My Useless Machine




About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author ...

This is my build of The Most Useless Machine EVER! I built this to be a demo model for the Instructables booth at the 2010 Bay Area Maker Faire. Based on the typical survival rate of other Maker Faire demo projects, my lovely coworkers made predictions about how long it would take to break. Most predicted it would be broken by the second day. Perhaps this would have been true if they had built it, but they completely ignored one basic fact, I'm a professional.

Not only did it last through both days of Bay Area Maker Faire, it then lasted through both days of World Maker Faire in New York no worse for wear. Discounting a few minor smudges and dents, it is as good as new.

My design differs from the original in that I removed the servo controller board, used a DPDT switch to change motor direction and an SPST lever switch to turn it off when the lever is at rest in the box.

I got my box from Beverly's Fabric and Craft and took lid off and sawed in half at a 65 degree angle. I then took the hinges that were fastened the box and moved them to the smaller edge that pivots open. The lever arm inside the box was also acquired at Beverly's and used to be a wooden decorative letter (I think it was the letter "J").

Frenzy helped me out and sealed it with Miniwax Water-based Polycrylic. It was his first day as an Instructables employee and I could still fool him into doing this sort of stuff for me.



  • Weaving Challenge

    Weaving Challenge
  • Tape Contest

    Tape Contest
  • Pocket Sized Contest

    Pocket Sized Contest

8 Discussions


7 years ago on Introduction

some one made one of these then they 1-up'd it, theirs if you pushed the switch so many times the box would speed up, then the box would start spinning violently and lastly the switch would collapse inside the box

randofoWin Guy

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for dropping by the Simple Bots booth! It was nice to meet you in person.


7 years ago on Introduction

looks totaly cool if it is made with wood. I builed my own a few weeks
ago out of black acryl with this kit.  href="">
Had to do it two times till it worked. (i am not very good in soldering


8 years ago on Introduction

Not only did you build this well, you're funny!


8 years ago on Introduction

Want to know what is soooo odd? I was just talking to my fiance today about how I would love to make one of these but was not quite sure how. Then the very same day you post this. Way cool. Thank you. I will be looking through this and finding out what I do not have laying around.