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Most useless machine

Craft & Design Robotics

Inspired by Claude Shannon’s Ultimate Machine, Instructables user SaskView designed this excellent most useless machine.

I can sympathize with the poor box not wanting to be disturbed. I know I do the same thing with my alarm clock every morning. Maybe if someone gave it some coffee, it won’t be so grumpy? [via neatorama]

UPDATE: Learn how to make your own Useless Box in MAKE, Volume 23, on newsstands July 27.

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18 thoughts on “Most useless machine

  1. Njmalhq says:

    I have distant memories of a version of this machine in Laithwaite’s “The Engineer in Wonderland.” Which BTW is an awesome book (pulished in the 60s), I’d love to find a copy today.

  2. Laura says:

    It’s not completely useless…it makes me laugh, a little.

  3. Karel says:

    I just made a prototype out of Lego. It is an analogue version, so no electronics, just two switches and the rest are all standard Lego parts.

    1. Matt Mets says:

      Awesome, thanks for sharing!

      1. John Gomm says:

        I rotated the design so it would open as a normal box, and then realized that I liked it better upside down. I hacked off a Barbie’s arm for style points and used boiling water to soften and reshape it (cooling in ice water fixes it pretty well). Everything used was found or scrounged, so it only cost me time and sanity.

  4. Dug North says:

    Hey all! I created one of my own with a few modifications. Instead of a simple wooden box, I used a decorative miniature trunk. Rather than the pusher coming out of the top of the box, I oriented mine to open the chest and come out of the front. Finally, I replaced the simple pusher with a small human-like arm that I carved from basswood. The fist comes out and assertively punches the switch.

    A video of my version of The Most Useless Machine can be seen at:


    1. Matt Mets says:

      Oh, that’s awesome! Thanks for sharing!

      1. Dug North says:

        Thanks,Matt! I have a few additional ideas I’d like to implement to make it even better. I’d better finish a few other projects first, however!


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