Useless Box With an Attitude




Introduction: Useless Box With an Attitude

About: my inventions

Who really wants a useless box?
Nobody. I thought so at first, but there are thousands of useless boxes on YouTube.. So they must be trendy..

In this instructable I will show you how to make a slightly different useless box, one with lights, sound and a real attitude. The box is ticking with the help of an Arduino UNO R3 board, assisted by two ISD1820 sound boards.

The wooden box I used for this project is a modified key holder box, sold by Action.


1 wooden box

1 Arduino UNO R3 board

2 ISD1820 sound boards including speaker

2 toggle switches

3 servos SG90 turning radius 180 degrees

1 motion sensor PIR HC-SR505

1 USB A-B extension cable

2 tricolor leds with common cathod including fixing clips

2 resistors 2200 Ohm 1/8 Watt

1 piece of perforated experimentation board, 0.1 " spacing

. colored wiring, M3 bolts and nuts, glue

. MDF wood 4 mm, 6 mm and 12 mm.

1 10mm. wooden ball

1 M4 bolt 15mm.

1 small strip of 2mm. aluminium 10x50 mm.

Step 1: The Box

The box is a key holder box with six metal hooks inside. Remove these hooks and remove the white cover including the two hinges. Remove the upper part of this cover with a jigsaw as shown on the picture. This part will be replaced by another moving cover, made from 12 mm MDF. Mount an additional 6 mm wooden strip on the bottom and on the side (for the mounting plate and the fixed part of the cover as shown on the pictures. Make a hole in the left corner of the box for the USB extension plug. Drill the holes for the toggle switches, the speakers , the motion sensor and the tricolor leds in the fixed part of the cover. Make a new movable cover from 12 mm MDF, dimensions 233x75 mm. and fix it with the hinges as shown on the picture. Finally make a mounting board for the components that fits inside the box. This board is fixed on the bottom of the box with two screws. The fixed part of the cover is locked by the existing magnetic lock on one side, on the other side (near the relocated hinges) two little screws hold it in place on the left and the right side.

Step 2: The Fixed Part of the Top Cover

Mount (and glue if needed) the components in the fixed part of the top cover (both tricolor leds with their clips, both toggle switches, the speakers and the motion sensor). The speakers are locked between two glued wooden parts and an MDF 4 mm cover fixed with four little screws..

Step 3: The Mounting Board Inside the Box

The servos are bolted on servo holders, made from a piece of 12 mm and 4 mm. MDF wood as shown on the picture. Mount both ISD1820 sound boards, the Arduino UNO R3, the three servos and the servo wiring connection board on the mounting board as shown. The servo wiring connection board is a piece of perf board with wiring pins to connect a number of GND wires and 4 female servo plugs (connections for 5VDC, GND and data). This perf board is bolted to a small piece of 12 mm MDF wood that it bolted on the mounting plate as shown on the pictures.The precise place of the two servos controlling the switching arms depends on the exact spot of both toggle switches.

Step 4: The Switching Arms

The design of both switching arms:

First make a paper "try and error" arm followed by a wooden version using the same shape. Mount the plastic servo arm inside the wooden arm by removing some wood. Round off the contour of the arm with sandpaper and paint the arm with a black waterbased paint. Make a small horseshoe from a small piece of 2.5 mm. copper wire (flatten this piece wit a hammer) an glue it on the top of the arm. Mount the arm on the servo and now the exact spot of the servos on the mounting plate can be defined to make them touch the toggle switches correctly. The arm of the servo for the moving cover is made from the plastic servo arm, glued to a 10mm. wooden ball and a 15mm. M4 bolt.

Step 5: Wire It Up!

Connect all components with the colored wiring as shown in the diagram. Both 2200 Ohm resistors are mounted on a small piece of perf board and fixed on the edge of the speaker cover. Glue a small piece of 12mm. MDF wood on the cover to fix the wiring bundle and glue two pieces of 12mm. MDF wood with an 8 mm. hole on the mounting board to fix the wiring. Connect the USB extension cable on the Arduino UNO R3. Glue a small strip of aluminium on the inside of the moving cover to avoid damage caused by the servo arm. Download the Arduino sketch and copy it into the Arduino using the IDE program.

The program useless_box_2.ino does not use the motion sensor yet. There are also a few digital pins available for extensions, so there is room for updates! This box is also an ideal test area for Arduino programming, I myself learned how to use subroutines with parameters when designing the program....

UPDATE June 2021: You can also download the Arduino program useless_box_4.ino to add a few actions from the motion sensor. When reaching out for the box you will be detected and the lights will flash......

Step 6: Useless Box!

Have fun !

Step 7: Additional Information

The details of the used components can be downloaded here.

Step 8: The Wiring Diagram

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    2 years ago

    I love it! This Useless Box reminds me of my dog! Ha ha! But I have to FEED her!