Living in an apartment in Sydney has its advantages. Rent is cheaper, I can live close to the city, not a big area to clean, etc… There is however one big draw-back for any Maker, Inventor or Engineer, the lack of working space. I do not have a garage, shed or workshop space. Anything that requires mess (sawdust, plastic or foam) from sanding, cutting or spraying must be done in one of the rooms or on the balcony and will likely go everywhere. Building robots did not seem to be compatible with living in an apartment.
I found this out the hard-way when creating the Prototype chassis. Sanded foam, shards of cut fiberglass cloth, sanded putty and epoxy resin was all over my apartment and in the air which did not impress my wife at all. The whole process made me really think whether or not I could build anymore robot chassis in the future at home and whether I needed to move my work to a better, however less convenient environment.
Using the trusty Google, I looked up as many ideas as I could regarding apartment working or apartment workshops but did not find much. After much searching a chanced upon an Instructable (which is a great place to find ideas and plans for makers) for a DIY Anaerobic Chamber. The concept was great for what I wanted. So I created a version for myself that would allow me to keep contained all the dust and mess that I had been creating in making a chassis.
I have documented my build in the Projects section under Apartment Work Space Box.
Has anyone else had issues making or inventing in apartments? How did you overcome these issues?
I like my robots unusual. The weirder the better. Stargate Replicators (bugs – not the human looking ones) are my favorite. They always gave me the impression of robotics and nature meeting, the robotic ants that take over worlds. In current robotics they would be categorised as Swarm Robots which has always been a particular fascination of mine. Simple robots with simple behaviors and abilities that work together with the results being emergent behavior that gives the impression of a higher intelligence.
I have always wanted to build robots such as these, but this is a very far off goal as anyone who has started a robot project would know very well. So to start I want to build a robot that is simple and work towards my goals into the future.
First things first. Whenever I have built a robot I have started very well, bought all the electronics and mechanical pieces and started to put things together with limited success and finally ending up procrastinating and abandoning the project or starting something new. Also when I show my wife, friends or family what I have built I am usually greeted with funny looks and the usual “what is it?” and “what does it do?” question. I feel that I am missing the WOW factor in my robot building.
I am usually WOWed while watching Sci-fi shows and the robots they create. Another favorite of mine is the Farscape DRD which is a very cute driving robot. I will begin my robot making by building the outside shell first to give the WOW factor that I hope will keep me motivated to continue the project to the end. I want an unusual robot to give me the WOW but I need to learn how to do this. In the next few weeks I will look toward making a great model for my robot to fit in.