Vol. 23: The Most Useless Machine

Make a machine that, when you flip the switch on, an arm reaches out of a door to turn the switch back off.

+ Downloads & Extras:


Original "Viral" Most Useless Machine Video -- shows an earlier, alternative version of the project that uses a 555 timer chip circuit.

Original "Viral" Most Useless Machine Instructable from Instructables.com -- describes both the 555-based version and a version using two switches and a modified servomotor.

GM2 Gearmotor and mounting parts:

GM2 gearmotor - 6V: 46rpm; 56.94 in*oz stall torque From Maker Shed
From Solarbotics

Gear motor mount, 30mm in diameter, $1.25

Gearmotor mounting bracket, $1.50

Instructions for modifying a standard R/C servomotor to ignore signal input and allow continuous rotation. To source servos, try a hobby shop, or else:

GM4 clear servomotor from Solarbotics, 77rpm at 6V; 50.94 in*oz stall torque, $14.

You can also use a Parallax continuous rotation R/C servomotor, item #900-00008-ND from Digi-Key. With this, you don't need to modify the gears, but you will still have to modify the wiring.

Stay away from the micro sized servos, which don't deliver enough torque.

History of Claude Shannon's original Ultimate Machine from Kevin Kelly's The Technium

Article author Brett Couthard's website SaskView.com

+ Spray paint stencils

+ Sample component templates (UPDATED as of 10/22/10)

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