Why do we make?

Why do hobbiests make things?  Or more pertinent to LMR - why do hobbiests make robots?

I ask because when I see an interesting project posted, I also see a lot of requests for detailed designs, schematics and code in the comments.  Then there are numerous postings where folks want/need constant hand-holding throughout the design & build process.  If you can't (or haven't) made an LED blink, what do you need with the code for satellite navigation?  If your interest is professional or to finish a school project, then I suggest that blindly following others isn't a good path for advancement.  If you're not interested in the process, why are you interested in the product? 

Are you building a device so that you can have a cool something that no one else on the block has?  So that you can post an unusual video and get lots of hits?  So that instead of spending $30 on a cheap R/C car you can spend $200 and still not know what happens between the joystick and the wheels?

Some of the most capable LMR members are working on Big Things - things that are important for their careers or education.  But I think most folks here like to make things because the process is fun.  The goal isn't to have a little assembly of plastic and wires that scoots around the room without hitting the walls.  The goal is to learn something new, to create a Thing that didn't use to exist and to provide an outlet for our creativity.

And now, having written this post without the advantage of tenure on this fine site, I say to you... Have Fun.  I have some LEDs I need to make blink.

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Because a couple of years ago I realized I had forgotten how to play. Everything I did had to be for a reason.

But hobby Robotics, I can follow my muse, change direction, drop projects because they are boring, explore stuff just because I am interested. I have a college background in electronics, but I work with computers. I always found college fun, but work not very challenging.

So that's why...play......however if my wife asks ....it's to take over the world and build a toe eating robot out of an old shredder I have stashed somewhere. Best regards Shane

For world domination of course!!

First rule of world domination....is don't talk about world domination...


Why do I build stuff that has no apparent reason or goal?
I love to work with my hands. Mechanics, electronics, programming to a lesser degree (it is a necessary evil if you want to work with uC's).
I am not a super skilled craftsman. If I saw a board, it usually has crooked edges. If I solder a circuit, the solder often has blobs or big pieces of flux. When I bend a piece of metal it is regularly not completely straight.
I keep doing it to better myself, to aquire skills that might come in handy for stuff that can make a difference in my or someone elses life.
Yes, I have borrowed pieces of code, asked people to help me in debugging because I couldn't find it, asked people for a more detailed explanation of something. Why? Because I want to learn.

What I will never do, and that is the second part of your story, is ask people for the exact way to build something, the exact code or a complete parts list. Building something exactly as someone else has done doesn't teach you anything, except to follow instructions.

A lot of people do this nowadays. On other forums (Arduino forum is such a place) they call those people 'the generation of instant gratification'. People want to buy parts that go together easily, slam a battery in and see the new toy do what they want it to do, without solving any problems or thinking of any schematic.
This is fine, if that is your thing. Those people I would advise to go the Lego Mindstorms road.

What can piss me off sometimes is people that expect you to hold their hand and guide them through every step, as if you are their personal teacher.
I don't mind helping people that are actually interested in the technology that I am working with, I do mind helping people that expect the earlier mentioned instant gratification. You do a lot of work and they expect you to tell them exactly how to do it, or they get pissed off. And when they are finished they show their project off and tell everyone they made it from scratch and, especially if it turns out a bit better than your original, because of things that you have learned along the way of creation, they will gloat about it.
Thank yous are usually not even there, because they will abandon the forum or site that they met you on and go on to the next shiny.

What I like about LMR is that everybody is helpfull to a certain extent. I have not seen alot of serious forum topics go unanswered, except for the questions like 'I want to build X, please tell me what to buy, how to assemble and write me the code'.

off-topic: What I hate about LMR is that people are building so much awesome stuff that it inspires me to build more more more but I can't!

Well in my opinion there are many explanations one may say . He is building something in order to give

meaning in his life(meaning he has an aim in his life) , or to overcome a problem he may be facing or because he wants to make a better world  or because Ideas that may be in his head are so exciting that he can't let them be and he want to make them



Well the first reason is The Knack , the second reason is because I like being creative and the third reason is because

some day I want to contributte to the community we what I am making .

(edit : forget to say why I am building)


I am building things because I did it not for many years and need to create something more than a website or some code hidden in a program wher nobody can see it.

I was building things...stared by folded paper planes, carved ships (even in a bottle), model ships with e motor, Mississippi steam boat, model planes (with and without RC) electronic dice, electronic ping pong game (Pong) electronic doorbell etc.

But the thing is you are getting busy with job, family, family, job and there is not enough time for all...that I thought...now I know there is time for all...just use it. Also interesting is the new technology...the cheap MC's  and the open source community. This gives me the chance to build again...some of my old ideas which i couldn't realize because of missing MC's or lack of programming skills. Hell, even simple tools was not that cheap years ago...and where I lived, now it's all just available for an affordable price.

I also realized that there are many "please post the code, schematics and part list" members but that's the new age. People mostly try to use the internet for the quick success but forget to use their brain. (..i am taking a short visit to one of this "I have a question" platforms) There you can find questions which can be answered by the half of the time in Google or Wikipedia...and more reliable than a platform with thousands of teens and non-professionals. (nothing against teens but there are many of them just wasting their time and resources just to get answers like an google link with the search string ;-) (it takes less time to type a search string in google than to write a question in those platforms)

Yes, I am also using code from others here but the thing is not just because I am lazy but to see how they solved a problem and for me to get an idea how to make a walking bot moving. So, the point is what invent the wheel again if there is already something what i can use but this is just a help. Later i will adjust the code for my needs that I can say "I DID IT" and not have to write "somebody else did it and i just assembled it".

example: I fell in love with Chopstick from the first post OddBot made and want to build it too. So i am very glad that OddBot released the code so I can have a look how to do it. I am probably not writing my own code, just use it and adjust it to my needs and ideas...maybe i am even capable to improve it in a way. That's my way and if I do so I will give credit to the sources I used...their work should be honored.

Some like to be creative, some like to solve problems, and even more enjoy working with the technology.  If someone posts a great project, I enjoy looking at how they might have done something, maybe to think about how I would do it or if I could make it more efficient. If nothing else, then I may have learned a new technique.

As an example of what I like to do, one thing that I've been hacking is a simple toy that is a motion/light sensor and transmits an rf signal to another device(base station). I wanted to make it better... so I've taken it apart and mocked a setup so that it transmits the data to my comp instdead of the simple toy device(base station)....I also have modified one of the transmitter/detectors adding a uProc to one of the three transmitters so as to do some data processing prior to sending out the ping to the base station. It's still a work in progress.....though I've not touched it in a while...but that was more of due to changing requirements and switching over to a different proc....but to get back on topic, I've done stuff like this because it's fun....and I like to tinker with shizzle like this.

Will you be writing more pompous snobbery? ; j

Alas, and unavoidably... almost certainly.

I respect and admire the experienced and accomplished folks who help foundering newcomers - perhaps someday I'll have the knowledge-base to be helpful as well.  Right now I fall closer to the foundering newcomer categoy, which frames my posting in a bit of irony.  My comments were intended to more speak to the philosophy of hobby craft, and could equally apply to many other hobbiest pursuits.

I like your tags for this post. Will you be writing more pompous snobbery? ; j

New users get a little leeway... at least in my book. I try to direct them to the rules and provide advice. I know many others who respond to questions. When it gets to be obvious that someone is taking on too much, they are usually gently told as you say, to 'blink an LED'. 

For every newbie asking dumb questions (yes, there are dumb questions), some will learn and grow their native talents. We hope for those, and so we help where we can.