Useless Box – Nearly Finished!

Getting Close

Another evening of ‘I Made A Thing’-ing, and I’m happy with the results.

I’ve used a ‘ProtoShield‘ to help tidy up the wiring.  I’d recommend anyone to check them out, especially if your soldering skills are a bit rusty.

These slot straight onto the top of your Arduino, but can easily be removed if you need the Arduino later on for other projects – Without you needing to remove all your wires! Very handy.

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Useless Box – The Finger (Pt 1)

The Finger

So I’ve got a rudimentary ‘box’ built, and I know how to control the servos with an Arduino.

I figured the next step is to work on the ‘finger’.  The design evolved through trial and error, with a goal to Keep Things Simple.  There’s some cool and very clever implementations a Google search away, but I worked my own design out using Brains.

The photo here shows my initial design – A basic ‘C’ shape constructed (again) from Lego.  The 90 degree joints are fairly strong, but I suspect in the long term I’ll be reinforcing them somehow.  Superglue is always an option…

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Useless Box – Lego Time

Designing The Box

When it came to the box I was in two minds – Either I make it in wood, or Lego.  (Give me a few months and ‘plastic’ would be an option – But I’m waiting until I buy a 3D printer…)

Wood has a certain charm, but Lego is much easier to work with and adds a nice ‘retro’ feel.

The design is simple, as you can see…

For now I’m leaving a hole in one side, allowing easy access without having to go through the top.  I don’t know how tall the walls need to be (I’ve got to fit a couple of servos, a ‘finger’, and an Arduino in there yet!), so it’s all a bit ‘prototype’.

Good enough for now though!

Useless Box – The Beginning

The Beginning

So this is it – My first Arduino project!  After months of see YouTube videos and Twitter updates from people working on their own Arduino projects, I finally bit the bullet and bought my own ‘starter kit’ from Amazon.

I didn’t just want to make an LED flash on and off (One of the usual Arduino beginner projects) – I wanted to Make Stuff Move.  Curtesy of a dad with a few spare radio control servos, and a bit of Googling, I felt ready to start making my Useless Box.

Coding is no problem – That’s what I do professionally – And as a child of the 80’s I’ve still got a LOT of Lego kicking about, there’s not much holding me back.

If you haven’t seen a ‘Useless Box’ before, go and check them out on YouTube.  Simply put, you have a hinged box with a switch on it.  You flick the switch, the box opens, and a ‘finger’ turns it off again.

That’s it.

Believe me – It’s more fun than it sounds.