Our New Circuit Boards Are Useless!

New Useless Circuit Boards

We’ve upgraded the circuit boards in our Useless Machines to a new double-sided design.

We designed the boards in house using CadSsoft Eagle PCB software and had them manufactured at Gold Phoenix.

The new version 1.2 boards have a spiffy blue solder mask and labeling of the parts is much better than the old boards.

Polarity of the LEDs was mistakenly left out of the silk-screen labeling, but other than that we are very happy with the new version.

New Soldering Instructions

With the new circuit boards are new Soldering Instructions.  Please let us know if there are any mistakes or improvements we can to the instructions.



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Useless How-To-Video!

The assembled Parts Kit

Perhaps I should have chose a different company name, because ever since I started selling Useless Machines I haven’t had very much time to get “frivolous”.  We are keeping up to sales and are shipping most orders the next business day.  But many important tasked have yet to be completed due to lack of time.  One thing I haven’t done yet is to make a How-To-Video on soldering the kits.

Fortunately, Apple Guy was kind enough to make the above How-To-Video for me.

Apple Guy also happens to be one the four people I’m sub-contracting to solder the ‘gutz’ of the Useless Machines.  He’s soldered most of the machines lately, so if you buy a pre-soldered Machine, the chances are he’s the one who assembled the electronics.

Thanks Apple Guy, for all of your help and hard work!


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Welcome to frivolousengineering.com

The Useless Blog has moved from saskview.com to it’s new home at frivolousengineering.com and I would like to thank William, Ed, Chase, Brian and all good people at InMotion Hosting for all their help with the move.

Just like moving in real life things can get scratched, broken, and lost but it looks like everything important survived the trip!

The next big step is setting up the on-line store.  We are also looking into having another established company re-sell the Useless Machine for us and hope to have this in place very soon.

I would like to thank everyone who is patiently waiting to get their hands on version 2 of the machine.  The last of the parts orders will be arriving this week, and we hope to start getting things out the door very soon.

Here are some answers to everyone’s questions…

We’ll be offering Useless Machines for $40 $45.00(some assembly required) and kits for $30 (some assembly and soldering required).

‘Some Assembly’ means that you won’t need to solder anything, but you will need to bolt everything together using a small phillips screwdriver.

For now, we’ll only be offering Laser-Cut black acrylic cases, sorry but no wooden ones yet.

We’ll also be offering a parts kit without the case, just the electronic parts needed if you wish to build/supply your own box.

Complete details will be posted soon!

In the mean-time have a look around and if you find something broken, missing or messed up please let me know.

What do you prefer:  wood cases or acrylic?  Is $10 too much to charge for the soldering?  The comment section is open and I think it even works so please test it out!



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So Easy a Five Year Old Can Do It!

Some folks are hesitant to buy a Useless Machine kit because they don’t know how to solder.  If you feel this way, you should check out the above video (link).  Brett W. is the Dad in this video and you can read about this and other great hacking over at his site, FightCube.

Learning how to solder is as easy as reading a comic book:  You can download a PDF of Soldering is Easy over at The Mighty Ohm.

The basic principles of soldering only takes a few minutes to learn.  And if I can do it, anyone can.


What are your thoughts, is five too young an age to be soldering?


Video via Hackaday, Comic via Makezine Blog.

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