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This version is just like other Useless Machines, but with an added bonus. It's two soldering kits in one!

Solder The Useless Machine control board, then go on to solder the counter circuit. When you've finished construction, you've got a Useless Machine, that can count exactly how many times it's been Useless!

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. Popularized in recent years by Frivolous Engineering, Solarbotics as well as many DIY versions on the internet. The SpikenzieLabs Useless Machine is our take on the basic concept, designed from the ground up in style, mechanism and ease of construction.


The Useless Machine with counter has these great features:

  • Really cool on board counter that counts to 9999 uselessnesses.
  • 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 kit?

  • Laser cut acrylic case, arm, and motor mount.
  • Motor
  • Battery holder
  • The main PCB and counter PCB 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, as well as a guide for the counter assembly.

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



The DIY Soldering Useless Machine Build Guide
The Useless Machine Counter Build Guide

Other info: Circuit schematic


Assembling the Useless Machine Counter Upgrade
Installing the Useless Machine Counter Upgrade

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