Tell us about yourself.
When I’m not busy with my family or job, I enjoy building, tinkering, robots, woodworking and programming. In 1979 I bought my first computer, the Ohio Scientific Superboard II with 4K of RAM. I am a member of ChiBots. We meet once a month in Schaumburg, Illinois. Now that my kids are a little more independent, I can spend more time building stuff.
What are you presenting at Maker Faire Milwaukee?
I will be showing both of my Doctor Who robots. Nigel the Purple Dalek is almost 5 feet tall. My daughter Barbara drives Nigel like a tank, with 2 joysticks. She wears a headset so she can talk like a Dalek through an Arduino based voice modulator. When Barbara is not available, I operate Nigel by remote control. We will also bring K-9, a replica of the “tin dog” from the Doctor Who series. I built K-9 in 1982 while I was in college. K-9 was controlled by Vic-20 computer or a wired Atari 2600 joystick. His movements and speech could be programmed. Just recently I dug K-9 out of storage and started rebuilding the 33 year old robot dog. Read the whole story about K9.
Why is making important to you?
I was always fascinated with gadgets, machines and tools. When I get something, I want to know how it works. If it doesn’t work, I’ll fix it. I have a hard time sitting still, watching TV or reading. I’d rather be building, fixing or improving something.
What was the first thing you remember making?
As a very young kid, me and my brothers would play with Lincoln Logs and make cardboard box forts. We were allowed to use my dad’s tools. I remember making a sail out of an old curtain and attaching it to our wagon. It was square like a Viking ship sail. The wagon was very fast (and dangerous).
What have you made that you are most proud of?
Currently my favorite is the Purple Dalek. I like watching peoples response to this Purple Beast when we take him out to conventions and events.
Given an unlimited budget, what would you make?
I don’t know. Definitely a huge well equipped workshop. Possibly a giant autonomous robot named Malph. Maybe a small electric powered camper filled with tech toys… Give me the money and we’ll find out.