Buy Break Build: A Hackaday Contest Series

We are proud to introduce a new contest here at Hackaday. Buy Break Build will be regular event where we challenge you to make something from something else. We want to work out your hacker brains to come up with inventive ways to use limited parts. We may have a specific product or genre in mind, and a specific out come we would like to get, then we let you guys loose to make it happen. The contests will usually be judged for winners in 3 categories; best presentation,  best use of only the existing parts, and most massive overkill. You don’t have to be an electronics engineer, or even know how to program a microcontroller. You simply document your entire hack with pictures and notes, then submit it to and we’ll choose the winners. Those winners will be awarded fabulous prizes and Internet fame as we’ll publish your writeup for everyone to enjoy.

Here’s an example to make things a little more clear. Don’t actually go do this one, it is just an example.

Contest: Radio controlled faces.  Everyone has an old R/C car lying around right? Can you use those parts to make an animatronic face? It doesn’t have to be humanoid, but at least recognizable as a face. There would be 3 winners, the one that made the best use of only the included parts, the one that had the best presentation, and the one that went absolutely the furthest overboard.

Remember, this one is just an example, so please don’t run out and get started just yet. We’ll be announcing our first Buy Break Build very soon.


  1. Ivan says:

    Cool… 1st!

  2. mowcius says:

    Sounds like fun. Sign me up! :)

    Perhaps post more than one project so there is a wider range of stuff that we might have lying around.


  3. sounds like a blast!

  4. Necromant says:

    \classic_soviet_accent{Where do I sign up, comrades?}

  5. Rick Autry says:

    Yee-Haw! Now I’m gonna bust a few million neurons deciding which one(s)! to enter…

  6. mjrippe says:

    Great idea HAD team – can’t wait for round one!

  7. Emeryth says:

    Great idea, I can’t wait!

  8. jeff-o says:

    Cool, I’m looking forward to the first challenge. Hopefully I’ll have time to enter something…

  9. Douglas. says:

    I’ll take the hackaday challenge!

  10. NatureTM says:

    I hope the prizes are good, not that I plan on winning any of them.

  11. Brak 0bama says:

    can the face look like a car?

  12. Alan says:

    So say with the example it wouldn’t have to be functional this is more of an artistic endeavor than a technical one?

    • Caleb Kraft says:

      Well, you probably wouldn’t win anything if you didn’t at least figure out how to put some kind of functinality in there. For example you could use the steering mechanism to make eyes look back and forth. The drive motor could be attached to a cam that opened and closed a jaw.

  13. swantron says:

    Wife: What are you doing with [some item]? Me: Oh, its for a contest…I’m turning [some item] into [a cooler item]! Wife: What do you win? Me: Nothing! Wife: I don’t get it. Me: Don’t these LEDs looks sweet?

  14. John Hobson says:

    Cant wait for the first one :)

  15. Daniel N. says:

    Its like the opposite of Destroy Build Destroy

  16. Torwag says:

    I guess the phrase “best use of only the existing parts” need to be more specific.
    How about Duct tape, some glue, screws, nuts…. some wires, a bit solder…. well all those supporties, which are necessary to transform something in something else.
    There should be a more specific definition
    some are easy:
    wires ok
    arduinno not ok

    some are tricky:
    duct tape and wood frame ok
    3D milled alumina frame not ok
    3D printed parts ??

    However, I guess it is a bit blurry and it would be difficulte to set-up a correct list.

  17. Derek says:

    When does it start?

  18. Haku says:

    Great idea, but a couple of questions:

    The prize is simply HaD fame with the writeup being on the site?

    What sort of submission do you want? PDF? text with web-link or attached images?

  19. Tim says:

    every time I top up a my cellphone time I get a free nokia 1661, it’s packed with goodies I wonder what would be a good use for it.

  20. blue carbuncle says:

    1st project: blinking LEDs without Arduino. Go.

  21. BoKu says:

    I cant wait to Take On The Machine!

  22. Bill says:

    I guess this is a a response to Sparkfun’s “Buy, Build, Destroy”. What a stupid contest that was.

  23. Necromant says:

    By the way, can you guys announce that towards the weeked, say on friday? I’m in my lab only on weekends =)

  24. Necromant says:

    @BoKu HaD: We want our Take on the Machine, with black-jack and hookers =)

  25. quezz38 says:

    awesome, i’m definitely in.

  26. TJLusco says:

    Sounds RAD! Can’t wait!

  27. zool says:

    question: how is this different from any other hack?
    Is it going to be anything we want
    (which is what i think you should do is)name some items that we can use, then whoever comes up with the best hack of those should win. or maybe have a similar theme but use anything we want.

  28. mykeyfinn says:

    You need a fourth prize category, most spectacular failure :p

  29. PocketBrain says:

    Buy it, use it, break it, fix it,
    Trash it, change it, mail – upgrade it,

    Our theme song, ain’t it?

    btw, I like the idea of an animatronic Demon Santa, but it’s too late for this year’s halloween. I guess he could be used for Christmas to scare off the carolers.

  30. Ben says:

    Just got one for 15.00 at Wallgreens, later today I’ll take it apart so people have an idea of whats inside

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