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Question for the Community Answered

Hi, I've been to this site a few times in the past, but this site stuck in mind for some unknown reason; anyhow, I made this account due to this urging curiosity to know why you make all these strange, fascinating, and completely useless stuff. I don't remember if it was MIT or Stanford but one of them said that inventions should be useful and solve a real problem. Thanks for your comments.


Everyone's making their arguments with the fact that there's a lot of really useful projects on the site...

I think someone needs to defend the less serious stuff, because I love it, first off making something is an enjoyable thing, seeing that project be enjoyed by other people and reiterated, copied, modified and learned from is really enjoyable.

Now just because something isn't perfectly practical or necessary at all doesn't mean it's not interesting, you said yourself the projects you've seen are fascinating and interest, fascination and developing that interest can be really enjoyable.

Also there's a piece of to each man his own about this, there are almost certainly projects that would pique your interests and serve purposes in your life on this site, however you've not come across them.

On a personal reasoning level the reason I make an post my projects is because I enjoy sharing them and getting feedback, I make flash drives disguised as lighters, bubbles that go on fire, sew my trousers back together with wire, play with zippo tricks and refuse to use a bottle opener, these are things I do for fun.  The other thing that makes this site so attractive to me is the community, the people here are brilliant and I enjoy talking to them, hearing what they have to say and seeing what they like to make.

Also when you do something you like or make something you think's the best thing since sliced brioche doesn't showing off add to that a bit, have a look around, stop looking for projects of any certain kind and allow links in comments and the related bar to guide you about the site, if nothing else you'll be fascinated.

Oh and as a minor justification to my arguments and probably others, check out our published instructables, not read every one in it's entirety but read the titles, it might give you some idea of what makes us tick, also profile pages...

Almost NOTHING on this site is "completely useless"

I have to agree with you KJ.  It is hard to "build, or remake, or repurpose" something completely useless if only for the fact that one learns a method of thinking, and method of using materials, & ect.

If it's fun and gets someone to think about something....it is hardly useless.  :-)   

Eh general aim was that it's got to be a good example of something that mr efficiency would call useless, yet it actually has some practical uses and it's fun...

That reminds me, have to pester the chem labs, got a project that'll be some fun, though they're tetchy about fire and noise...

Things "MAY" be labeled useless, if one buys them already put together and one does nothing further  with them.  But then, it isn't really the OBJECT that is useless then, is it? ;-)

Liking the logic... Uselessness is relative, though something that's designed to be useless isn't useless, it serves it's function if it's useless and if it doesn't it must be useful...

Circular reasoning: 1 World: 0

AND if one can find another use for it, even though it's usefulness as a useless item has been nullified, it has been further reassigned another use, and becomes useful again ;-) 

Because we can.

What do you define as useless?  A prosthetic wheel for a doubly-amputated dachshund?  New and low-cost ways of fabricating prosthetic arms for children?  A description of how to distill alcohol?

From your question, I guess you must be the sort of person who never visits museums or reads fiction books, because the creators were obviously just wasting their time.

I am assuming he just got up on the wrong side of the bed.

Obviously as he is (as his name implies) inventing efficiency with a double degree from both
MIT and Standford (who he apparently knows personally.)
he can't be bothered with stuff that merely improves peoples quality of life.
(crap like education, music, art, hot food, life support. etc.)

Maybe he just needed to vent because nobody wanted to buy his presidential bottleopener with five random phrases.

I am assuming he just got up on the wrong side of the bed.

:-)  The side that faces the wall? 

Would you ask the same question on an Art forum?

We Make, therefore we Are.

I suspect they would, unfortunately.  This sort of question, and its blithely offensive phrasing, is often indicative of either a Philistine personality, or an utter lack of imagination or creativity.  I'm 43, and one of my uncles still asks me when I'm "going to get a real job."  Same philosophy.

I bet they play video games, though, without questioning why those effectively useless products.

and yet, could not fix, brand, repupose said game machines in any way.....we know where this is headed :-) 

One asks a question when they do not know, but "something" has to be known or the question is usually of little worth.

I guess I shouldn't "thank you" prematurely given the content of a few of the comments, but hey, at least people wondering don't get a hanging by the masses and mob these days.

