OMG, when they said this was a builders club they never said I had to become a designer too! In the process of building my “Tin Plated Booby” I had to learn how to weld, use Bondo, learn electronics and how to solder, paint, bend plastic without breaking it while retaining its new shape and how to essentially draw in a CAD program.
What a trip!! I should get a degree for this!! Hey wait….some places actually DO grant degrees for making Robots (MIT)!! LOL
However, don’t get the wrong idea, I didn’t create my Robot from total scratch. I did take advantage of the skills of fellow club members but no matter what I purchased, assembled or designed from scratch, you had to learn about it to understand it and figure out what needed to be done or what to expect to make sure what you are getting is correct and of good quality.
There are a few sellers in the group who make parts available for club members but there is no builders council or standard among them to ensure that what you get from 1 seller will fit with another vendors parts. So most of the time you are having to make your own stuff, either from scratch or modifying someone Else’s work.
This is something you learn very fast when plunking down your hard earned money for parts that you have never really seen in person. Pictures can be deceiving. BE VERY CAREFUL and ask lots of questions. Follow up every phone call with your vendor to ensure no misunderstanding. There are a lot of excellent people on the builders list but all it takes is 1 misunderstood communication or 1 “bad apple” and it can ruin your total experience. That happened to me!
The enthusiasm about building your favorite robot can be over powering and lead you to make rash choices. Be cautious who you send your money to and to make firm agreements up front on delivery times if the part is not ready to be shipped. Don’t assume anything!! Make sure you deal with people who are in the approved vendor list. I (along with others) got burned by a few builders who never delivered what was paid for. For some, they haven’t received their items in years. Those people have been banned yet there are some that still try to make a deal with them and they are paying for that mistake today! Don’t be one of them!
On a lighter side, let me just say this for those who are new to this hobby. Remember that this IS a hobby, so do not expect a vendor to have something on the shelf just waiting for you to purchase it. Most of these items are made when the demand is created or requested. Enjoy yourself. Take your time on him. Do your research! Have parties discussing him with like minded friends. In this process you will have to learn a lot of things that you may not have ever had any experience with. It is a great way to bring the family together for a common goal and for all to share in. I mean Really, how many people can actually say they made a full sized, animated (and possibly) fully mobile robot??!!! He is great at parties, conventions and especially around Halloween!!