Bored at Work
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    The Good Stuff
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Bored At Work

UPDATE: This section hasn't had any updates in ages. Now I've moved jobs I actually have to work for a living. I don't mind - I get to spend my time building silly web games and generally doing the stuff I'd be doing with computers as a hobby anyway. With every upside comes a downside though, and here the black cloud to my silver lining is that I don't get to make toy engines whilst waiting for programs to compile anymore.

How bored do you get at work? I get very bored. Really, really really bored. I think I found the ideal pastime though: Office Supply Sculpture! Anyone who works in an office of some sort can have a go. It works like this:

Create small works of art using things found around the office. Award yourself bonus if they actually work and do something. The catch - you can only use tools and materials found at or around your office. Nothing brought in from home, nothing purchased specifically for the purpose. That includes tools too! Just occasionally you can break the rules if the thing you're after is going to be impossible to find and is an utterly essential component. Or, if the thing should be easily found but your office inexplicably doesn't have some. Stick to the spirit though, eh?

Improvised tools

You have to have tools to make stuff. You just can't get around that fact. The main things you need to be able to do are cut, drill, bend and attach.

Cut   Pencil sharpner blades. These are sharp, and cut well. They're tricky to hold though and hurt after a while. Cutting through thick stuff is time consuming. They wear out with use too, like most sharp blades.
Cut   A friend gave me a crappy keyring penknife with four tools in it in a disused desk. It contains a knife. It's blunt but has a better grip than a pencil sharpner blade.
Drill   Drawing pins and map pins. For small holes for axles, and for starting holes, drawing pins of all kinds are useful. They tend to punch a hole rather than drilling it though, so need to be tidied afterwards.
Drill   Screwdriver. The penknife thing has a cross-blade screwdriver on it, which is good for reaming out small holes into larger ones. Very useful.
Bend   Fork. The penknife thing had a surprisingly strong two-pronged fork on it. That worked well for putting fairly precise bends in paperclips.
Bend   Staple-remover. This worked great as a sort of paperclip clamp for a while, then eventually grew too much slop to be further use.
Attach   Blu-tac. The magic glue that all offices have.
Attach   Sellotape. Again, all offices have this and it've lovely and versatile. It doesn't work well when there's hot water around though.
Attach   Staples. Easily found, limited uses. They make good short pivot pins and can be easily snapped to the right length though.
Attach   Glue. I found some Bostick glue in a disused desk. Bargain!
Attach   Aquarium glue. This stuff is meant to hold the glass sides of water tanks together, A friend had this stuff and it's fabulously useful. A minor abuse of the rules, but I don't care. A friend thought it might be useful to me, and he was right.

Stuff I've done so far

The early stuff
These are the first few things I made. Some are lame, some are OK. You can see the genesis of the idea to move on to good stuff here.

The good stuff
Complex big concepts like engines and walking machines live here. Yarrr!

The latest stuff
Ambitous stuff that isn't necessarily finished yet. Some good, some less good.

What they're saying about Bored At Work:

These pages got popular for a while. Well, 3 days to be precise. Then all my bandwidth was used up by the 32,000 visitors and the site self-terminated for a month. Anyhow, during that time the site got linked from all over the place. Here's what people said about it on some of those sites:

  • We all get bored at work some days, but not as much as this guy does. He must be a manager. He fills his hours making fascinating objects from common workplace items, such as a robotic walker fashioned from paper clips and rubber bands. I wish I had his job
    CMU: I resent that comment! I'm nothing like as worthless as a manager. As if a manager could build things like compressed air engines from office junk. And trust me, you really don't want my job. Pretending to work is far harder than actually working
  • Why not make people think you're some kind of insane office terrorist? Oh right, because you'd go to jail
    Still here - not arrested. If only terrorists actually used elastic band powered weaponary and engines made from pen tubes, the world would be a considerably safer place
  • when will you learn? wearing that tea cosie on your head doesnt only make you look strange but its attracting suspicious looking urine monkeys
    CMU: Ummm...
  • what happened to when people commented on links? By the way, some of these office weapons could seriously rock you.
    If by rock, you mean mildly annoy then yes, yes they will
  • I need instructions to build these things, I'm not as smart as you think
    CMU: Probably best I don't give you instructions if you're less smart than I think you are
  • I couldnt make that that looks like it involves effort
    CMU: It's less effort than you might imagine, but more than I suspect you're willing to put spend
  • What ever happened to masturbation?
    CMU: It's alive and well as always, just not in open plan offices! At least in the UK

Underwood's Axioms 1c: Nothing works (ns)