Gadgets, Gizmos & Home Manufacturing

I ran into this youtube channel (Cool Gadgets & Stuff) that seems to exist to showcase everything I’ve not thought of inventing but ought to have…

It has some interesting devices. In many cases based on minor robotics. Things like a printer where you set the box on a surface and it runs around printing on it, or a cutting tool that does the same but cutting out shapes while free running (or the more mundane small plotter box but where you can swap the pen for a laser cutter…)

The one that put me over the edge to making this a posting, is a DIY open source kit to make a gardening robot. It is a metal frame around a raised bed box with an arm. The arm can plant, water, weed and I’m sure even more. The fun bit? The brain is a Raspberry Pi computer ;-) It uses limited robot vision to spot weeds and then terminate them, and a moisture probe to keep soil moisture ideal.

Just what I always wanted, a robot to grow food for me ;-)

But just be aware, I didn’t see a shovel attachment, so I think building the raised bed, shoveling in and then raking out the soil are all for you to do.

Here’s a couple of their video collections of “tools I’d like to have in my infinite workshop someday”…

Here’s the Farm Bot Link.

What happens when computer geeks playing with robots and software and computer games start thinking about food?

Drag and Drop Farming
Graphically design your farm by dragging and dropping plants into the map. The game-like interface is learned in just a few minutes so you’ll have the whole growing season planned in no time.

Gee… wonder if those machines that 3-D print houses could be hooked up to Sim City and… drag and drop city?

In this one, someone re-invents the Vac-u-form toy I had back about the ’60s? as a usable maker device. Then there’s the Goliath free ranging router… But what I really want is the CNC milling machine. Who needs an 80% “lower” when you can get aluminum stock and just let it mill away…

I think we are rapidly approaching the point where a person with, oh, a 1000 sq. ft. (or maybe less) of garage space can do a complete shop with CNC milling, painting & printing – both surface and 3D, vac-u-formed packaging and basically make just about anything you wanted (minus chemical manufactures and semiconductor fab like operations… we’re talking mechanicals here).

Now if only I had a 1000 square feet of empty space and a few $Thousand doing nothing ;-)


I back tracked to their first one of the series. It has a knitting machine in it. Design on your computer, out pops your beanie ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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7 Responses to Gadgets, Gizmos & Home Manufacturing

  1. H.R. says:

    E.M.: “[…] a few $Thousand doing nothing”

    I am not seeing prices for these gizmos. For sufficiently large values of “a few thousand” I suppose you could buy them all.
    I’m looking to add a bench-top mill and a metal and wood lathe. Wood lathes are fairly inexpensive. I’ve been considering doing a little bit of tube bending, primarily as sculpture. I have skilz and knowledge about tube bending.

    I’d also like to do a little welding. I had access to just about any type of MIG and TIG welding equipment you could imagine at the company I retired from. My vision is very bad and I found out early on that I can’t see well enough to lay a bead on a seam. I miss! Totally!

    I have considered that I can probably use a stick welder and do some heavy tacking, so I may pick up a stick welder.

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    Saw an interesting video on “Alumaloy” welding rod (hope I got the name right). With a MAPP gas torch you are good to do aluminum brazing… Might be an easy way to get back into it. No TIG or MIG needed. Some bronze brazing on iron, and alumaloy on aluminum….

  3. rhoda klapp says:

    I’d like a cross between a roomba and an inkjet which would paint the walls, as desired, plain, pattern or picture.

  4. H.R. says:

    I ran across some alumaloy rods being clearanced. I have been busy prepping for Florida and making a cigar box guitar. I will probably try using them on a fishing-related invention I have been toying with when I return from Florida next year.

    I’ve been on a six-week hiatus from doing much of anything. I shortened one of my fingers in a tragic accident which occurred when I was slicing a cucumber with a mandolin. It went way beyond stitches. It was expecting them to cauterize the wound with silver nitrate to stop the bleeding, but “we don’t do that any more unless it’s the only option.”
    My basement workshop is about 14′ x 30′. I have another 1,000 square feet available, but It’s best used as storage for now, mainly because I haven’t bought the tools/toys to fill it up ;o)

  5. Steven Fraser says:

    @H.R. Did you get a pickup for your cigar-box guitar? I got a couple from CBGitty, and they work just fine as a pickup for a steel-bar marimba.

  6. Steven Fraser says:

    @E.M.: The ‘shoveling’ robots have a different union, run by a model named César Shavels…

  7. H.R. says:

    @Steven – My first effort is an acoustic CBG. I did not make it with a neck through the box. It is more like regular guitar construction. I’m going to tune and fret it as a dulcimer, 4 strings so the doubled melody strings will give it a little more volume.

    I just bought two beautiful matched cigar boxes which I’ll join and use to make a CB dulcimer.

    I have two more cigar boxes that I have to choose from to make an electric CBG. That will be next year.

    Yup. Anyone interested in and searching on cigar box guitars inevitably winds up on the CB Gitty site. It’s great! When I do the electric model, I’ll be buying from them.
    I made mistakes on this first effort since I was ignoring the usual instructions and incorporating my own construction ideas. So far, the mistakes haven’t been fatal, more on the lines of doing something out of order and causing myself a bit of rework.

    My objective was a strong, thin-walled box to get maximum resonance as an acoustic guitar. Now that my hand is pretty much healed up, I am hoping to finish up in the next week or two, but Florida prep is making it difficult.

    I am getting my cigar boxes where I buy my vape fluid. It is a fairly complete shop that sells roll-your-own supplies, cigars of all prices with a lot of high end selection, and then a small section allotted for vape items.

    The empty high end cigar boxes are put out in a pile and sold for $4.00 each. Those two I picked up for a dulcimer were mahogany and had dovetailed! joints. They are some fine little pieces of wood work. They have a lot of beautiful cigar boxes to choose from, depending on what you intend to make from them.

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