could mount two or more buzzers or batteries to influence frequency and output. We were going to hook this device up to a scope to get more information but instead we ate birthday cake.

Step 2: Switch Installation

Picture of Switch Installation

Switch Installation:

1. Pick a spot on the test box for the switch. Keep in mind you have to fit everything in the box and close it so leave room for the battery, the buzzer, wires, and any contraband you deem necessary to hide.

2. Drill a hole. We suggest drilling a smaller hole or “pilot hole” to help guide to the final drill bit in the right location. If you don’t not have access to a drill please wait to complete this project until after reading our next Instructable on converting a common household mixer into a powerful drill. Unfortunately we are only 1/3 the way through the 18 tins of Altoids necessary to complete this project.

3. The final hole should be roughly the same size as the switch. If the hole is too small make it larger, however if it is too large we recommend filling the hole with automotive body filler and attaching a spoiler.

4. Test fit the switch in its newly drilled home you are going to be removing it so you can attach the buzzer. Does the switch fit snugly? Is the switch on the outside of the box? Is there enough room for the other components? If and only if you answered yes to these questions may you go ahead to the second part of the assembly. If you did not answer yes to these questions please consult your manual pages 121 – 148.

Step 3: Buzzer Installation

Picture of Buzzer Installation

Buzzer Installation

1. Find a suitable place for you buzzer to go. We recommend making a small hole roughly the same size as the hole in the buzzer so sound can pass freely and safely from inside the test box to the outside. This also allows to “play” the Headache Machine as a music instrument by placing your finger over the hole and removing it changing the tone of the sound.

2. Attach the buzzer to the box with adhesive. Epoxy, Super Glue, Gorilla Glue, Model Glue, or Wallpaper paste will all probably work for this. We chose PVC cement due to the fact that it was in the room and we didn’t have to walk far and because it smells terrific!

Step 4: Soldering and Final Assembly

Picture of Soldering and Final Assembly

Soldering and Final Assembly:

1. Solder the black lead from the buzzer and the black lead from the battery harness to the prong labeled “Ground” on the Switch. If you’re switch is not labeled just guess. You have roughly a 33% chance of getting it right and who’s going to know if you guessed wrong anyway?

2. Solder the remaining red lead from the buzzer to one empty prong on the switch and the remaining red lead from the battery harness to the remaining empty prong on the switch. If you do not have access to a soldering iron try using the heat of your stove to solder the components together. It is suggested that you not use lead based solder if you plan on continuing to cook on this stove.

3. After the solder is cool to the touch (try getting someone else to touch it in case they are not yet cool) reinstall the switch and tighten the plastic nut to secure the switch on the test box. Try and line it up straight or people who see it will think poorly of you.

4. Connect the battery to the harness and place it in the test box. If this is done correctly testing the switch should produce a harmonious sound that can be compared to a dentist drill playing on an Electric Light Orchestra LP.

5. If you’re Headache Machine works correctly place the project box cover on with the 4 supplied screws. This will require a screwdriver or a shank of some kind. If you need information on making a shank please see other future Instructables where we show you how to fashion one out of a toothbrush handle and a razorblade.

Step 5: Finished


You have (hopefully) successfully completed the assembly of you’re very own Headache Machine. Use it for good or evil, take it shopping and leave it on in your pocket, or take it to a party and leave it on a table the future is bright when you spend your time creating things that annoy and anger your friends and loved ones.

Below is a link to a video of our Headache Machine hopefully your device functions similarly.


