Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.
The world of DIY tech is filled with weird and wacky ideas with various motivations. From practical Arduino home automation projects to Raspberry Pi-powered Halloween scares, it seems there isn’t much electronics hobbyists can’t do.
Every now and again however, we do find ourselves thinking: “We can see how you did that, what we don’t really know is why you did that!”
This article covers some of the weirdest and worst projects we’ve seen in the DIY electronics scene. When we say worst, we don’t mean bad as such. There is nothing wrong with any of these projects, and the design of all of them is ingenious. They just constitute some of our favorite examples of a certain mentality: “I can do this, but should I do this?”
1. Arduino Calculator
Beginning with something relatively simple, Instructables user Kale_3d put together an impressive looking design for this fully functional calculator.
This build is impressive, complex, and aesthetically pleasing. It is also a calculator. Ah yes, but of course it has extra functions that can quickly calculate the trajectory of all potential alien spacecraft in our galaxy? Nope, it’s just a calculator.
As Kale_3d states in the opening paragraph of this Instructable, a $2 calculator would probably do everything this build can. This project is the perfect example of a great piece of engineering and a great learning experience. In terms of practicality, size, and ease of use? This definitely raises a few questions, and all of them are “Why?”
If you are looking for a similar but slightly more practical project to do with an Arduino, why not build a Digital D20 and roll in style?
2. The Sigh Collector
Stress is a huge problem in the modern world. Millions are spent in the wellness industry each year to help combat the roots of anxiety, and stop the symptoms of stress before they start. Instructables user mkontopo decided to take things into his own hands by creating a chest mounted sigh detector…
This machine uses a fleshy-looking air bladder mounted inside a free-standing wooden box. It’s filled by an air pump over time giving a visual representation of the amount of times the user has sighed. It is paired with a chest mounted breathing strap, which detects sighs and sends the appropriate signal to inflate the bladder some more.
This complex beautiful machine measures your sighs.
This might just be the most impressively over-engineered build we have ever seen when compared to the task it sets out to do. Many projects combine brutal practicality with a lack of aesthetics in the pursuit of useful real world applications. This project represents the glorious polar opposite of that approach. The build was created by Michael Kontopoulos as part of his “Measures of Discontent” series at UCLA.
3. Subscriber Torture Alarm
Being a YouTuber can be a lonely life. All day you create awesome cat related content in the hope that enough folks out there will like it enough to subscribe. How do you combat this feeling of disconnect from the millions of potential fans who will flock to your digital door?
YouTuber Micheal Reeves came up with a “solution” to this problem. Or perhaps “a bigger problem to go along with this problem” is more accurate.
As you can see in the video above, Michael did not opt for a blinking LED or pleasant notification bell for new subscribers to his channel. He instead chose the nuclear option, rigging up a 102db Piezo buzzer to a relay board, which also flashes the ceiling lights of the room 10 times in quick succession. Whilst recovering from this potential heart attack device, a connected loud speaker reads out the name of the most recent subscriber. At least he’ll know who to blame for the stress disorder!
On the off chance you ever read this Michael: well done. Also, phone notifications. Just a tip.
4. Le Myope
Are you sick of taking terrible photos? Do you get home after a day out only to find that your pictures of that lovely hedge are just a blurred mess? Fear not! Le myope (also known as the short-sighted camera) can help you.
As the above video shows, this Raspberry Pi powered handheld camera will take a photo as normal, before discarding it in favour of a similar image from Google. This saves you the stress of ever taking a good photo again. Is your Uncle messing up all your beautiful snaps of Majorca? Not anymore he’s not!
Once again, this project errs on the side of beautifully made, technologically sound, and close to useless. We love it.
If you want to make a start creating your own what-the-hell inventions using the Raspberry Pi, our getting started guide is the place to begin!
5. The Totally Impractical Pi Case
This combines all of what nobody would need in a hardware case. It’s fragile, hard to transport, impractical, and utterly fantastic. Just don’t make the same mistake as MikB in the comments did and leave your Pi in the pie while it is baking!
6. Bonus Pi Case
This one employs a little sideways thinking. Reddit user Derf_Jagged created an aesthetically pleasing and fully functional case from an old game cartridge. What makes this case the worst is the fact that it is housed in a cartridge for ET: The Extra Terrestrial on the Atari 2600, which is widely slated to be the worst game ever made.
7. Multi-Direction Automated Flamethrower
I think the title of this project says it all. There are ideas we all have in the middle of the night. Ideas we think up, before shaking our heads and saying to ourselves what was I thinking?
Then there are people like ercost60, who take these ideas and make them a reality. This four way programmable flamethrower is the perfect example of a terrible idea done well.
I think it goes without saying that you should not try this at home. This over-engineered approach to the aerosol can flamethrower could go spectacularly wrong in so many ways that no-one should ever even attempt to make it.
Even if it is this cool — which it is — it’s also a terrible idea. The worst idea.
Luckily, there are no instructions in place for this design, other than a note in the video description that it was not created using an Arduino. As if the initial design wasn’t crazy enough, the programmable flamethrower was combined with plastic pumpkins and a 20,000-volt Jacob’s ladder in order to create potentially the most dangerous Halloween DIY tech build we have ever seen.
If you want to make your own DIY Halloween decorations, we recommend trying something a little less likely to get you killed!
We would suggest taking on one of those, and leaving the weirdest and the worst projects to someone else.
Are you cooking up something strange in your workshop? Have you created something wonderfully useless? Let us know in the comments below!