Excellent how-to tutorial on Instructables on how to tackle a range of mechanical systems from 3D printers to scooters to table saws … you know, your everything everything, from Charles of etotheipiplusone.net:
A few years ago, I wrote a short document on methods for rapidly fabricating elements of mechanical systems entitled How to Build Your Robot Really Really Fast. It was catered towards students in MIT’s 2.007 introductory design and manufacturing class for which I was a lab assistant at the time. The basic premise of the document was ways to build the structure and framework of a robot quickly using the tools available in the class, such as basic ‘garage’ tools like drill presses, saws, and sanders, as well as rapid prototyping and digital fabrication tools like abrasive waterjet cutters and laser cutters, weighing the tradeoffs of ‘build it now’ versus ‘design it now and have the machine make it later’. At the time, it was a compilation of my own experiences with those tools up to that point, and so its scope was fairly limited.
However, times have changed, and so have my experiences and views on the applicability of the methods presented in the document. New ones have been tried, and old ones have been refined. With access to the aforementioned digital fabrication processes by more makers and students proceeding at a ever-expanding pace, I decided it was perhaps time to rewrite the document in a fashion that made it more generally accessible to mechanical project builders.
And because I was sick of getting questions asking about why my t-nuts are no longer flat-bottomed. If the answer interests you, then keep reading!