Welcome to Big Chuck’s Little Robot Warehouse!

Sunday, January 17th, 2016 @ 6:53 | MIT & Boston

Since December, I’ve been shifting operations over to my little safe-corner at the Art is a NSA-sylum. My ‘center of gravity’ is now over there, with only some big hardware still lounging around MIT which I hope to evacuate once I figure out space. Here’s what’s been going down on that front!

I decided to use a network of wire shelving carts and FIRST Robotics binny-things to organize storage and projects. That size of tote was on serious sale after the 2015 FRC game which involved moving them around.  There were two “densities”. One of them spaced the shelves around 15 inches apart, allowing a closed tote to be stored as well as allowing the usage of smaller 30-quart Sterilite bins which I had acquired a taste for in the IDC, but permitted the opening of neither in place (I  have to remove them). The other was build around 23″ spacings, allowing the large totes to be opened in-place and the smaller bins to be stacked.

Here’s my emo-corner after a night of setup. I decided to use the tighter spacing in the end since… let’s face it, I was more likely to put every little thing everywhere here, so might as well make more room for it.

I ordered two packs of FIRST bins. Once they arrived, it was time to get packing!

What I learned from this was that I had a lot of stuff. Gratuitous amounts of  stuff. And that’s JUST what fits inside approximately 10 bins! I have several go-karts and scooters that I need to find homes for, a rack of metal stock, and some other scattered builds and containers. These few weeks saw me unload a lot of stuff at MITERS and elsewhere, including LandBearShark, which has officially been adopted. Like the old LOLrioKart, you might see it surface again in another form with new operators.

Here we are now, on New Year’s Day, after another big move. It’s now feeling like home – once your 3D printers start moving over, that’s when you’ve truly settled into a space.

And yes, that’s my personal MarkForged machine! Go ahead. Ask me about it. I’m basically a salesman for them anyway.

I also have my own little export of the IDC electronics bench. Sourcing and dealing with the tools there has caused me to grown a liking to them, as well as allowing me to get to know their shortcomings and how to address them, so I got my own copies. The BK supply is still one of my favorite lab power supplies – the IDC ones have been regenerated into or accidentally shorted dozens of times by students. I purchased a WD1 station years ago at a MIT Swapfest event, and now finally have a proper place to use it.

The combination desk & EE bench will handle most of the RageBridge shenanigans, but what I don’t have yet is a more solid workbench for mechanical work.


Around the corner is a storage-only location. Consider it an evolution of Stuffcart. This uses the 22″ spacing for shelves, so I can open one of the bins in-place – basically cold storage for parts and whatnot. Not like I have a choice – the DC Motors bin outweighs me, for instance, and needless to say it’s on the very bottom holding the shelf upright. On the right side is basically all of Equals Zero Designs, plus some more robot detritus.

All of the shelves are on wheels in case I have to retool the spaces to do something in particular, or if AA is shifting around spaces; this corner is known as a “Pallet storage” location, where technically all your stuff should be on pallets but the keyword is “easily movable if needed” since the space membership cycles regularly and spaces open up or get eaten.

Finally having all my tools in one spot showed me that my single little rolley toolbox was not enough. It was time to move on up!

I #yolo’d this 44″ rolling tool chest from Harbor Freight on New Year’s Eve  as part of their end of year sale. While their prices generally don’t fluctuate much (as a devout HF disciple, I have a good idea of what everything costs yearround), it was on the low end again and… hell, why not. I immediately regretted this as I had brought neither help nor an appropriate vehicle, and it subsequently took myself and two HF guys to wrestle it into the back of Mikuvan after removing the pallet it comes on. This thing is quite beastly – it weighs 300 pounds empty and rides on huge aluminum-core casters. My only complaint is that it doesn’t come in Miku Blue.

What I might do is create a MDF and butcher-block top surface for it which bolts into where the handles and add-on side chests would go. That way I basically have a workbench built on top of this cabinet. Then at least I can hang things like a larger bench vise and arbor press, etc. off of the side, instead of having to source an entire other structure to have as a workbench. Anything heavy duty just gets walked over to the Asylum’s shop spaces – I don’t need to create a self sufficient bubble, just things which are a convenience and which don’t take up much space.

With stuff settled in and the space achieving productivity, it was time to move this coming year’s citizens in… Welcome to your new home, Sadbot. Don’t put too many holes into the drywall.

 what’s next?

  • RAGEBRIDGE 2!! After a month and a half of delay, Rage2s shipped from the PCB assembly house this week. It’s going to be an exciting week. If you’re a backer, prepare to get an update!
  • Overhaul v2 will be the  first “big hardware” project that this space takes on. I’m actually in the midst of trying to get special permission from BattleBots / ABC to blog all of it, from start to finish, including design and the work on Sadbot. Why? Well, first, because I can’t ever shut up about anything I’m building; you know that.But second, because I see the TV show as one grand chance to preach the gospel of engineering to a much bigger audience than I’ve ever done so before, and to show that building a robot of any sort is not something for ‘smart people’ or ‘the kids from MIT’ (a label which I’ve warned them I was fully divesting from this time). Showing the conception, design, engineering, fabrication, assembly, testing, and revision of one of these machines from end to end is specifically part of my agenda, something I was barred from doing the first time around because of the nature of the production. I hope to change this, or at least, be the only exemption. Maybe they can focus on OH2 as a specific side story thread or something. I don’t know, nor do I care about the presentation, so long as it happens.

That’s right, I’m fighting for the ability to disclose to you and discuss ALL of Overhaul 2′s deepest secrets, in immense detail, because I can’t be bothered to treat my favorite hobby & sport of 15 years as something that is magic to onlookers or have this notion that the secret-er I keep my robot, the more likely I’ll win.

That’s some kind of Apple bullshit, and I’ve never been a Apple fan. Let’s hope it works!



  • More About the #RobotTrapShop and Building Up a New Workspace
  • A New Beginning: The 17th Chapter; Back to the A-Town
  • Robot Ruckus at Orlando Maker Faire: How to Somewhat Scale-Model Test Your BattleBots
  • Überclocker 5: Finishing Up The Everything Else
  • Überclocker 5.0: In Which I Actually Have to Build the Bot, Not Just Talk About It
  • Überclocker 5.0: The Big Post of Designy-Stuff
  • The Overhaul of the Future Begins Now: Überclocker 5.0 (Also, Welcome Back to Robots)
  • Operation RESTORING BROWN Part 7: The Epilogue; or, Dragon Con 2019
  • Operation RESTORING BROWN Episode VI: Return of the Van Lights; the Conclusion
  • Late Stage #PostmodernRobotics: Welcome to Your Waifu is Trash, the Robot Dumpster Fire

    2 Responses to “Welcome to Big Chuck’s Little Robot Warehouse!”

    1. Max Says:

      Let’s hope you succeed. After all, no-one gets to mess around with Big Chuck… ;)

    2. Doug Gallardo Jr Says:

      If you start running out of space, I call dibs on that juice!