How much time and effort do you put in to choosing the perfect Christmas gift? If you’re like my wife and I, it’s far too much. It is practical? Will they use it? It’s a never ending guessing game that typically ends up with a polite “thank you” card. This year why not forget practicality and give them something completely and utterly useless? The Useless Machine is a gift that amuses all and never gets old. Just ask my father-in-law!
The Useless Machine has been a MAKE favorite ever since Brett Coulthart’s simple project on instructables. Since then it has gone viral on Youtube, been featured in Make: Volume 23, been shown on the Colbert Report, and even been tweeted by “Weird Al” Yankovic. Because of its popularity, Brett went into business selling the Useless Machine as a kit which we carry in the Maker Shed. His company is appropriately named Frivolous Engineering.
Over the years Brett has refined the kit into a great project that blends electronics, mechanics, and soldering. Assembly takes about an hour and the combination of the printed circuit board and low parts count virtually guarantee a successful build even by a beginner. Give it to them as a kit to let them experience the joy of making, or build it for them so it’s ready when they open it. We even carry a parts only kit if you want to create a personalized, custom enclosure.