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FAQ

First off, watch my TEDx talk — it’ll likely answer most of the questions you have about me:

Secondly — my one year on YouTube recap video, as it describes exactly how I got to where I am today!

Still have questions? The following are some of the most common questions I get asked on my YouTube channel, so please take a look here and if you still have a question, send me an email directly!

I want to be like you! How did you learn to do all this stuff?

I learned by doing. I’m almost completely self-taught and you can be too! I have always been interested in technology and started hacking from a young age; taking things apart, trying to fix things, trying to build things, following diy tutorials, reading tech articles etc. I don’t know everything, every project I do, I learn something new.

I also have a Bachelors degree in Mechanical Systems Engineering from Conestoga College.

How can I learn to do the stuff you do? Where should I start? What tools do I need?

The best way to learn is by doing! It doesn’t matter what you do so long as you start doing something.

  • Take things apart and put them back together
  • Try to fix something broken. If you fail, who cares… it was broken!
  • Build something
  • Follow a DIY tutorial
  • Read tech related articles such as hackaday
  • etc

The best way to start is with someone else’s tools and supplies. If you are in school, join a tech club. I did robotics competitions in high school and then just continued working on more projects.

I can’t tell you what tools you need or what you need to learn because everyone’s passions are different. Just experiment and find what is right for you and you will learn a long the way what resources you need.

As for buying tools and supplies, Kijiji / Craigslist is one of the best places. Take your time and find the deals. There are many deals to be had if you are diligent and patient. I once got an entire storage locker full of tools (and a lot of garbage) for free. If you are just starting out, try searching for tool lots to get bulk discounts. If it isn’t on Kijiji, watch for sales. I rarely buy tools for full price. Don’t be afraid of doing some dumpster diving for materials; can’t beat the price.

As for space, use what you have and grow it when you can. I started with a 30 sqft room in my parents basement. Once I moved out, I used my spare room and kitchen as my workshop. After that I rented a house with a small garage and after that I bought a house with a large garage. The growth has been exponential and I can’t wait to find out what I will get next!

What did you study in school?

I studied Mechanical Systems Engineering at Conestoga College and received a Bachelors of Engineering. It was a co-op program and I’ve had years of work experience at a machine shop, an automation facility as a mechanical designer, and even as a product developer at a tech company.

This is how I usually spent a typical day at school during my engineering degree… Sometimes even caffeine wasn’t enough.

Looks fun, huh?

I was actually a lot of fun! I would strongly recommend Engineering to anyone. Take a co-op program; it is worth it.

If you quit your job, how do you make a living now?

I quit my job to focus on YouTube and backyard creations full-time. The following is what I am living off of:

  • YouTube ad revenue
  • Patreon 
  • Etsy
  • Sponsorship
  • Personal savings… dwindling personal savings

I am not making a profit yet but I am getting there. If you want to help here is what you can do:

  • Subscribe and watch my videos! I get paid ~ $1 for every 1000 views.
  • Tell your friends and family to subscribe and watch my videos!
  • Buy something from my Etsy Store.
  • Contribute to my Patreon campaign.
  • No money? No problem! Download the TAD app and watch cool ads (seriously!) and I get paid! This pays up to $35 for every 1000 views, which is 35X more than YouTube pays!
    www.givetad.com/TheHacksmith

How can I help?

  • Contribute to my Patreon campaign. Every dollar counts but if you cannot afford it then stick with the next option.
  • The easiest way is to watch, like and share my videos. Don’t forget about facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Comment on the videos. I get a lot of inspiration from fans!
  • No money? No problem! Download the TAD app and watch cool ads (seriously!) and I get paid! This pays up to $35 for every 1000 views, which is 35X more than YouTube pays!
    www.givetad.com/TheHacksmith
  • You can also send me something. I’m not sure what you would send but if you think it would be useful, interesting, of funny, send it over.

the Hacksmith
537 Frederick Street
PO Box 23042 kitchener PO
Kitchener, Ontario, N2B1L0
Canada

How do I build an exoskeleton?

This is perhaps one of the most commonly asked questions, and with good reason! I do build exoskeletons after all! The problem is, most people start off their question with something like this…

Can you give me a parts list for your exoskeleton?
Can you give me the blueprints for your exoskeleton?
Can you teach me how to make your exoskeleton?
If your asking the question like that — you probably shouldn’t be building an exoskeleton.

Let me clarify. Building exoskeletons is not for the faint of heart. It’s an expensive and time consuming endeavor — and if you do it wrong, can be pretty dangerous! I myself have been making things for over a decade, and even went to school for engineering. If you’ve never made anything before, or used power tools and manufacturing equipment, an exoskeleton is probably not a good first project.

If you still want to try making your own exoskeleton, then you should take out a notebook and re-watch all my exoskeleton videos on YouTube. There’s more than enough information to be able to recreate exactly what I’ve made — and several people have already even done it!

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