The Continuing Adventures of a Project That Will Be Stolen

Imagine if the Snap-on tool truck wasn’t filled with hand tools. Imagine if that Snap-on truck was a mobile electronics surplus shop. That’s the idea behind the Travelling Hacker Box. It’s a box, shipped from hacker to hacker, filled with weird and esoteric components, enough parts to build a 3D printer, and enough capacitors to stop an elephant’s heart.

If this is the first time you’ve heard about the Travelling Hacker Box, here’s the quick FAQ to get you up to speed. Has this been done before? Yes, yes it has. The Great Internet Migratory Box of Electronics Junk was a ‘thing’ done by Evil Mad Scientist back in the ‘aughts. Hackaday (or rather the old commander in chief Eliot) received one of these boxes, and sent it off to [Bre Pettis]. Keep in mind, this was in 2008. Is there more than one Travelling Hacker Box actively travelling? No. Because I don’t want to organize a second. Either way, the Travelling Hacker Box has two goals: distance travelled and number of people visited. With just one box, we can maximize both objectives. What are the current travel plans? That’s the next paragraph.

US-Trips
The travels of the Travelling Hacker Box Mk. 2

As of right now, the second version of the Travelling Hacker Box – the first box was stolen by some waste of oxygen in Georgia – has travelled at least 21,838 miles around the United States, visiting 11 prolific hackaday.io contributors in Wyoming, New York, Alaska, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Florida, Wisconsin, Maine, and California. The goal for the first dozen or so trips across the United States was to put miles on the box. 25,000 miles would be equivalent to a trip around the world using only US Postal Service flat rate boxes. Thanks to [Lloyd T Cannon]’s reinforcement of a medium flat rate box with canvas, foam, Kevlar, and custard, this iteration of the Travelling Hacker Box has held up spectacularly.

The goal for the next two months is to make a trip around the United States to maximize the number of US hackers who contributed to the box. This trip will start in Pasadena, CA, go up the west coast to Seattle, loop around the Canadian border to New England, go down the Eastern seaboard, across to Texas, over the desert, and land back at Home Base in Pasadena. From there, the Travelling Hacker Box is off to England, the EU, Asia, India, maybe Africa, and Australia.

While there are already a few people scheduled for this last trip around the US, more are needed. If you’re interested, check out the project on hackaday.io, request to join the project, send a message on the team chat, and generally bug me on the hackaday.io chat. There are plenty of spaces to fill in this last trip around the US and the current inventory is quite a haul. Not bad for a project that will eventually be stolen.

35 thoughts on “The Continuing Adventures of a Project That Will Be Stolen

    1. Well, it is currently housed in a US postal service flat rate box. I doubt the “flat rate” holds up for international shipping and I know that sending a simple letter from the US to Canada costs far more than the miles would indicate. Besides, I suspect Customs would be iffy with a box of electronic miscellany from a random individual such as this.

      1. Have someone carry it across the border?

        Haven’t been to Canada since the border “closed”, so I’m not sure how much freedom there is traveling across anymore.

    2. So Sad.

      I would love to add and subtract from it. There is a sh– load of things that I could Add.
      He– I have about 10lbs of old IC’s That I know people would kill for. But for now they get stored till the right day.

  1. I’m sure there would be problems every time it crossed the line in either direction. Too bad but you are probably wise to limit the circulation to U.S. addresses only.

  2. Started one in Sydney, Australia three years ago (Sydney-K01), packed it full of goodies, didn’t make it past the first recipient. I’d love to start another here if anyone’s actually interested in passing it on

  3. I really wanted to participate in this round, but after seeing that they always try sending g the box as far as they can (across the entire continent), I realize that my application is never getting a chance living in the Amazon(ly crappy) state of North Dakota…

    Stupid rules, but such is life :)

      1. Just recently (1889) North and South Dakota were added to the union!

        We recently moved North Dakota to the North of South Dakota, smack dab next to Canada – it’s where the USA & Canada ‘International Peace Gardens’ are, in fact :)

        Here is a map of the recent changes from 127 years ago:

  4. Ok ok ok, i love the idea, but as far as the way is being implemented i think we could do something different, instead of people using parts “from the box” for random projects, why not use “the box” as “the project” for years i’ve been wanting to add:
    -a custom multimeter
    -oscilloscope
    – clock, timers
    -an mp3 and radio player
    -onboard power supply
    -onboard temperature sensors
    -etc
    Imagine all these features and anything else that is useful that you can think of, added to “the toolbox” so the toolbox itself becomes a “moving lab” imagine having all the tools and “Equipment” you need to realize a project in one box, hu? Hu??!!

  5. Thanks piece of shit Georgia. Would someone be so kind as to AT LEAST INDICATE THE ZIP CODE of where it went missing?

    Conversely, Researching newly formed hacker “spaces” within a 3 Month + or – timeframe. Or new Hackerspace members that came and “donated” in exchange for membership to said space?

  6. Can we get a box covered with plexi & solar-paneling & a $5 phone that is always on? Find my phone. Ah. There it is. I don’t quite remember but it’s a federal crime to steal a cellphone and send it over state lines, Right?

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