The Most Annoying Machine

Pointless machines are great but The Most Annoying Machine is... really annoying! Mission accomplished.

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Everyone loves The Most Pointless Machine EVER so I thought I'd make the evil cousin. With none of the charm of the original, this bad-boy has already irritated a lot of people! Switching the machine on is easy... turning it off, not so much. It emits a loud buzzing sound when the switch is on that soon gets on your nerves. The best reaction normally comes after the machine switches back on after the first time the victim has tried to turn it off. This leads to a predictable war with the switch that unless you're in the know, you're bound to lose.

I think it's best to start with a video. If it's successful you will be irritated by the end of it, and possibly a little amused.

Inside the box are some simple electronics, the component section lists them in detail. An actuated switch (that cost me £13, the most expensive button I have ever bought) is the key to the project. When you apply 24v it will move to its default position. The switch I used can only go one way but for this project that didn't matter.

An Arduino Pro Mini is used to control the LEDs, buzzers and the switch. It also reads values from an accelerometer (that maybe has something to do with switch it off!). The whole thing is powered by 3x 18650 3.7v lithium batteries. The astute reader will have noticed that's not enough to activate the switch. Fortunately I spotted this before making the case and left room for a big boost converter that takes the battery voltage up to what's needed for the switch. The case was designed using a modified OpenSCAD file from Thingiverse. I laser cut it from 3mm plywood at the Fablab in Strathclyde University (I'm a post-grad student there).

The code and files for the laser cutter are are available on Github. I would love to write a full guide on how to make this but I don't have time at the moment. There is nothing particularly complicated about it but you might need to modify some of my stuff. For instance, unless you live in the UK with a local Poundland that stocks the nuts and bolts, you will need to modify the sizes in the OpenSCAD file.

I would like to make a bulletproof version out of aluminum and tidy up the all the wiring. Maybe make it even louder and annoying. Yes, I am looking forward to The Most Annoying Machine Version 2!

Feel free to ask me any questions and I will do my best to answer them.

Are you still reading because you want to know how to switch it off?! Fine. The accelerometer inside detects if the box is in freefall or being held in place. If you throw the box in the air and then switch it off, it will stay off. I got the idea from another of my projects - Smart LED Juggling Balls.

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  • First few days

    unigamer02/17/2015 at 21:24 0 comments

    I'm very pleased with the response to The Most Annoying Machine! I think the switches are on back-order from Farnell so there are probably a few people making their own :) Hackaday is a great blog and I read most of the entries so seeing another of my projects on it is very satisfying! The description by Brian Benchoff was great as well.

    I will make a guide on how to make your own soon (maybe a couple of months). It is very simple as far as electronics go so don't feel the need to wait for me. The files for laser cutting a box are available but if you don't have access to one then I am sure you could get by without.

    Just now the code is crude (I hacked it together in a evening or so). I will implement a proper sleep mode to conserve battery life soon. Additionally, someone on the hackaday blog pointed out the switch has a finite life so I will look into ways of minimising the number of pulses to reset the switch.

    I'd like to get a case cut from metal too. I will be looking into that.

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sunansherph wrote 04/14/2021 at 06:36 point

yes its a very nice and unique idea I am also working on a similar kind of project here

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PointyOintment wrote 04/24/2015 at 01:53 point

I'm gathering parts and trying to figure out how best to make an actuated switch to make my own version of this. Hopefully nobody at my hackerspace has seen this project… >:D

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Adam Fabio wrote 02/19/2015 at 03:26 point

Very awesome - and incredibly evil project. This has me thinking of so many variations :)

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altdeath109111 wrote 02/17/2015 at 04:11 point

I wanna buy yours im to lazy to make one 

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John Boyd wrote 02/17/2015 at 01:56 point

This is infinitely better than the useless machine! Very cool! I think I might just build one myself

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luigilabel wrote 02/16/2015 at 22:52 point

did you integrated some code to deactivate ?

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John Duffy wrote 02/16/2015 at 21:58 point

So.... an eternal snooze button.  Interesting. 

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davedarko wrote 02/15/2015 at 07:04 point

you can totally see that they are related :D nice!

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unigamer wrote 02/15/2015 at 12:09 point

Yeah, I'm not exactly sure how I got the idea for it but the Pointless Machine was definitely an inspiration and I am a big fan. I must make one now, they would compliment each other nicely!

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Michiel Brink wrote 02/14/2015 at 22:45 point


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unigamer wrote 02/15/2015 at 12:08 point


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