Thanks though for the more thoughtful genuine comments.

Yeah, you aren't going to get a polite response when you call something people on the site love, "completely useless".

I'm interested as to your personal definition of "useless", as I believe it is entirely possible (though I have by no means conclusively decided) that you did not mean to be offensive.

Do you mean "not essential for supporting life"? In that case, almost everything in our modern world is useless.

Do you mean "not serving a purpose that interests me personally"? If so, that's a bit ego-centric, although from your vantage logical.

Do you mean "serving a purpose that I deem frivolous"? Again, that would I suppose be technically logical but quite condescending to the rest of us, and also again many things could objectively be considered frivolous in the grand scheme of things.

I'm not being sarcastic, I'm genuinely interested.

Let he who is without joyous pursuit cast the first stone labelled "useless".

It entertained and amused many of us in the longer-duration I'bles community, in particular those of us familiar with the user referred to in the title.  See also several of Caitlin'sDad's other I'bles in similar vein.

It did all that without time travel? And it was deemable as useful for its intended purpose?

(and yes I am familiar with Caitlin'sDad's mass of much hillarity and awesome.) :)

Caitlin'sDad doesn't do Time Travel.  That's Laird Howe's domain :-)

Aye, but dealing with a kid, it can seem like forever or time just flies by...

It amused me that I could do it and entertained the thought of doing it.

It's also a vehicle for demonstrating construction techniques or laying out the thought process behind the creativity.  And it was a way to recycle some materials to go green.  If it caused just one person to think about the project or question its existence, it succeeded.

and you get that warm and fuzzy feeling...it's nice to share...

Hear, hear!  If this were a Question, I would vote yours Best Answer!

I, because of my age, would probably add, to "because it is fun", that, it is also very educational to devise things, different ways of looking at things, different uses for things that have gone past their original use...etc.   This known as Hardware Hacking :-)
It was the first one I thought of (as it would have been very useful if my wife would have been able to have any children :-)

"completely useless stuff".

Real charmer, aren't you?

It amuses me. But you learn stuff in the process that can be used on other things - call it research if you like.


Useless by who's definition?

Most things are made for the purpose of the maker and the maker alone.
But then on the other hand we have the whole assisted tech department,
that must come in quite handy if your not part of the 'segway prosthetics' trials or for that matter dirty rich or living in a developed country with base health care.

Then there's the fact that some just like to do it themselves.
(Guess thats why its called the maker community and not The International Inventors League...although that would be cool, we could all have these nanocommunicators and capes and dress up as orange robots with vectorized hands that shoot dremel bits ducttape and hotglue...)

This is not forgetting that not everything is an actual invention but more if a I MADE THIS type of thing (Never underestimate the pride of a personalized design.)

Oh, and its fun to make your coffee pot and toaster syncronize with your sunlight activated alarm clock.
There's never something wrong with learning right? It's like the whole VCR thing way back when.
With people not wanting to admit they were too daft or lazy to bother with programming the timer decided that having the correct time on your VCR was stupid since you really couldnt bring it anywhere.

Not to mention the fact that the internet has opened up to a whole new way of doing things, if the only chance you had of doing anything twenty years ago was to go to school for five years then all you need to do today is knowing how to google it and follow instructions thereby giving you the ability to not throw away your previously chosen career path. This has in my opinion been the biggest source of the hike in creative production since non toxic store bought cheap acrylic paint,
as you can now have any number of people with the ability to produce a brilliant and ingenious solution to an everyday problem. or for giggles if thats more up their alley.

Guess thats a reason and a half at least :P

It is simply the DIY-mindset.  Many of us on this website find pride and a real comfort in our own personal creations.  Some projects on this site either add to, or mod existing inventions, in order to make them more convenient to the specific maker.  Other projects are ingenious crafts, which one cannot purchase in any store.  It is simply what we like to do. 

The projects may not solve world hunger, but rather the projects posted on Instructables express our own personal creativity.  We get to share it with the world, receive feedback, and repeat.

Make: It's what we do.

Well, a lot of the stuff on this websites arn't exactly inventions, some of them are, but a lot of them just change the aestetics of things, such as most steampunk creations.  And a lot of mods on electronic devices usually just improve looks, but if they add function then they solve a problem.