There’s no project that dives into existential quandaries more than a useless machine, as they can truly illustrate the futility of existence by turning themselves off once they have been powered on. Typically this is done with a simple switch, but for something that can truly put the lights out, and then re-illuminate them, [James]’s latest project is a useless machine that performs this exercise with a candle.
The project consists of two arms mounted on a set of gears. One arm has a lighter on it, and the other has a snuffer mounted to a servo motor. As the gears rotate, the lighter gets closer to the candle wick and lights it, then the entire assembly rotates back so the snuffer can extinguish the flame. Everything is built around an Arduino Nano, a motor driver powering a Pitman gear motor, and a set of Hall effect sensors which provide position data back to the microcontroller.
If you’re in the mood for a little existential angst in your own home, [James] has made the project files available on his GitHub page. We always appreciate a useless machine around here, especially a unique design like this one, and one which could easily make one recognize the futility of lighting a candle at all.
7 thoughts on “Useless Machine For An Existential Quandary”
Perhaps it could be made to measure the resistance of the flame to know when it’s burning and that could reverse the rotation.
Now this is a hack I just can’t hole a candle to.
A flashing candle ?
Morse code for snails that like to observe candles?
i see bored people.
Maybe if it lit candle on both ends i could see it as existential quandry.
Still cool semi useful machine. Need a remote, settable delay timer, but more useful ” Hey Goo Goo set the mood”. Barry White optional
turn that speed up
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