Give Something Useless this Christmas

Give Something Useless this Christmas


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.

10 thoughts on “Give Something Useless this Christmas

  1. Jeff B says:

    Here’s another useless thing you give away for Christmas, the makezine blog. I used to love reading the blog either on or the rss. But both have been ruined by requiring click-throughs for full articles. Please offer the full feed again in some fashion, I really miss reading the blog.

    1. Dave says:

      Hear, hear!!
      Drives me nuts…

    2. Trav says:

      I agree. You can tell it’s made by a magazine/print company. Big lead-in, turn the page til you find the story, last 3 paragraphs are on a page in the back. Reminds me of the TV news, If you add up all the times they say ,” Stay tuned for the report on…..”, it turns out to be longer than the reporting itself. One of my biggest complaints with newspapers/magazines and why I don’t order them.

      And the click-throughs for the slide shows are just as bad. Just another pop-up.

      PLEASE, just put all the info out there on the article itself. If you are going to make an introductory page for the blog, have the RSS link to the main article instead. That is why I follow the link in the first place.

  2. Woman’s Wool Undies revealed for Christmas « Wonderful Wednesdays says:

    […] Give Something Useless this Christmas ( […]

  3. Seasons Greetings | says:

    […] many thanks to Mark Frauenfelder at Make Magazine/BoingBoing, Michael Castor at the Maker Shed, Super Awesome Sylvia Todd, and “Weird Al” Yankovic for helping to promote […]

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I am the Evangelist for the Maker Shed. It seems that there is no limit to my making interests. I'm a tinkerer at heart and have a passion for solving problems and figuring out how things work. When not working for Make I can be found falling off my unicycle, running in adverse weather conditions, skiing down the nearest hill, restoring vintage motorcycles, or working on my car.

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