Yeah, OK. I’ll admit it. I occasionally frequent the company of those robot builder guys. They tolerate me… even answer my questions. But these guys know how to build stuff.
This Instructable, How to Build Your Everything Really Really Fast, is a really detailed piece on what “design for assembly” is all about, and how to use it in building almost anything. His technique is squarely aimed at a builder like me… pretty much the definition of a “Garage builder”, without access to typical “3D subtractive machining” tools. It’s full of tiny gems of illumination, like, well, the term “3D subtractive”, which defines a type of manufacture, and thus design – maybe a common term among the MIT robot guys, but news to me. Another right from page 1: “Right angles and in-plane angles are really easy.” I love stuff like that. You know it… you use it. But until you say it out loud, you may not really understand how you use it or think of it as a build/design strategy. It’s kind of a “putting into words stuff I know intuitively, use every day, but don’t really understand that I do” type of thing.
The last page has some good links, too. But sit down, pour a cup, and savor each page… it’s kind of like what happens when I hang out with these guys. I’m interested, amused, and only really understand about 1/4 of what they’re talking about, but without fail, I pick up a few things that change how I think about what I’m doing. …it reminds me of when I visited Bill Atkinson, of early Apple fame. At some point I realized if I shut the heck up and listened, I may actually learn something.
If you’re designing anything… whether it’s parts for motorcycles or not, or whether you’re a garage builder or not, this is a great peek into the state of the design/manufacture art