Game players (author)2016-04-19


Game players (author)2016-04-19

Hey everyone I figured out a way to keep your battery from over heating use a traitor

Game players (author)2016-04-18

+noah472 are you sure that the positive and begative aren't touching

Game players (author)2016-04-18

This is great

zork the destroyer (author)2015-07-01

So simple, so cheap. Make many and leave them places. I enjoyed your humor.

noah472 (author)2011-01-11

my battary is getting really realy hot is there a reason why

dczupik (author)noah4722011-11-16

oh, im sorry, i said that before i made, i had the same problem, your switch has to have a ground and it has to be connected right otherwise it will heat up

dczupik (author)noah4722011-11-13

im pretty sure that one of the wires is loosely connected somewhere, it makes a spark each time you turn it on, and for some reason it heats up the battery, atleast that was my problem, idk for sure

bman2011 (author)2011-09-06

same here, my batt getting hot when I use this thing

bman2011 (author)2011-09-04

Holy Cow!
I bought all this stuff,follow your guide to putting it together, and the damm thing works! This thing is great, I use it to wake my kids up for school, as they drag there asses out of bed! It was a great test of my soldering skills as well. I have two questions for DCI: Can you make the buzzer loader?
Could I add a laser diode to this for a laser trip alarm? More power and bigger box? Thank you again for this, I look forward to posting some photos, and building another one asap. BEN

wcrooks (author)2011-08-03

What size is the project box?

BrefelanDesigns (author)2011-02-21

Ha ha - great minds DO think alike!
I was (am) building something similar to this but I would have a relay that would latch it in an on state until a "reset" switch was pushed or otherwise activated.

ducktape100 (author)2010-12-03

i just made one yesterday it is really cool i got to big of a project box but that is all I bought all my stuff at radio shack i made it in about 1:00 hour you should all make one

younglm (author)2010-11-29

You make a "Shiv", which is the device used to stab someone. typically in a prison. The act of stabbing someone with the "shiv" is " shanking" or "to shank".

Noun = "shiv"
Verb = "shank"

adrian.robb (author)2010-11-29

TeeHee - for a moment I thought Jesus was pulling the fingers there :P

ProjectZro (author)2009-01-18

this is nice now only if you could fit a pic chip to set it off at a certain time lol annoying grenade

Make it like a real grenade, try find a "fake" grenade case and modify it with a PIC/ AVR so you pull the pin, throw it and it makes a really really loud sound with BIGGER buzzer! :)

Forget PIC's. hardwire with these things called capacitors resistors and transistors.

MatrixPhreak (author)Antikythera2010-11-27

Here here! Though I am often times also guilty of slapping a mcu into a project that doesn't need that kind of functionality. Ahhh, overkill. Though I do miss the days of piezo speakers and capacitors, it takes me back.

lol yeah... :)

fine. Im just jealous cause my programing isn't so good.

iamunique127 (author)2010-11-28

This is the most humourous and entertaining Instructable I've read yet.
I will send this one to many freinds.
Thanks for the fun read.

BTW my manual is missing page 128.

unanonymous (author)2010-11-24

what's a flowbee?

sticksnpicks (author)unanonymous2010-11-26

A hair-cutting device that's combined with a vacuum.

unanonymous (author)sticksnpicks2010-11-27


Derrickvi (author)2010-11-27

I don't usually comment on anything. But this has been the most entertaining 'ible I've ever read.

PyroMonger (author)2009-02-05

Just finished building my headache machine but i modified it slightly by making it remote controlled. I ripped out the transmitter and receiver from a cheap RC toy car I had and connected the receiver to the buzzer. Now I have to find an inconspicuous case for the receiver so no one will know who is setting it off.

Any ideas anyone?

ducktape100 (author)PyroMonger2010-11-27

how big was your project box;

boygenuis32 (author)PyroMonger2010-11-26

store the buzzer portion in one of those 'Wall Wart' plug-in power supplies, and use that to power and inconspicuously hide the buzzer.
As for the activator, put it on the back of your cell. While you look like you're texting, you're actually annoying the hell out of random people.

realmassage (author)PyroMonger2010-11-26

I was actually thinking of hard wiring it to a motion sensor . . . . . maybe have some kind of timer, like in auto alarms, so it only goes for a little bit . . . .

 if you were to get a small pushbutton switch, and put the receiver and a few button cell batteries in a pen or even a hollowed out broken ipod, phone or like me who has like 100 a TV remote.

mettaurlover (author)PyroMonger2009-07-26

try running the leads to a switch glued to oyur watch and wear long sleeves or just make it small enough an dhave atoggle switch for the activator in your pocket.

