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Pointless Switch Machine
Having fun is important when making things. So, while discussing new and intelligent ways to do things at the local makerspace and hackerclub, I concluded that it was time to waste time bigtime. Some of you may be familiar with the ultimate machine or one of the successors with additional features.
The sad thing is that I do not see a way (yet) to top the ultimate machine. But, I certainly can make something pointless too. So, what features do we need:
  • no useful function
  • moving parts
  • simple yet complex
  • user interaction
  • blinking lights
  • entertain users and observers
Thus I present the Pointless Switch Machine - push a switch to switch a switch.

Pointless Switch Machine

A small video of the device in action:
Oh boy, the vids are a self-inflicted DOS. Moving the video to other location...
Ok, moved.

All is created from bits and parts found at the makerspace in boxes here and there. Several hours were used to find the perfect balance between superfluous LEDs and mechanical absurdity. Half a day got wasted building a box from acrylate leftovers. Went a bit off-scale for wanting to make a real PCB, but found myself again and settled for a breadboard instead, using only half a day soldering bits and pieces.
However, getting the calibration factors right (i.e. finding a motor and switch that would match and getting the heights to fit) was a great triumph for box-filled-with-scraps searching-algorithms.

And then some more images for the curious.






The heart of the machine is a small electronics circuit translating the pushbutton to directional activation. psm_electronics
(source or pdf)

So, how bad could it have become? Well, I could have used 555 timer-chips or, sigh, a microprocessor... Or, $deity forbid, an Arduino to create the functionality.

Posted: 2011-08-05
Updated: 2011-08-07

Overengineering @ request