Category Archives: Gadgets / Toys

The Useless Box

You know, I’d argue that a box that makes you smile hardly qualifies as useless.  Nevertheless, today I finished assembly on the self named ‘Useless Box’ by solarbotics.com.  This black acrylic box has a single switch on it’s top, which when flipped, turns on a motor connected to a ‘finger’ which pops up and flips the switch back to the off position.  I’ve found myself flipping it on at my desk almost instinctively throughout the day, and it makes me smile every single time.  It’s just simply great.  Take a look at the video to get a better idea of what we’re talking about here.

 Assembly

Assembling the useless box is not hard, but it is a little time consuming, and does require you to solder a small amount of stuff together.  Honestly I think I spent half as much time peeling the protective brown paper off all the parts as I did doing the rest of the assembly.  Here is how your useless box arrives:

Raw materials for a Useless Box

Raw materials for a Useless Box

The assembly breaks into four or five steps, each taking about an equal amount of time.  The instructions estimated 1.5 hours for the full build, but it took me more like 2.5 hours (yes I’m slow).

Build Steps:

  1. Remove all the damn brown protective paper from the acrylic parts.
  2. Solder together the electronics.
  3. Assemble the main box.
  4. Disassemble and then re-assemble the box after you figure out that the piece holding the motor needs to be mounted as the rest of the box is being put together.
  5. Mount the electronics in the box, adjust for fit, and then test!

The electronics harness would have been much easier if I still had a vice to hold the parts in place while trying to solder, but a little scotch tape did the trick in a pinch.  Below is the finished electronic harness and the box parts all laid out:

Assembled electronics harness and box parts

Assembled electronics harness and box parts

And here is the finished product:

Useless box assembled product

Useless box assembled product

Call to Action: Go Buy One

This thing is fun, and is worth plunking down some cash for.  I’m sure you can get it at a number of places, but mine came from ThinkGeek, which is a site I believe you should be giving your money to anyway.  Below is the link; you’ve seen it in all it’s glory, now take one home for yourself.  It’s great for your desk at work and your home, so maybe get two…

Go buy the Useless Box at ThinkGeek