For anyone planning on making their own ‘Useless Box’, you might find my Arduino Sketch(/code) useful as a starting point. The version I’m using here is not my final version, which adds more ‘character’ at the expense of code readability.
You’ll have to tweak the fingerMin/fingerMax and lidMin/lidMax values to suit your own designs, but hopefully that should be quite straight forward.
If you find the code useful, or develop or further, please let me know! It would be great to see others getting some benefit from it!
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…
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’.