Solarbotics Useless Box Kit


Price (USD)
$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]

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

You build it, you turn it on, and has other ideas. A finger extends, and turns itself off just as quickly as you turn it on. Weird and wonderful, it's a physical description of many aspects of life (how's that for the beginning of an artsy interpretation?).

But as much fun as doing something useless can be, Solarbotics has a "Making something Useless, Useful" campaign, where we take a portion of the sale of each Useless machine, and donate it to Plan Canada. We're happy to say at this latest update (Oct, 2014), we've been able to raise over $8000 and put it to Usefulness. Besides buying wells, gardens, goats and school equipment, or latest update newsletter tells us that our efforts are now going towards building and expanding schools in six communities within Honduras. So don't ever feel bad about this level of uselessness!

Kits can be occasionally frustrating, but be assured that with our Solarbotics full satisfaction warranty, you have complete confidence that if your Useless Machines starts ...acting useful?... or otherwise, we'll take care of the problem. Broken or lost parts? No problem. Contact us for any issue you might have.

The Useless Machine Kit requires assembly, and you must have your own soldering equipment, batteries, and phillips 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!



We're also offering custom lid engraving for $20 if you order Useless Boxes in multiples of 4 (same design on all four boxes). Select "Box with 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.


 Useful videos of Useless:


Soldering tutorial:


Our Useless Box was even featured in a real (short) film as a central prop.





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