Introduction: Simple Bots Tools and Fasteners
Simple Bots are a series of mechanical creatures made out of commonly available materials. Even if you have no prior experience building robots, you can quickly getting started building Simple Bots.
To make Simple Bots, all you need are simple tools. Almost all of the tools we will use in the creation of our friendly little bots are basic hand tools. In fact, the only two power tools that you might end up using are a power drill and a heat gun (we will go over that in a bit).
Most of these tools you probably already have lying around the house and I am going to assume you understand the basic operating principle of most of them. If not, you should quickly do research and familiarize yourself.
Once you have an idea of the tools you need, why not make some bots? To get instructions for all 24 Simple Bots, check out the Simple Bot eBook.
Step 1: Hand Tools
The first tool you will need you almost assuredly have lying about somewhere. Of course this is referring to the trusty screwdriver. In this book you will be using flat head and Philips head screwdrivers of varying sizes. If you don't immediately set aside this book and go get some!
You should also have a good pair of pliers to work with. Having a selection of pliers at your disposal is an added bonus!
Another thing that you will need, which you may or may not have is cutting pliers. This is an indispensable tool in the creation of Simple Bots. I recommend having on hand a smaller set for snipping wires and a larger pair for cutting... errr... larger things, as need be.
An average pair of scissors will undoubtedly be needed. Whatever you have lying about should suffice.
On occasion, you will need something sharper or more precise. For this you will need a razor blade, craft knife and/or box cutter.
And if all else fails, be sure to have a trusty hacksaw lying around to help you cut through metal, plastic and whatever may stand in your way. A standard hacksaw will come in extremely useful in building many of the bots.
Step 7: Power Tools
Now that we have hand tools out of the way, let's start to go over some of those power tools that I mentioned earlier.
The first power tool that will surely come in handy and is used in almost all of the projects in this book is a power drill. It does not matter whether it is battery-powered or corded.
Common features you want to look for in a drill is the ability to change drill speed (typically by how hard you pull the trigger) and toggle the direction the drill bit spins typically there is a switch near the trigger for forwards and backwards direction. Some drills also have a safety position to keep it from turning on when not in use. Finding a drill with a safety is highly recommended
Speaking of safety, it is important to keep your hands free of whatever you are drilling. You can accomplish this by clamping down whatever it is that you are working on. In addition, to prevent scuffing up your workbench, I recommend clamping the object to a block of scrap wood.
*** IMPORTANT! ***
Fully teaching how to use a power drill is outside the scope of this book. If you are unsure of how to operate a power drill, seek help from a knowledgeable and responsible adult.
Once you have a power drill, you will also need an assortment of drill bits. A wise investment would be a full drill bit set. Should you not want to splurge on that, you should at least have 1/8", 3/16", 1/4" and 3/8" drill bits.
In addition, some projects will call for 1/2" and 3/4" drill bits. These are a special type of drill bit called spade bits and they will need to be purchased separately.
Aside from the power drill, the only other power tool we will use in this book is only used in a handful or projects. This power tool is a heat gun, which is basically a super-charged hair dryer capable of producing temperatures into the hundreds of degrees. Unless you plan to undertake one of the few project that requires this tool, you don't need to worry about it.
Should you use it, remember that it gets hot and should always be pointed away from you. Things heated by it also get very hot. Never heat anything on or near flammable material and keep in mind that it may get your work surface so hot that it discolors.
Step 12: Fasteners
You will quickly learn that the fastener of choice for bot making is the zip tie. They are quick, easy, reliable and abundant. In seconds you can attach something firmly together and if you don't like it, you can instantly undo it with a snip from your diagonal cutters and try something new. It is highly recommended that you get zip ties in an assortment of shapes, sizes and colors.
The next fastener you will need a varied assortment of are nuts and bolts. Different bots will call for a different assortment of nuts and bolts. The one thing to remember when buying them is that threading of the nut has to match the threading of the bolt.
While it is good practice to try to avoid gluing things together whenever possible, on a few occasions we will be attaching things using hot glue. The nice thing about hot glue is that it is cheap, quick and easier to undo than some other glues.
The one thing to keep in mind, however, is that, like the name implies, hot glue gets hot. Be careful not to get any on yourself because it can burn.
Shrink tube is only used to make a small handful of Simple Bots. To use it, place the shrink tube around the things you are trying to join together and apply heat briefly. This is typically done with a heat gun.