The Useless Machine Kit - Soldering Version


If switched on, this machine switches itself off. On, off, on, off — hours of entertainment!

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The Useless Machine is a gizmo that turns itself off when you switch it on. But how? Is there a little stubborn person in the box playing a trick on you? Is it magic? No, it's a set of switches with a small motor and you get to put together! By building the kit yourself only you will know the secret of how it works. When you show it to your friends and co-workers, keep them guessing - after all you built it, it's your secret!

Invented in 1952 by Marvin Minsky at MIT. The useless style boxes, in various forms and with different names such as "ultimate machine" and "Leave Me Alone Box" have inspired curiosity and fun for more than half a century.


The Useless Machine has these great features:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Soldering required - Easy through hole parts
  • Clean laser cut acrylic design.
  • The motor and switch assembly is one piece (The motor, arm, both switches, LED lights and screw on battery terminals are all part of the same activation unit.)
  • Two color LED arm lighting (Green LED while the arm is going up and red while it is going down)
  • Robust and smooth hinge design

What's included in the bag?

  • Laser cut acrylic case, arm, and motor mount.
  • Motor
  • Battery holder
  • A bare circuit board with all of the components you need to solder
  • Door pre assembled with robust 1/4" acrylic hinge
  • Large Silicone non slip feet
  • Hardware pack with screws, bolts, washers, stand-offs, Velcro and nuts
  • 24 page downloadable build guide with tons of photos.

Not included but necessary to build this DIY Soldering Edition of The Useless Machine

  • Soldering Iron
  • Solder
  • Flush Cutters
  • Small size Phillips screw driver (x shape)
  • Small size flat blade screw driver
  • 3 AAA batteries

Please note: This is the DIY parts in the bag kit, not a retail boxed version.


Product Documentation / User Guide

Assembly instructions are available here.