PyroMonger (author)mettaurlover2009-07-26

not a bad idea but I was thinking more along the lines of building it into a cellphone case or something so people would think I'm just using my phone conveniently at the same time the buzzer goes off. _

mettaurlover (author)PyroMonger2009-07-26

what kind of phone do you have? if it can be connected to a computer, you can write(or find) a program that the phone can run to send out a signal at the frequency of the reciever. therefore: you can activate it at almost any distance with your phone. kinda evil, but if you have a security cam in your room and can monitor it with your phone you can leave a few of these things in there as a trap.

PyroMonger (author)mettaurlover2009-07-27

my current phone probably does not support this (sony ericsson w350i) but I'm upgrading soon to the Xperia X1. Hopefully that can do it but I have little to no knowledge of programming so that's my next dilemma but I love your ideas

mettaurlover (author)PyroMonger2009-07-31

thanks. sorry about the phone, though. if it has a memory card slot then you can put the program on that for it, or maybe find the phone number that has the exact frequency of the reciever. that's why cell phones don't get that much static; they each have a unique frequency that can only be keyed in by the coontrol tower-thingy.

PyroMonger (author)mettaurlover2009-08-01

yea my phone does have a memory card slot....I'll try working from there. thanks

mettaurlover (author)PyroMonger2009-08-02

welcome. your phone may not be able to run programs from the card, though...

Madrias357 (author)PyroMonger2009-05-15

Place for the buzzer: some item commonly seen. Place for the device triggering buzzer: something you're normally seen with.

alaskanbychoice (author)2010-11-27

Needs a timer in line that is random so that it will go off at random times for random lengths of time.

ducktape100 (author)2010-11-27

how big is the project box

ducktape100 (author)2010-11-27

really cool i going to make one

UltraDawn (author)2010-11-26

terrific, humourous writing! Don't worry about the grammar police, your ideas come through just fine. I also love some of the ideas in other's comments! Remote control, activated by a phone call? Evil genius.

ZeroError (author)2010-11-26

The constant, incorrect use of "you're", rather than "your" annoyed me greatly.

Other than that, great instructable!

hpsaturn (author)2010-11-26

Very nice, i wish expanded your idea

woodvale035 (author)2010-11-26

please explain the candle and how the headache machine lit it...

m_jorge (author)2010-11-26

Are there any ready-made delayed activation switches on the market? Small one that would-for example-activate 5 sec after you close the circuit and stay energized for 30 sec? I found something 'almost' like that at but it's to big for the sonic grenade I want to make.

gudenuf (author)2010-11-26

Brilliant - great sense of humour! Fantastic piss-taking
Of course it's a miracle that it can light a Jesus candle - Hallelujah
Definitely going to make one
Keep up the good/evil work but be careful Jesus doesn't get pissed-off.

Todd_Stephenson (author)2010-11-26

Great "Ible", and quite an amusing read! This is so easy and annoying (two of my favorite things) and if everyone took such a humorous view in writing their descriptions/instructions I would read more of them in their entirety........Anyhoo I've added a suction cup to one side and a neodymium magnet to the other side for extra hide-ability. The magnet also seems to add to the change and range of frequency of the feed back of the speaker. Also if you add the magnet, mount it on the opposite side ,away from the speaker or it will interfere with said speaker. Farkin Flowbee HA!

chinarian (author)2010-11-26

What exactly does this do? Isnt this just a buzzer? I would be interested in making this.

About This Instructable




Bio: DCI is David and Chuk Industries.
More by dci:The Ultimate Ipod Altoid's CaseThe Headache Machine
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