March 22, 2013 7:19 AM   Subscribe

A few years ago Charles Guan was a teacher's assistant in MIT's 2.007 introductory design and manufacturing class. To help out his fellow students he made a guide to building robots quickly and efficiently. Now he has expanded the original guide, retitled it How to Build your Everything Really Really Fast (HTBYERRF) and published it on Instructables, available for anyone wishing to progress from the "zip ties and duct tape" stage of building things.
posted by Harald74 (15 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
2.007 is notable for its final robotics competition. The class used to be called 2.70, and the competition was shown on the Discover TV show in the 80s.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 7:54 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

I met a lady in some hotel bar who took me on a tour of the 'leg lab' around 2am some Wed night 20 years ago. It was cool. That is all.
posted by sfts2 at 7:57 AM on March 22, 2013

This is good stuff. I would like some exposition on why he prefers what he calls "T-nuts" (which I would call "sleepers") over tapped holes. He says he's using standard nuts in widened slots, but the ones in his photos look custom. Also, he says he's going to describe designs using "garage tools" like drill presses, etc., but jumps right into abrasive-jet and laser cutters.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:34 AM on March 22, 2013

Yeah, I thought those were called "captured nuts". A t-nut is this if you are talking about wood and this if you are talking about metal (typically on a milling machine).

I saw this link over on Make yesterday but didn't click it because of the "really really fast". I think of fast building kind of like fast food. But from what I can tell (by dodging around the HTML problems it seems with putting images on top of text), his "really really fast" seems to be about keeping the tweaking stage by Doing It Right The First Time (i.e. not depending on specific nut tightness, etc). I'll have to read the whole thing now.
posted by DU at 8:45 AM on March 22, 2013

Now, I see that in Step 8 he gets into how to build stuff if you don't have one of those cutting machines. You buy premade fastening devices.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:51 AM on March 22, 2013

I'm going to print this out and force every contractor we work with to read this. The stupid shit I have deal with on a daily basis caused by dumb design ideas is boundless.

Also kind of wishing we had held out for a place with a garage. I don't think the waterjet table is going to fit down the basement stairs.
posted by backseatpilot at 8:54 AM on March 22, 2013

Very useful, thanks! I email dad incessantly whenever building anything.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:57 AM on March 22, 2013

You take the waterjet apart to get it into the basement, like I did with my lathe.

That MIT/Discover video link is awesome in so many ways.
posted by DU at 8:58 AM on March 22, 2013

This is great. I design this kind of thing for a living (inspired by the MIT robot competition show in my youth - full circle!). I still learned a few things from the document (finger jointing laser-cut metal plates before welding for alignment - great idea!)
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:44 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Wow, I'm not the only person to use the SLFFEA finite element analyzer.
posted by localroger at 11:01 AM on March 22, 2013

The HTBYERRF references these lecture notes, which are also really handy. For instance "Saint Venant's Principle" takes a bit of understanding, but it's a great rule of thumb for mechanical design.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:25 AM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

these lecture notes, which are also really handy

My god I was already pre-diabetic now I'm gonna need a pancreas transplant. Do they even do those? I am so fucked.

You know, I am the guy he is describing. I love what I do. I love being able to do what I do. I love the feeling of solving a hard problem and, especially when the solution is a robot, sitting back and watching it do its thing. Yeah I got the passion. Fuck yeah.

But the way it's presented there ... WTF? Look, you don't get passion from all the little hearts around the headlines. Passion is messy, passion is obstinate, passion is dangerous. Passion gives your boss the middle finger while your wife is pregnant. Passion can be really stupid.

In this world it's a rare privilege to be able to earn a living while exercising your passion. Most who try end up failing. Even if you could, which you probably really can't, making your passion the focus of your engineering degree which will probably be obsolete before you pay off your first new car is kind of stupid. Please don't tell people to do this. Please don't do this. Please just don't.
posted by localroger at 7:56 PM on March 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I was a bit jaded by the intro section of the lecture notes too (the technical sections are better). I think that bit about "passion to create" is less solid career advice, and more about motivating overworked, unpaid students to put in a bunch of extra hours building robots for the course.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:11 AM on March 23, 2013

Some nice info, but WTF instructables? Gah - so annoying - just make a pdf already.

Also, I bought a couple of these as kits over christmas, and man the captured nut thing is a PITA, and looks like crap to boot. Maybe it is easier if the finger-slots are enclosed.
posted by ianhattwick at 3:58 PM on March 23, 2013 [1 favorite]

I thought the lecture notes were pretty meaty, considering. The annoying thing is the videos. They are of a guy pointing to a computer monitor we can't see. That's....helpful.
posted by DU at 6:40 PM on March 23, 2013

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