Twenty 2020 Bots – Bay Area Maker Faire 2017

Phew!  That was amazing!
I had a blast at Bay Area Maker Faire building 2020 Bots all day Saturday and Sunday.  Once an hour, a couple attendees got a chance to build their own 2020 Bot and take it home with them.

Everyone seemed to have fun building, and I learned what works, and where things need improvement.

Here’s a random list of things that I think need work:

  • Switch to a different mounting tape.  VHB is an AWESOME tape, but really hard to peel.  This slowed things down the most, and often required my intervention, which took away from the “DIY” aspect a bit.
  • I’m going to create a flip-book for step-by-step instructions.  That way people can move a bit more at their own pace, rather than having me be a bottleneck (in the case where multiple builds are happening at once).
  • Tweak my banners.  Most attendees interpreted the “Twenty Dollars. Twenty Minutes. Build a Bot.” slogan as a sales pitch, where they could pay $20 to hang out and build a bot.  Totally understandable at Maker Faire.  I ended up displaying a couple “Fast Fact” sheets where the first item was “I am not selling anything!”.
  • Other difficult assembly pieces were the motor driver screw terminals and sliding the wheels on to the gearbox axles.  I have some ideas that might work…
  • Quality was good for most parts.  I tested all the electronics and motors before heading to the Faire.  The most problematic component was the breadboard.  I had about six with internal spring pins misaligned, making insertion of the Arduino Nano very difficult.  They weren’t 100% bad, just needed a lot of coaxing, which in a tight time window was not optimal.  I ended up checking for Arduino Nano insertion ease before using any breadboard, and put aside the tough ones.
  • One on one, we could put a pre-prepped 2020 Bot together in a half hour.  When I worked with two or more people at a time, things got progressively slower, mostly due to the VHB tape.

Here’s a slideshow:

2 thoughts on “Twenty 2020 Bots – Bay Area Maker Faire 2017

  1. Ted Richardson says:

    I hope everything is going well with you. I looked for you at the Maker Fair today May 19th 2018. I was hoping to ask you some questions. Last year we talked for a few minutes. I am really interested in following your design for building robots with elementary school children.

    Are you still working on the design and perfecting it?

    Let me know if it is still possible to follow your design and where do I collect the parts?

    • RoboJay says:

      Hi Ted,

      Yeah, I didn’t make it out to the Bay Area this year.

      The 2020 Bot still continues to evolve.

      I’ve held a number of “Build a Bot” classes at the maker space I’m a member of. Non-video based instructions are available now and have been fairly well tested. These do assume the prep-work has already been done (soldering wires to the motors, adding connectors to the battery box, etc.).

      Check out for links to the instructions and parts.

      The local response has been positive enough that I will be ordering another batch of parts for classes. We have some scouting and school groups interested in building the bots. I’m still undecided whether or not to offer them for sale outside of the classes…

      I’ll drop you an email so you’ll have my contact info.


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