Solarbotics Useless Box Kit


Price (CAD)
$30.00 ea.


Ever see a Useless Box? It turns itself off when you turn it on! Here's a kit to build your own!

Additional Information [Hide]

Latest update, out of many: We are now offering special engraved tops (see second picture) for the regular price, while quantities last.

Also, we are now onto our second donation (this time of ~$1,500) to Plan Canada, you can check out how we started here.

We are now including a free PCB (a $2.50 value) in all Useless Box kits. This PCB makes the wiring up of a Useless Box trivial and error-free (assuming your soldering isn't... useless).

We're also offering custom lid engraving for $20 if you order Useless Boxes in quantities of 4. Select Custom Top x 4 option and add it to cart to include it with your order. Send your order confirmation along with your artwork + instructions to Please make sure you follow Custom Engraving Guidelines. You can use the Useless Box Template if you like as well. There's also some more info and pictures here.


Update: Over 35 000 sold! Well, that means time for an update. The Useless Box is now sporting 4 metal hinges to hold the lids in place instead of our previously tacky tape. Was that a pun? Didn't notice. A full set of assembly instructions (v1.2) is available in the Documentation tab, and if you have the old version of Useless and want to upgrade to the New Hinged Version then the upgrade kit can be found here: Useless Box Upgrade Kit.

Now, on with the regular blurb:

Yes, it's ... Useless! Designed as featured over at It's a clever electromechanical box that turns itself off after you've turned it on.

This is now a full kit, complete with Solarbotics satisfaction warranty, but you will have to assemble it (requires some soldering), supplying your own soldering gear, batteries, and screwdriver.

Each kit includes:

1 x 39300 Black acrylic "Useless Box" construction set (with nut/bolt hardware) with "crack" warranty. If you accidentally snap a piece during assembly, we'll send you out a replacement part (email for details).

1 x Motor set (GM3 Motor and Accessory Wheel)
1 x Double-pole, double-throw power switch
1 x Single-pole, double-throw retract limit switch
1 x 4-conductor ribbon wire
1 x 2xAA battery pack
1 x Double-sided sticky tape
4 x Miniature hinges
2 x #4 x 1/2" Motor-mounting screws
5 x #2-32 x 3/8" Limit switch / finger mounting screws
1 x #2 x 1/4" and #2 Washer set for accessory wheel
22 x #4 x 3/8" Bolts and #4 nut sets
16 x #2 x 1/4" Hinge-mounting screws
4 x "Little Rubber Feet" to protect your Useless Box from abrasive counter tops!

Sure it's useless... but it keeps your itchy switch-flippin' fingers busy!

Are your box hinges a bit stiff? Larry wrote in with what he did to loosen them up:

  1. I removed the hinge pin.
  2. I drilled the center tab with a #57 US drill (this is just slightly larger than the pin size)
  3. I tapered the top of the base piece to ensure the hinge was not rubbing on it.
  4. I reinstalled the hinge on the box with the center tab of the hinge on top.

Thanks for the tip!

We have donated a custom Useless Box to "Desert Bus for Hope", an annual gaming telethon that raises thousands of dollars for the children's game charity Child's Play. It sold for $500!





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