Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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ultimate junkbox

web collective of junkboxes for those erksome missing pieces
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I have an old typewriter with a missing screw . Although the click-ity clack operation of this antique is independent of this screw , a hole remains .

Going to the large array of flotsam and rejects in my junk, I failed to find a suitable alternative . What if I could check everyone's junkboxes for what I need ? Well, the people who want open access .

I propose a website community, preferably local, to post the needed widget's carefully measured specifications . Hopefully people can swap their bits and magically the junkboxes will grow smaller if not fed to often .

wjt, Feb 06 2009

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       This could / should be combined with digital imaging technology. Throw the contents of the junk box on a bed sheet, photograph it with the highest resolution your camera can manage, and upload. Server-side, break down the images into objects, dimension them and where possible categorise them.   

       Invite users to tag common classes of objects (e.g. the system finds a close cluster of long thin grey bars with perpendicular heads - invitation shows representative images from set and user types 'nail').   

       From this you are then able to search: Nail, length=40mm < this will pull up all the objects clustered close to the 'nail' tag, ordered by absolute difference from longest dimension to 40mm.   

       Option then is to arrange collection (private message system) or to pay postage (paypal button / site credits).
vincevincevince, Feb 07 2009
  

       Amazing idea that a junkbox could actually grow smaller and *not* by welding stuff together and calling it modern sculpture.
FlyingToaster, Feb 07 2009
  

       Build a bot (out of junk of course) that periodically rummages through your junkbox and uploads images of newly arrived items.
BunsenHoneydew, Feb 08 2009
  

       If you had a toolbox that had a small sliding shelf, and everytime you had a small screw you put it in the shelf, and slid it into the toolbox, a scanner within could scan the new item and register it against a standardized grid background to pick out the metrics of the item. The scan wouldn't have to be that high resolution, and the instant recognition would fill a tiny database stored on the toolbox.   

       Wireless and USB versions would then report back the quantity and amount of screws, do-dads, and nails they contain.   

       Different from [vincevincevince], this provides a more isolated way to analyze the items, plus it keeps track of what is in the toolbox, on the toolbox, for reference when you are out in the field. Optionally allow a small keyboard to enter notes, i.e. 'this screw came out of the top left hand corner of my camera', or maybe a small webcam to annotate with low res reference pictures.   

       I bet someone's already come up with a digitally enhanced, mechanized, disassembly/reassembly aid? my current method is to just put screws in a small tackle box or on a piece of paper, but there's not a lot of profit to be made there.   

       of course there's problems with synching.. hmm.
mylodon, Feb 08 2009
  

       dunno... go on vacation and come home to find that your computer has sold your TV piece by piece.
FlyingToaster, Feb 08 2009
  
      
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